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Lathrop combo teen & rec center, library advancing

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POSTED February 7, 2013 1:03 a.m.

LATHROP – It’s a project more than five years in the making.

And after Monday night the Lathrop Community Complex – a 6.8-acre multi-use facility combining a library, teen center and recreational and cultural amenities – will be one step closer to completion.

A unanimous decision by the city council granted the project – which will be constructed with a $5 million grant – a conditional use permit and cleared the necessary red tape for site improvements that will allow for work to move forward as planned.

The timetable for construction has not yet been laid out. Principal Engineer Mary Grace Houlihan – who helped secure the grant funding and worked to come up with the plans for the project – recently resigned her position with the City of Lathrop. 

 Design features are scheduled to include, but are not limited to, the following:

• Library and youth center building.

• Skate/BMX park.

• Parkour exercise course.

• Ball wall.

• Children’s playground.

• Public plaza.

• Art display.

• Amphitheater.

• Community garden.

• Standalone restroom building.

• Parking for 88-spaces on-site and 24 spaces on-street.

While some communities have been able to construct facilities but not fully fund the necessary programs intended to serve their residents, Lathrop’s passing of Measure C – the one-cent sales tax increase overwhelmingly approved by voters in November – will provide an additional $1.2 million annually for Lathrop’s coffers to ensure that doesn’t happen.

By partnering with the youth advisory, parks and recreation and planning commissions, the city has been able to solicit input from a variety of groups to gauge what they would like to see

“The proposed Lathrop Community Complex is one of the most highly anticipated and most welcome community facilities that the city has been working on for many years to meet the current and future needs of the citizens of Lathrop,” said the staff report prepared for the council. “The city staff and consultant design team have worked extensively with the community to incorporate features and elements that the community wants to see and use.”

City Councilman Omar Ornelas has been an active and outspoken proponent for the project, which started to surface when he was still involved with the Youth Advisory Commission. Ornleas has worked to get the youth of the community involved with some of the brainstorming for the site – soliciting ideas like constructing a permanent skate park on the site and adding a parkour course – since it will be located near Lathrop High.

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