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City Plans Development Of River Parkway
River Trail 12-5
Oakdale River Access Working Group Volunteer John Lane receives a mock check from California Natural Resources Agency Secretary John Laird. The city received $862,625 from a larger $34 million grant from the state on Nov. 28 for a river trail access along Valley View Park. - photo by Photo Contributed

The California Natural Resources Agency announced that the City of Oakdale will receive an $862,625 grant to convert more than 15 acres into a river parkway including a 750-foot trail allowing public access to the Stanislaus River from Valley View Park.

Oakdale was one of 33 recipients within the state that received funding from a $34 million grant for proposed river parkway projects by the Natural Resources Agency. The purpose of the grant is to help provide families with greater outdoor recreational opportunities, enhance river parkways, restore fish and wildlife habitat, and protect the rivers that provide clean water.

Oakdale Mayor Pat Paul was quick to give kudos to the city volunteers of the project, especially John Lane and Sam Harned for their work in helping secure the grant.

“The state panel was impressed with our group of volunteers,” Paul said. “Especially with John’s (Lane) history as a geologist.”

Lane underplayed Paul’s compliments stating that the volunteer corps for the River Access Working Group did basic preliminary work for the city grant writer, Amy Augustine.

“The credit goes to Amy,” Lane said.

Paul said she and some of the group hiked with a member of the Natural Resources Agency grant committee along the route of the river by Valley View Park.

“After that hike we definitely knew we needed something there,” Paul said.

The mayor added that this wasn’t the first time the city pursued the grant.

Last year, Councilman Mike Brennan heard of the funding and made an application on his own for the city. This year the city, using some of Brennan’s data and a professional grant writer, pursued the financing.

“It’s been something I’ve wanted to do since I was first on the council,” said Brennan. “Hopefully it’s a start.”

Brennan said he would like to see a city-long trail that runs from the east to the west side of the city along the river.

“It’s a pipe dream, but it’s something I’d like to see happen,” said Brennan.

Brennan also credited Augustine along with Laura Podolski of the Local Government Commission as instrumental in getting the grant awarded.

“They’re as responsible as anyone in getting this done,” said Brennan.

The Local Government Commission is a non-profit organization that works closely with local elected officials, city staff, planners, developers, and community leaders for making communities more livable, prosperous, healthy and resource-efficient.

The funding for the project comes from a bond measure approved by voters in 2006. To be selected for the competitive grant, a city must meet at least two of the five statutory requirements for recreation, habitat, flood management, conversion method, and interpretive enhancement. Of the $34 million awarded, over $10.2 million is going to projects in the Central Valley including $1.4 million to the City of Waterford.