Dog owners can now look forward to having a second dog park in Turlock for a place to let their dogs exercise and play, but not before an approximate $44,000 is fundraised.
At the July 12, 2011 Turlock City Council Meeting, the Council approved to dedicate a portion of Centennial Park for the establishment of an off leash dog park, recommended by the Parks, Recreation, and Community (PRC) Commission.
The park’s price tag is an estimated $44,000. Expenses for the dog park will be either fundraised or donated, and the City is not using tax dollars for this project.
The discussion of a second dog park in Turlock is not a new issue, as the PRC Commission discussed possible locations for a second dog park back in March 2010. Eastside Turlock locations were heavily opposed by many residents and more westward locations were suggested but not yet on a list of consideration.
At that time, PRC Commissioner Barney Gordon stated that the City should continue looking at other locations, and that they should look into the other locations that were brought up. Gordon also requested any other suggestions for future dog park locations.
Since then, an Ad Hoc Dog Park Committee was created, which included Parks and Recreation Manager Allison Van Guilder, Turlock Municipal Services Supervisor Ray Garcia, as well as PRC Commissioners Richard Salinas and Steven Nascimento.
Together the group hunted around the city to find a suitable site for the park that would be cost effective.
“This (Centennial Park) is one of the ones that we thought would be the ideal place to go,” said Parks Supervisor Garcia at the June 8, 2011 PRC Commission Meeting held at Centennial Park.
Former Turlock Mayor Brad Bates stated at a PRC Meeting over a year ago that with the park’s location near the freeway, it has the ability to be a revenue enhancer where people could stop to get gas, food, and let their dogs out for a run.
Some neighbors around Centennial Park were not very happy about the possibility of having a dog park across their street. Neighbors questioned why a playground for children took the back burner to a dog park.
Parks Supervisor Garcia explained that the City currently does not have enough money for a playground, and the City will not be contributing to the dog park.
Once funds are appropriated, Turlock’s second dog park will be located at the northwest corner of Centennial Park, toward the Countryside Drive and Tuolumne Road intersection, now that Council has approved the dog park location.
Parks, Recreation, and Facilities Manager Allison Van Guilder said that the donation program for the future dog park has not been finalized at this point, but that commissioners are working on the details.
PRC Commission Chair Barney Gordon said that he would be meeting with City Staff to work on getting a fundraising program together and get the cost details worked out.
Veterinarian Dr. Rob Santos, DVM of Monte Vista Small Animal Hospital has come forward with enthusiasm for project and has pledged financial support.
“I was sold on the idea of putting a dog park in Centennial Park a year ago,” stated Dr. Santos. “I support the project and will be happy to contribute substantially to the project.”
Dr. Santos also believes that the location of the dog park may become a destination for those travelling Freeway 99 and that the dog park should be presented as a destination attraction.
“I think Brad (Bates) had a good idea when he said that it’s not unthinkable that people may stop off from the freeway to get gas, food, and let their dog out for a run,” said Dr. Santos. “I would like to work with City Staff on the design and aesthetics of the dog park, and really make it be something we can promote as a destination location.”
In the interim, anyone interested in making a donation toward the project, should make the check to the City of Turlock with "Centennial Dog Park" identified in the memo section. Checks can be mailed to the Recreation office or dropped off at 301 Starr Ave. Turlock, CA 95380.