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County Lease Proposal Approved By Council
Shown, a view of the proposed new fencing to enclose Meyer Park, located behind the Oakdale Library, which will be installed by Stanislaus County Parks as part of a new lease agreement with the city. Installation of the new fencing is expected to start sometime next week. Photo Courtesy Of City Of Oakdale

What has become a popular congregating place behind the Oakdale library for area transients is getting a new look in the form of a wrought-iron fence that will enclose Meyer Park, making it accessible only through the library.

Monday evening, Dec. 16, the unanimous approval by Oakdale City Council members authorized City Manager Bryan Whitemyer to execute a 20-year lease agreement with Stanislaus County to lease Meyer Park for $1 a year.

The agreement has several perks to the city, which include releasing responsibility of park upkeep to the county and providing a safe, clean space for outdoor educational learning activities.

Many citizens have complained about the heavy transient presence using Meyer Park as a gathering place, which created a deterrent for families interested in enjoying the park.

Friends of the Oakdale Library approached the City Council in 2018 with the original idea to enclose Meyer Park to discuss creating a Youth Educational Learning Location at the Oakdale library.

The idea was met with enthusiasm but it has taken some time to get to this stage.

According to project coordinators, the vision is to connect the park space to the library building so that classes and other educational endeavors offered at the library can take advantage of the outdoor environment available at the park.

Currently, the City of Oakdale maintains the park. With the agreement, Stanislaus County Parks will take over the maintenance and upkeep so there will be some cost savings to the city in relinquishing that responsibility.

Additionally, Whitemyer said, “They will pay for the installation of the fence and some improvements,” which includes new seating. He continued, “I think it’ll be great. It enables us to have other activities that they wouldn’t be able to offer now. Glitter isn’t too great for carpet but it’s not that big of a deal for arts and crafts in the park.”

The city won’t have complete control of the park so hours of operation will change, limiting the park access to library hours.

“We’re looking forward to the expansion of library services,” Whitemyer said to the council.

When asked about the timeline, Karina Mendoza, Oakdale City Library Branch Manager, stated, “As soon as possible,” with a hope that fence construction will begin within the next week.

The security fencing will be 250-feet of six feet high, powder-coated wrought iron with three emergency exit gates, security mesh as needed, and one large gate for vehicle access.

In other Council business on Monday night, council member Rich Murdoch was named the new Mayor Pro Tem going forward into the 2020 year and the Oakdale Police Department will get new body cameras to replace the ones introduced into the field in 2016. The approximate cost of $81,000 will be funded through the Police Equipment Replacement Fund and the Police Department Contract Services Account.