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Dunlop Stepping Down From Oakdale Council
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A conceptual drawing of a proposed mural was displayed at Monday night’s Oakdale City Council meeting, planned for development in the plaza adjacent to the Gene Bianchi Community Center.

Oakdale City Council Mayor Pat Paul opened the Monday evening meeting, Aug. 6 with a resignation from Mayor Pro-Tem Tom Dunlop.

Dunlop is leaving Oakdale to relocate to Idaho. Legal counsel will come to council members at the next meeting to discuss replacement options, which may include a nomination as to avoid the cost of a special election.

In regular business, council members approved a design review brought forward by the Oakdale Tourism and Visitors Bureau to install a painted cowboy-themed mural within the Gene Bianchi Community Center Plaza.

The applicant submitted a general concept with the understanding that the Public Services Director will determine final colors and design.

The artist, who has also painted an American Graffiti-themed mural on McHenry Avenue in Modesto, also agreed to perform touch-ups and maintenance for the lifetime of the mural.

“I like the concept,” council member J.R. McCarty said, adding that the artist should give the bull an identity, such as the three-time world champion “Bushwacker.”

While council members seemed enthusiastic about the concept, not everyone was as pleased.

One audience member expressed her displeasure saying she found the idea “despicable,” saying, “That’s not going to bring any people into Oakdale.”

Mayor Paul disagreed, countering that she often visited cities because of their murals, such as the city of Livermore, which has often employed the work of artists to enhance the visitor experience.

“I think it’s stunning … I think it’s art,” Paul said.

Council members also approved waiving fees up to $35,000 for the proposed upgrade of the Oakdale Community Sharing building on Center Street as they demolish the current dilapidated building and build a larger facility on the property.

The new 6,000 square-foot warehouse will replace the current 4,000 square-foot building currently occupied by Community Sharing and a new 2,000 square-foot metal building will replace two older structures on site used by Stanislaus County Transit.

The project will also include Center Street improvements such as the installation of a new waterline, fire hydrant, extended curb, gutter and sidewalk. New fencing, pavement and storm drains are included, which will improve the visual aesthetics of an area that has long been an eyesore on Center Street.

Oakdale City Manager Bryan Whitemyer said of the proposed project, “It’s really a good addition to the community.”

Oakdale Community Sharing has served the community for 60 years, providing food assistance to families in need. Approximately 2,700 families benefit from assistance each year through the volunteer efforts of Community Sharing.

The next Oakdale City Council meeting is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 20.