Though the potential sale of the War Memorial and Brandon Koch Skate Park to the Turlock Irrigation District has not been publicly discussed by the Turlock City Council, no transparency laws were broken in the discussion, Turlock City Attorney Phaedra Norton said.
The potential sale of both the War Memorial and Skate Park became public at a June 12 meeting of the Turlock Parks, Recreation, and Community Programs Commission. At that time, Turlock Parks, Recreation, and Public Facilities Manager Allison Van Guilder revealed that the two facilities are part of closed-door negotiations currently taking place, related to previously-announced negotiations that would sell the Turlock Police Department site to TID.
The potential sale of the block had previously been discussed only in closed session meetings of the Turlock City Council, which are not open to the public.
Talks on the sale of property at 900 N. Palm St., the Turlock Police Department's address, were listed on two closed session agendas on Nov. 13, 2012, and March 12, 2013. The separate addresses for the War Memorial and the Skate Park were not listed.
Both agendas stated that City Manager Roy Wasden would be negotiating with TID for the 900 N. Palm St. property.
“Under Negotiation: Price and terms of payment for the purchase/sale of the property of (sic) located at 900 N. Palm St.,” the agendas read.
But the agenda items both also included a parcel number, APN #042-037-008, which identifies the single parcel which contains the Police Station, the War Memorial, and the Skate Park.
According to Norton no transparency laws were broken by discussing the sale, as the parcel number was listed.
But Norton was surprised to hear that the War Memorial and the Skate Park have separate addresses. She said that the City of Turlock can and should go beyond legal requirements, taking the extra step to properly inform citizens, noting that the city has gone the extra mile in the past.
The 1.25 acre Brandon Koch Memorial Skate Park, located at 250 Starr Ave., 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, located at 247 E. Canal Dr., 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 have declined to comment on the sale, or their plans for the properties.
Turlock in Talks to Sell War Memorial, Skate Park to TID