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Dog license surcharge may help pay for dog park maintenance
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Manteca leaders may tap just over a third of the $300,000 in park fee reserves to move a proposed dog park forward at Woodward Park.

The Manteca City Council Tuesday night also directed staff to prepare a plan to cover the ongoing $15,000 annual maintenance for the park including a $1 surcharge on municipal dog license fees as well as a public/private partnership.

The plan for funding and covering ongoing maintenance cost will be back before the council at their July 7 meeting.

The $300,000 is part of the fees assessed growth for the specific purpose of developing parks and recreational facilities. It cannot be used for other purposes including helping whittle down the projected deficit for the fiscal year starting July 1 that is expected to balloon back up to $3.7 million now that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger  is expected to go forward with plans to shift $2 billion in property taxes from local governments.

Mayor Willie Weatherford noted that a large chunk of the users of Lathrop’s dog park – which has been closed temporarily for a number of months due to levee work – are Manteca residents and their dogs.

Councilwoman Debbie Moorhead noted it was important that the city had developed a number of recreational facilities for kids including Woodward Park soccer fields and a new soccer field and BMX track at the Spreckels Recreation Park.

She said a dog park fits right in because for some Manteca residents “their dogs are their kids.”

The proposed dog park site is at Woodward Park on the corner of Bridewell and Woodward avenues.

The park creation is expected to cost $108,000.

The plan as adopted by the parks and recreation commission calls 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.

It would take advantage of existing fencing around the adjoining 10-acre storm retention basin plus utilize existing shade trees that include a number of large sycamores.