The majority of public tax payers’ opinions have opposed spending $2.8 million in City Redevelopment Agency funds on a Turlock Unified School District Joe Debely Stadium renovation project.
The approximate eight months of public discussion has brought an overwhelming majority of opposition to using city Redevelopment funds for the project.
Most of the opposition has stated that they feel RDA funds would be used inappropriately or even illegally if spent on the stadium renovation.
RDA funds are supposed to be spent to benefit the immediate neighborhood, eliminate blight, create jobs, and/or help provide affordable housing.
City Attorney Phaedra Norton stated that spending RDA funds on the Joe Debely Stadium was within RDA law as the project would eliminate blight according to RDA law. An outside legal opinion and the California Redevelopment Association both also agree that the spending of RDA funds on the stadium renovation would be legal.
About 16 people spoke during the public comment section of the agendized issue, all were opposed to the stadium funding except for 4 supporters.
One stadium neighbor collected about 30 signatures on a petition just before the Council Meeting opposing the stadium project and said that the increased traffic caused by the more accommodating stadium would actually be blighting her neighborhood.
Holly Evans of the Turlock Turf Crew, a non-profit formed to raise money for the stadium renovation, stated that her group had raised $35,000 this last year and would need to fundraise 90 more years at that rate.
One person spoke reminding the City Council of their position to not fund a homeless shelter, reasoning that the city is not in the homeless shelter business. The person questioned the city being in the school stadium business.
Mayor John Lazar stepped down from voting as he owns a nearby property and would have had a conflict of interest.
Councilwoman Mary Jackson was the only opposing vote and stated that the she didn’t believe the stadium renovation project met the requirements needed to spend RDA funds on it while stating that there were other worthy projects that did.
Councilwoman Amy Bublak voiced her support for the project because of the youth and that they are the future.
Vice Mayor Ted Howze, Councilman Kurt Spycher, and Councilwoman Amy Bublak gave their approval toward the 3-1 vote to fund $2.8 million of the Joe Debely Stadium renovation project.