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Is third time a charm?
Council asked to adopt Manteca dog park site
SAT dog park
Canine guests at the access gate to Lathrops dog park. - photo by HIME ROMERO/Bulletin file photo

The 14-year long hunt for a location to serve as Manteca’s first dog park may come to an end for the third time.
The City Council, whichmeets Tuesday at 7 p.m. is being asked to consider adopting a Parks and Recreation Commission recommendation to locate the dog park at the Manteca Civic Center. The location is just north of the Parks and Recreation office building.
That was the initial preferred site a previous council in 2003 adopted. But staff at the time came back several months later and said it might interfere with future plans to expand the Civic Center complex.
It then took six years to pin down another site. The council in 2009 approved locating the dog park on the northeast corner of Woodward Park.
The return to the Civic Center came after Woodward Park — and any park with a retention basin — had to be crossed off the list due to new stringent runoff regulations put in place by the state. The parks commission nixed a proposal to locate it next to the new Moffat Community Center.
There are park fees set aside to do the work in the current budget.
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,
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 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.
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.
Weatherford suggested starting with a simple version of the dog park five years ago.
In January 2009, frustrated that no progress had been made, them Mayor Willie Weatherford suggested basic fencing and perhaps a pooper scooper station was all that was needed to get Manteca’s first dog park started. Weatherford at the time said the city should do what it can afford which means building the dog park in phases. If not, he predicted the dog park probably won’t get built for years.
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 at the time 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.