It has taken several years and multiple location changes, but the City of Manteca is officially getting a dog park.
The Manteca City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to convert the existing strip of property behind City Hall and the Parks and Recreation Building into Manteca’s first dog park, a site that was recommended by the commission that held multiple meetings with dog enthusiasts and residents who have long been jockeying to have a place to let their canine friends run free.
And it’s going to cost a lot less than what was initially expected.
When compared to what it would have cost to construct the facility from scratch using bare city land and installing the turf, irrigation, fencing and parking lots – with a price tag of nearly $270,000 – the estimated $150,000 to convert the existing space into a working dog park weighed into the decision made by the council.
Even though there was some hesitation – Councilwoman Debby Moorehead said that she had visited dog parks and experienced things that made her somewhat apprehensive and resident Rick Hanson said that he wasn’t so keen on opening the City of Manteca to liability – the decision came without opposition and satisfied a handful of people in the audience who have followed the process for years.
It has been anything but easy.
Initially already in the planning stages, the funding necessary to construct the dog park dried up when the city was forced to slash budget items in order to maintain essential services when a massive shortfall emerged in the wake of a widespread housing crisis.
While the funding was initially a concern, the location – at the top of the Woodward Park basin – was ultimately ruled out because of stricter regulations regarding storm water contamination. That left the Parks and Recreation Commission searching for somewhere in the community that would work, and their decision on the Civic Center complex, which was upheld by the council, was found to be perfect because:
uOther proposed sites, including next to the Moffatt Boulevard Community Center and Veterans of Foreign War complex on Moffatt Boulevard and adjacent to the Manteca Animal Control facility on Wetmore Street, would have required massive amounts of construction of excavation in order to turn the land into a viable plot.
uNearly 40 percent of what is needed for the dog park already exists in the grassy area between the two buildings.
uThere are no current plans to expand either the Manteca Senior Center or the City Hall complex, and if that land were to become desirable at that time, simply removing he permanent items like fencing and signage would make it reusable elsewhere.
Now that the item has the full approval of the council, staff will be able to come up with a plan on how best to make the space work before coming back with a final construction.
City staff estimates that it’ll cost between $5,000 and $10,000 every year to maintain the existing grass and plan for rehabilitation from the heavy beating it is expected to take.