The City of Turlock is in talks to sell the sites of both the Turlock War Memorial and the Brandon Koch Memorial Skate Park to the Turlock Irrigation District, city staff recently revealed.
The sale of both facilities is part of closed-door negotiations currently taking place, related to previously-announced negotiations that would sell the Turlock Police Department site to TID.
“Currently, confidential negotiations are taking place,” said Turlock Parks, Recreation, and Public Facilities Manager Allison Van Guilder. “However, we do believe that we are getting close to finalizing an agreement.”
TID's Main Office Building shares a city block – bounded by East Canal Drive, North Palm Street, Starr Avenue, and North Denair Avenue – with the Police Department, Skate Park, and War Memorial, as well as the Stanislaus County-owned former site of Turlock's courthouse.
The City of Turlock announced talks to sell the Turlock Police Department to TID in November 2012. The sale is expected to generate $2.5 million – part of a funding strategy for the the new, $33 million Public Safety Facility under construction at the corner of Broadway and Olive Avenue.
TID General Manager Casey Hashimoto has previously stated that said the district hopes to purchase the Turlock Police Department site to take control of the block for future expansion, and to reduce overcrowding at the district's Broadway operations yard.
During discussions with TID, the scope of the sale evolved to include the Skate Park and the War Memorial, Van Guilder said.
“The way that some of these discussions evolve is just that,” Van Guilder said. “…They evolve.”
The 1.25 acre Brandon Koch Memorial Skate Park is the city's only skate park, and features a grassy area used like a traditional park by scores of nearby residents. Most neighbors of the park live in condos or apartments, without lawns of their own.
The War Memorial is one of of only three Turlock-owned buildings available for public rental, and the only building capable of holding more than 200 people. It routinely hosts weddings, fundraisers, and quinceañeras, and is home to Turlock Recreation camps and classes.
TID officials declined to comment on the sale, or their plans for the properties.
“While the district is talking with the city about properties, this process is ongoing,” said TID spokesperson Herb Smart. “Because the process is ongoing, it would be hasty to discuss potential plans.”
Van Guilder said TID may lease the War Memorial back to Turlock for some period of time after the sale, allowing operations to continue.
But plans are already underway to shutter the Skate Park, removing 1.25 acres of Turlock park land.
“This process is reducing the square footage of parks available in Turlock,” said Parks, Recreation, and Community Programs Commission Chairman Barney Gordon.
The skate park would be likely replaced by a new, more modern skateboarding facility in the heart of Donnelly Park.
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