The fate of the Brandon Koch Memorial Skate Park will be decided, in part, on Wednesday night.
The Turlock Parks, Recreation, and Community Programs Commission will hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. Wednesday to discuss relocating the skate park to Donnelly Park. The meeting will be held in the Yosemite Room of Turlock City Hall.
The relocation would come as part of a plan to sell the skate park, War Memorial, and Turlock Police Department to the Turlock Irrigation District. The potential sale became public on June 12, when Turlock Parks, Recreation, and Public Facilities Manager Allison Van Guilder revealed that closed-door negotiations are currently taking place.
The skate park's potential new location was chosen based on feedback received during a contentious, ultimately failed process to site a bocce ball court in Turlock, Van Guilder said.
“A lot of the concerns that neighborhoods have were fresh and foremost in our minds,” Van Guilder said. “It's our determination that the only reasonable location at this particular point in time would be Donnelly Park.”
Donnelly Park was recommended as the park is classified as a community park, not a neighborhood park. Community parks are planned as sites for amenities which will draw people from across town, while neighborhood parks are intended more as a communal backyard.
But nearby residents are generally opposed to the skate park. Of five letters discussing the potential relocation received by the City of Turlock, four were in opposition to the development; the other was neutral.
“We are writing to strongly object to the proposed skate park at Donnelly Park,” wrote Lou and Maryann Brunson. “… Please do not add to the current problems in our neighborhood.”
Other respondents raised concerns that the proposed new skate park would be located adjacent to an existing playground.
“Why would you put this skate park so close to a playground for little children?” Peter Duffy asked. “I've taken my grandson to the existing skate park and watched the kind of things that happen there. If it can happen at the police station, what will it be like away from the police station?”
Also voicing opposition was Stonesfair Management, LLC., which operates Park Knolls Apartments. The 350-unit complex is located adjacent to Donnelly Park.
“The relocation of this skate park will attract undesirable transients that will be prone to vandalism, trespassing and heavy traffic congestion,” wrote Maryann Fair, vice president of operations for Stonesfair. “These components will detract future homeowners and residents from a once-known tranquil locality. We would like to preserve the peaceful environment that our residents are currently enjoying in this quiet, family-oriented district.”
Commissioners will also consider creating an ad-hoc design committee, comprised of one commissioner, city staff, and up to ten Turlock residents to design the new skate park.
The new skate park's design would likely integrate with the natural landscape, featuring a series of flowing trails and paths. Only some of the existing features at the Turlock Skate Park would be moved; most would be replaced.
“You'll see a much different design that what you see in traditional skate parks,” said Erik Schulze, Turlock Parks, Recreation, and Facilities Department Superintendent. “… We don't have a plan yet, but we've seen some of the new things going on.”
Any decision on the skate park's relocation will require final approval from the Turlock City Council.
The Turlock Parks, Recreation, and Community Programs Commission will meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Yosemite Room of Turlock City Hall, 156 S. Broadway.