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Dog park proposed on Moffat
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Manteca may finally get a dog park first promised in 2003.

City Manager Karen McLaughlin is recommending the council approve a conceptual location on part of the city-owned land in the 500 block of Moffat Boulevard along the Tidewater where the Moffat Community Center doubling as a home of the Jimmie Connors Veterans of Foreign Wars Post is being built this year.

The land is essentially leftover from what the 3,600-square-foot community center and accompanying parking lot needs. The plan calls for a large dog area to run between the parking lot and the Tidewater Bikeway. A small dog area will run between Moffat Boulevard and the western end of the large dog area. Additional parking would be placed between the dog park and the municipal water treatment facility.

If the City Council approves of the location when they meet Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St., staff will then schedule public meetings to receive input on  the dog park’s design. The goal is to fund constriction in the 2015-16 budget.

There is currently $38,270 set aside for a dog park after $61,730 was transferred last year to help fund the Morezoine Field conversion into a baseball field northwest of Center Street and Union Road.

Staff had looked sat the storm drain basin immediately  east of the community center site since it already has grass. However, new federal standards will not allow dog parks in storm retention basins for fear animal droppings and such will pollute the waterways where the storm water eventually ends up.

The establishment of a dog park at a city park was tacked onto a list of goals to either execute or get started moving toward in the 2014-15 fiscal year during by the council a year ago.

Push for Manteca dog

park started in 2001

 Dog lovers in Manteca first sought a dog park in 2001. That was when the original plan was floated by several citizens led by Park West neighborhood resident Karen Grupe. A year later the Dog Owners Group of Manteca was organized.

In 2003 the council at the time approved establishing a canine recreational complex on the grass area west of the Manteca Senior Center rear parking lot and north of the Parks and Recreation building at the Civic Center complex. They had considered and rejected a proposal to place a dog park at the Manteca Golf Park directly across from the tennis courts on Union Road.

The dog park at the time had a price tag of $60,000. Manteca DOG representatives said the organization was willing to help reduce the price tag by at least 25 percent by arranging for the donation of fencing materials.

The Civic Center was viewed as a temporary location since it was believed expansion of city offices could require the land in 10 years. Twelve years later the city has neither created a dog park nor expanded city hall.

The project went south in 2003 because dog lovers could only secure pledges for half of the $15,000 in materials they pledged. It was noted at the time that no other group of recreational enthusiasts using city parks such as golfers, tennis players, soccer groups or baseball teams were ever required to raise money or materials in  order for the city to build a recreational amenity for their use.

Council OKs dog

park for a 2nd time

but different location

In 2007, the city adopted a new location for a possible dog park. The location was on the northeast corner of the 52-acre park where Woodward Avenue and Birdwell Avenue. It was on the outer edge of the storm retention basin where an amphitheatre is proposed. There are already a number of stately sycamore trees are already in place.

The site required fencing, a tap for drinking are for dogs —and humans — as well as benches and dog scoop stations. The Parks and Recreation Commission in their master plan adopted in the summer of 2007 tossed in a large shade structure to bring the total cost for a dog park to $250,261. Nothing happened

The dog park project was revived again in 2008 as dog lovers started pushing for progress. Believing the Woodward Park site wasn’t favored by the city even though it had been adopted but not acted on, they suggested other possible locations. One suggested was to use the Button Estates Park sandwiched between the Manteca Christian Center and Discovery Creek Drive that was rarely used by humans as the location for the dog park. By that time Lathrop already had a dog park even though they didn’t start talking about having one until three years after Manteca voted to establish a dog park.

By May of 2009 the city mulled tapping into the $300,000 it had in park reserves at the time to build the park that had been pared down to $108,000. The dog park plan as adopted by the Parks and Recreation Commission called for 24,000 square feet or a half acre for large dogs and 13,500 square feet or a third of an acre for small dogs with a double entry gate. Council directed staff to work on a proposal to place a $1 surcharge on dog licenses to help defray the estimated $15,000 annual park maintenance cost.

Shortly thereafter, city finances went into a tailspin as the Great Recession slammed the economy.