Spring is in the air and members of the Oakdale City Council are looking to spruce up the place by making some much-needed improvements to the city’s parks.
Council members, at their April 2 session, approved two different resolutions to hire separate architectural companies to begin the process of sprucing up Kerr Park and building the highly anticipated Bridle Ridge Sports Park Gymnasium.
According to City Manager Bryan Whitemyer, the city has enough money earmarked in the Capital Facilities Fund to start the master planning for the Bridle Ridge improvement.
“We can start planning for additional infrastructure,” Whitemyer told the council at Monday night’s meeting.
Council approved staff’s recommendation to hire L Street Architects, a company based out of Modesto, for $10,500 to start the comprehensive planning process that will eventually turn into a multi-use sports gymnasium.
Currently, the proposed site serves as a drainage basin on the southeast corner of Greger Street and Branding Iron Street.
City staff collected input and recommendations for the structure to make it as useful as possible.
“We’re not going to come out of the gate without a plan,” Whitemyer said. “We will take care that the gymnasium is highly functioning.”
The preliminary design will include the parking lot and a site and floor plan for the gymnasium with exterior elevations and landscaping considerations.
Moving on, the council approved a similar resolution for the architectural master planning for Kerr Park upgrades to KLA Inc. in the amount of $7,900 to be paid out of the General Fund Parks Maintenance.
“Kerr Park is a jewel of the City of Oakdale park system,” Whitemyer said but pointed out that time and lack of funds to properly maintain the park have deteriorated the facility.
One of the issues facing Kerr Park is the lack of adequate fencing to stop late-night shenanigans where people in 4x4s rip up the baseball field doing donuts.
“It’s a phenomenal setting,” Whitemyer said, adding, “We’d like to make it more secure.”
The parking lot asphalt is in poor condition and the fields need to be updated, Whitemyer pointed out.
“We might not be able to do all of it at once but we can do it in phases,” he said.
The hope is by upgrading the facilities, Kerr Park might be able to serve the same function as Rainbow Fields for sports tournaments.
“We want to bring the teams home,” Whitemyer said. “We’re also looking into the possibility of adding RV parking and a park docent.”
It’s the city’s hope that being able to host year-round tournaments would bring revenue to help offset general maintenance costs but additionally, the economic trickle-down effect of additional money spent in Oakdale businesses, would ultimately provide a larger benefit.
The ambitious vision starts with much-needed repairs to the existing infrastructure.
The irrigation systems need upgrades and repairs, the electrical wiring is missing in the one lighted field and additional lighting for the two remaining fields is needed. A concession stand, new fencing and new restrooms are also needed.
Although funds haven’t been allocated for the upgrades, city staff is looking for funding sources through grants, private financing and community donations.
However, in order to start the ball rolling on funding, a Master Plan is required.
The proposed work also includes plans for the undeveloped portion of the site closer to the river.