Some speakers referred to it as a state funded “gift” that shouldn’t be turned away. Two council members recognized it as the potential to be “a jewel in the city’s tarnished crown.” After the discussion on its agenda item, the Oakdale City Council voted 3-1 to move forward with the first phase of the South Yosemite Avenue Community Park.
The agenda item brought in citizens of all ages who voiced their support of the measure to build the multi-use community park that will feature a skate park.
On March 26, 2012, the State Department of Parks and Recreation announced its intention to award Oakdale $4.3 million for the park after reviewing its grant application. The city and Augustine Planning Associates identified a 2.9 acre parcel of land on South Yosemite Avenue, between J and H streets that met its specifications that the land owner was willing to sell.
Monday’s agenda item was to authorize $20,000 for a $14,145 cost appraisal and $5855 in any unforeseen funding associated with the environmental assessment. This expenditure is covered under the grant.
“This is a gift,” said Cryndee Dermond, who identified that not only a skate park would be built, but an amphitheater, running track, and other community benefits of the park. “To not follow through with this would be heart-breaking.”
Dermond was echoed by Jeff Goschen who also saw the park as “truly a gift” the city needed to take advantage of, especially during a downward economic period when property values were low.
The city will be responsible for maintenance and upkeep of the park after it is constructed. There are concerns that adding costs for upkeep and repair will be a burden on an already depleted budget that shows no immediate signs of recovery.
Amy Augustine, who wrote the grant for the city, pointed out that operations and maintenance could be financed by community donations and fundraising. She identified a number of people in attendance that came forward in support of the park and who would be involved in fundraising.
Allen McCarty of the city’s traffic commission stated he was frustrated as to why the park couldn’t happen and that it would benefit the city’s younger residents.
On the dais, Councilman Tom Dunlop stressed that while he supported the park, he had to balance it with the fact that the city can’t support the current parks.
“I want a plan on paper how we’re going to support this for the next 10 to 15 years,” Dunlop said. “For now, I haven’t got that yet.”
Councilman Mike Brennan believed the opposite and made the motion to vote on the item.
“This is the time to go forward and put a jewel in a tarnished crown,” Brennan said. “It (the park) will be an area for people of all ages to come together.”
When seconding the motion, Councilwoman Katherine Morgan also called the park a needed jewel.
After a roll call vote, the measure passed with Dunlop casting the lone dissenting vote.