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Major upgrade planned for Sangalang Park
sangalang park

A park honoring the first Filipino mayor in the United States could soon be getting some major upgrades.

And if all goes according to plan, it will be the State of California that picks up the bill for the revitalization.

On Monday, the Lathrop City Council will discuss whether to approve a request by city staff that would allow Lathrop to submit for the Statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization Grant program that if earned would cover the cost of an extensive overhaul of the existing park named after former Lathrop mayor Apolinar Sangalang.

Sangalang, who in 1993 became the first mayor in America that was born in the Philippines, was a United States Navy veteran that served in World War II and was captured by the Japanese – all of which will be detailed in the historical marker that the city plans on installing at the park if the grant is received.

Located on Slate Street, the proposed project would include the removal of the outdated play structure and the installation of two modern play structures for different age groups. The plans also call for the installation of a splash pad water play area, new restrooms placed closer to the playground, picnic shelters, and two tennis courts adjacent to the existing basketball court.

A concrete sign designating the park’s naming after Apolinar Sangalang would also be installed near where the historical marker designating his achievements would be placed.

In addition to his service to the United States, Sangalang was one of Lathrop’s founders as an original member of the Lathrop City Council when the community voted to incorporate back in 1989 – serving with longstanding dignitaries like Bennie Gatto that helped steer what was at onetime a sleepy hamlet and former railroad camp into one of the fastest-growing communities in California and one capable of landing big-name companies like Tesla.

California’s Statewide Park Development and Revitalization Program of 2018 is the largest park-related grant program in California’s history and possibly the largest in the United State with more than $1 billion in funding between Proposition 68, which was approved by voters in 2018, and Proposition 84 which was approved by voters in 2006. According to the staff report prepared for the council, the program awards grants on a competitive basis for park development and community revitalization.

And grant funding has helped Lathrop provide top notch public recreation amenities in the past.

The Lathrop Generations Center – which includes a youth facility and the Lathrop branch of the Stockton-San Joaquin Public Library – was funded through a grant from the State of California. The additional funding allowed the city to design and construct a skate park that has been heralded as one of the best in the area and routinely draws out-of-town guests to come and utilize the myriad of features not commonly found in public skate park offerings.

The application window for the grant will close on Dec. 14, and the city will be notified in the summer of 2021 whether they will receive the funds.

The Lathrop City Council typically meets on the second Monday of every month inside of the council chambers at Lathrop City Hall – located at 390 Towne Centre Drive in the Mossdale area of Lathrop. For additional information, or to obtain a copy of the agenda or accompanying documents, visit the City of Lathrop’s website at

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.