The Dedication of Brad Bates Park and Curt Andre Park took place October 9, 2009 later in the morning at the Turlock Regional Sports Complex amphitheatre.
Mayor John Lazar noted that another former Mayor of Turlock, Dale Pinkney, will have a park dedication ceremony later this month. Lazar unofficially proclaimed that this month is “Former Mayor of Turlock Month.”
Two signs, each one bearing the name of one of the former Turlock Mayors, were unveiled on stage.
The dedication of Brad Bates Park and Curt Andre Park was a rare occasion with both being done on the same day, although some what fitting.
They (Brad Bates and Curt Andre) both have many similarities as they are both friends, they both live on the same street, both served on the Turlock Planning Commission for several years, both served as Mayor of Turlock for several years, both are very involved in the community, both were selected as Citizen of the Year by the Turlock Chamber of Commerce, both have spear-headed fundraising projects and their developments (Arbor Day, Turlock Regional Sports Complex, Donnelly Park Play Park, Sunnyview Park Dog Park, and more), they are both very strong advocates of parks and recreation and have both demonstrated that support for many years.
City Parks and Recreation Manager Rick Harden said “The similarity is the fact that both are very deserving of this dedication.”
Harden was the person who made the nomination to name the parks after the former Turlock Mayors back in April of this year.
Mayor Lazar gave personal testimonies of the two former Turlock Mayors and read proclamations in the recognition of the naming of Brad Bates Park and Curt Andre Park.
Mayor Lazar said that “Brad kind of evolved into the Jimmy Carter of Turlock; he’s stepped forward to get involved in projects that are important to him.”
“Boy, the Jimmy Carter of Turlock… That one will take just a moment to digest,” said Bates. “First of all, I just want to say I’m surprised and humbled by the decision of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee… Oh wait a minute, I’m sorry, that’s Obama’s speech.”
After the former Mayor of Turlock opened up with some jokes, Bates sincerely said “This is very unexpected and it is a privilege and an honor to be, I guess, memorialized in part of Turlock’s history.”
Brad Bates continued to have fun with the event as he said that while he was serving as Mayor there were people who would’ve been happy to hear his named was going to be carved in a granite monument, but not necessarily for purposes of recognition.
Bates pointed out that while the City of Turlock celebrated its Centennial, he realized between the 8 years that he served as Mayor and the 16 years that Curt Andre served as Mayor, that they lead the city through nearly a quarter its history since incorporation.
“Good or bad, like it or not, the community has a lot of our collective fingerprints all over it and so I hope that our time in office served the city well and we can build for the future.”
Brad Bates ended his acceptance of recognition by saying “I appreciate the honor very much, and I am also glad that Turlock doesn’t name parks after people posthumously because that made me a little nervous too. Thank you very much and I appreciate the honor.”
Mayor Lazar joked that “Curt (Andre) has the distinction of being the Franklin Roosevelt of the Turlock City Council.”
Mayor Lazar introduced Curt Andre by saying “Curt has served, I think, continuously longer than any other Mayor. I think Curt used to refer to Turlock as being the Carmel of the Central Valley and he is responsible for guiding us through the design and planning of our community.”
“I just really want to thank all of you for being out here. It is a special moment for Brad and myself, it culminates a lot of good times we’ve both had as Mayors in this place,” said Curt Andre.
Former Mayor Curt Andre said that it was a surprise and when he had heard about this a city worker (to be left anonymous) told him that it was just a rumor they were naming the whole park after him but rather just naming one of the latrines after him.
Andre referenced the relationship with Brad Bates and their discussions by saying “Over the years we’ve shared a common passion to see how Turlock, this place we’ve lived in and plan to live in, would turn out. Invariably our discussion would end with the fact that we were so lucky to live in a community that embraces visionary planning, that embraces discipline in planning, that sees the future that’s more than just the basics of a community. And we’re so grateful Turlock has invested in open space, in places for recreation, places for families and people to gather, and to just enjoy the blessings that we have here. It means a lot to each of us to have these parks named in our honor because it reflects what we consider one of the most important things as Mayor.”
Curt Andre closed saying “Being Mayor was privilege enough, reward enough for all those years. And being able to wonder around Turlock anywhere and see so many good things that have happened is reward enough, but to have a park named is a real reward.”
After the ceremony, city maintenance crews craned the signs off the stage and installed them in their respective parks.
Brad Bates Park is located to the west of the Turlock Regional Sport Complex and Curt Andre Park is located to the east of the Turlock Regional Sports Complex.
View some pictures of the event in the TurlockCityNews.com photo gallery.