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Developer steps up for graduation parking
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LATHROP – Those that showed up 30 minutes before the Lathrop High School graduation last year learned a hard lesson. 

Parking is at a premium.

With the surface streets around the campus still unopened, parents, family members and friends of the graduates had to either show up very early or risk the possibility of parking as far away as Target and walking a mile to get to the stadium. 

That’s all going to change this year. 

With the blessing of the Lathrop City Council and the developer that owns the land around the Lathrop Generations Center, city crews have been preparing the dirt lot to serve as a makeshift parking area for high-traffic events that fill up the on-site parking quickly and leave guests stranded. 

The city found out late last week that the developer had given its blessing on the plan – which will including grading the land and placing down dust mitigation covering – which has already received the support of Lathrop Police Services. Because of the narrow passage of Spartan Way, police officials were requesting that while there might appear to be space, on-street parking not be allowed. An extension of the road spur currently blocked by a K-Rail off of the roundabout at the end of the street could also be opened to help alleviate parking concerns. 

Lathrop-Manteca Fire Chief Gene Neely requested that the plans, once finalized, also be sent to the district for review. Enough space should be left, he said, for an engine, in the event of an emergency, to come in and leave.

After a brush fire last week destroyed one rural home and severely damaged another, making sure that cars aren’t parked on dry grass could also be an issue for the district. Undercarriage components like catalytic converters can get hot enough to set grass on fire, and just one blade can be enough to sweep through a field in a matter of minutes. 

Overflow parking will also be an issue when the City of Lathrop finally unveils the Lathrop Generations Center project to the public next month. Once the LEED-certification process is complete the building – located just across the street from the high school – will be ready for its first inhabitants.

The site will be the primary grounds for the 2014 Lathrop Birthday Celebration. Skateboard and parkour demonstrations are planned at the site, and new additions like a Texas Hold ‘Em tournament and the installation of a time capsule are aimed at bringing more people out to the community gathering.