Everything was set for Woodward Park to become the site of Manteca’s first dog park.
The residents wanted it. The council approved it. And the money was there to build it.
But then the housing market collapsed and overnight that available money disappeared.
So now they’re keeping things a little bit closer to home in an effort to find a new site that is both adequate for the residents that will use it and the planners that have to design it.
On Thursday the Manteca Parks and Recreation Commission voted 4-1 – with commissioner Jennifer Andermahr dissenting – to recommend that the Manteca City Council utilize the existing grass between at City Hall between the Parks and Recreation building and the Senior Center as the new site for the dog park.
Out of three proposed sites that the commission reviewed Thursday, only the plot at the Civic Center doesn’t require the planting of turf or the complete construction of a new parking lot. One of the other sites, located next to the VFW Community Center on Moffat Boulevard, would require extensive landscaping and parking lot construction while the other, a parcel next to the existing Manteca Animal Shelter, would need complete removal of an asphalt pad currently used by the refuse department to store containers.
The cost of the park will depend on the amenities included – something that the commission will consider at a future meeting. But according to Manteca Parks and Recreation Director Kevin Fant, turning the existing grass plot off of Center Street into a working dog park could run between $100,000 and $120,000 – roughly one third of the cost associated with either of the other two sites.
And it might not be Manteca’s dog park before things are all said and done.
Part of the flexibility that the Civic Center location provides, in addition to a central location and existing landscaping, is that there’s the chance that it might not be a permanent location – that piece of property has been slated as a possible location for further City Hall expansion or expansion of the Senior Center.
While Fant said that the city typically doesn’t want to build anything only for a short while, he did see a scenario in which Manteca could have another dog park somewhere else down the line – giving residents in residential areas nearby the chance to walk rather than drive to enjoy the amenity.
Part of the reason that the original site at Woodward Park was scrapped was because updated stormwater regulations would have eliminated half the space that was planned for and added additional costs. Some in the audience and at least one of the commissioners, Marco Galeazzi, said that they’d be in favor of taking out one of the park’s soccer fields in an opposite corner, but Fant said that the recreation master plan that is currently underway has already identified a lack of soccer fields as a concern amongst both residents and staff.