Skate Park Move on Turlock City Council Agenda

David Fransen|

The Brandon Koch Memorial Skate Park is one final vote from leaving its longtime home on Starr Avenue and moving to Donnelly Park.

The Turlock City Council will consider granting final approval to the move on Tuesday, which would shutter the Starr Avenue park forever in November. The new Donnelly Park skate park would open in April 2014.

The proposed move comes as part of a City of Turlock plan to sell the existing 900 N. Palm St. Turlock Police Department to finance the development of the new, $33 million Public Safety Facility on Broadway. The Brandon Koch Memorial Skate Park and the Turlock War Memorial both share a parcel with the Police Department, and would be sold at the same time.

The Turlock Irrigation District is in talks with the City of Turlock to purchase the site, as TID's main office is located adjacent to the Police Department parcel.

The sale was initially projected to generate $2.5 million, though as all negotiations have occurred in closed session no firm dollar value is available. According to a Turlock staff report, the skate park specifically has been appraised at $240,000.

The Turlock Parks, Recreation, and Community Commission unanimously recommended the relocation of the Brandon Koch Memorial Skate Park to Donnelly Park on July 10. At the same time, a subcommittee was formed to begin planning for the new park.

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.

According to the City of Turlock, the new Donnelly Park location offers the benefits over the exiting site, like restrooms, adequate parking, and nearby public transit. However, Donnelly Park has been the site of several high-profile crimes in the past month, including the kidnapping and attempted rape of a 43-year-old woman and an incident where a 52-year-old man cut his ex-girlfriend's neck with a knife.

The rebuilt skate park would likely be bigger and better than the existing layout, offering a flowing series of trails, while still remaining dedicated to Brandon Koch. Koch, a longtime skateboarder and mentor to youth at the Turlock Skate Park, died from adrenocortical cancer.

The loss of park land will be mitigated, city staff say, as the City of Turlock is required to develop a comparable amount of new park acreage in the neighborhood to replace that which it sells. No further information about the new park land has been made available.

The cost of replacing park land is unknown, and no funding source has yet been identified to develop a new park. The new Donnelly Park skate park would be built using a portion of revenues from the existing park's sale.

On Tuesday, the Turlock City Council is also expected to:
• Introduce the new Municipal Service Division managers – Regulatory Affairs Division Manager Garner Reynolds and Water Quality Control Division Manager Wayne Clay.
Current Municipal Services Deputy Director Michael Cooke will be appointed to the position of Municipal Services Director on Sep. 1, replacing Dan Madden, who is retiring Sep. 3. Madden may continue on part-time to assist with negotiations and development of major water and sewer projects with which he is intimately familiar.
• Begin the process to reexamine the existing public service mitigation fee, assessed through the Community Facilities District #2. Single family residences built within the last 10 years are charged $600 annually to provide public services, but that falls short of the cost to provide public safety and park maintenance services to new residential development.
Establishing a new CFD with increased rates would cost approximately $40,000. The current CFD #2 generates $450,000 annually.
• Consider applying to host a stage event of the 2014 Amgen Tour of California bicycle race.
• Join four statewide programs to offer low-rate financing for green home improvements.
• Approve a $634,856.36 contract for slurry seal road resurfacing, to be performed by Central Valley Engineering and Asphalt, Inc., of Roseville.
• Approve a $526,052 project to install new storm drains on Bell Street between East Avenue and Cooper Avenue, and on Cooper Avenue between Oak Street and Colorado Avenue.
• Issue certificates of recognition for the life saving efforts of Ben Kroutil and Alfredo Perez.
• Allocate $5,000 of the city's gas tax revenue to pay permit fees for property owners who are making sidewalk repairs.
• Hear a regular monthly update on capital projects and building activities.
• In closed session, conference with labor negotiators, and discuss a case of ongoing litigation.

The Turlock City Council will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Yosemite Room of Turlock City Hall, 156 S. Broadway.

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