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Will council spend $100K on dog park?
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It’ll now be up to the Manteca City Council to determine whether they’ll fork over the nearly $100,000 needed to fund a dog park that some Manteca residents are staunchly advocating.

Earlier this month the Manteca Parks and Recreation Commission decided to draft a letter that will be submitted to the council asking them what they would like for the group to do at this juncture – with the plans already drafted in-house and the financial aspect of the proposal already ironed out.

The decision came after holding several public informational meetings where the details for the park – which is tentatively located at the corner of Woodward and Bridewell Avenues – were ironed out of the suggestions made by several dog advocates that have liked to have seen the project moved to the front of the line.

Parks and Recreation Director Steve Houx informed the commission during one of the informational meetings that on top of the initial cost of the construction – which was originally quoted at over $130,000 before several simple removals lowered it by almost 30 percent – the additional maintenance that the unique park would require would cost an additional $15,000 annually.

With the city’s budget shortfall now lingering somewhere between $2 million and $4 million (down from an initial $11.3 million), some on the commission aren’t so sure that this is the right time to be moving forward with something that’s going to cost additional money.

“From people that came out to the meetings, there was overwhelming support,” said commissioner Griffin Cheek. “But in this case it isn’t a question of what the project is or whether it’s merited – it simply comes down to whether the city can afford it or that money can be used in other places.”

Since he lives only a few blocks away from Woodward Park, Cheek says that he’s asked a fair amount of people utilizing the park with their dogs whether they’d like to have a dedicated area or just keep playing in the area they use now.

And the answers differed from the viewpoints expressed during the commission’s public meetings.

“Most of the people seemed not to care or to be indifferent, and when I asked whether they’d like to see that $15,000 go towards annual maintenance of one park or equipment for kids, almost everyone said they’d support the kids,” Cheek said. “I give everyone at the city a lot of credit – they definitely did their homework on this and provided us with a lot of information.

“Now it’s time to see what the City Council wants to do next.”