Bocce Ball Court Project Called Off, Parks & Recreation Commission Meeting Agenda

David Fransen

A controversial plan to build bocce ball courts in a Turlock park may be scrapped entirely, due to lack of public support.

The Rotary Club, which was set to build the courts, has requested that a scheduled Wednesday hearing to select a site for the courts be canceled. The request comes due to a “lack of positive response from the residents in the area of Dale Pinkney Park and Bristol Park,” according to a Parks, Recreation, and Community Commission agenda.

“As we consider this project at its present stage, we have not been able to determine whether the greater community welcomes and values the bocce project such that the benefit to the community as whole, fairly considered against the concerns of the objecting neighbors, warrants proceeding to a public hearing to select a park, to a city council approval, and on to construction,” the Turlock Rotary Club posted in a statement to its Facebook page. “While a few neighbors near the parks under consideration have voiced support for the project being developed in their neighborhood, we have been unable to sufficiently gauge the level of support.”

The plan dates back to June 2012, when the Turlock Rotary Club first offered to build two courts in Crane Park at no cost to the city. Neighboring Crane Park residents presented near-unanimous opposition to the development at a July 2012 meeting, voicing concern that the park was already overused.

The plan was put on the back-burner as new sites were sought. In February, two new sites were proposed: Dale Pinkney Park and Bristol Park.

Neighbors of those sites, too, voiced concerns that the addition of bocce ball could impact other park uses, or cause unwanted noise and traffic.

But from those two options, Turlock Parks, Recreation, and Community Commission had planned to select a final location for the park on Wednesday. That will no longer occur, due to the lack of community support for either proposed location.

The project could yet return, but only if the community demonstrates support for a specific site.

“After careful consideration, we believe that the project is best withdrawn for the time being, but we will be willing to consider renewing the project if we receive sufficient data demonstrating that there is sufficient community support to justify proceeding at one of the two proposed locations,” the Rotary Club posted.

On Wednesday, Parks, Recreation, and Community Commissioners will also:
• Discuss a proposal to place fitness stations in miscellaneous parks.
• Continue to search for a site for a donated statue of Queen Shamiram, an ancient Assyrian ruler.

The Turlock Parks, Recreation, and Community Commission will meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Yosemite Room of Turlock City Hall.

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