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Oakdale Planning Commissioner Addresses Leadership Class
Oakdale Planning Commissioner Amy Velasco addresses students in Kristy Santos' Leadership Class at Adelante Continuation High School in Riverbank recently. She told the class about her experience becoming involved in local government, including spearheading the celebration of a grant opening for a new community park along South Yosemite Avenue in Oakdale. Ric McGinnis/The News

A chance meeting at the Oakdale Farmers Market led to a planning commissioner’s visit to the Leadership Class at Adelante Continuation High School in Riverbank last week.

Class teacher Kristy Santos explained on Thursday how she received a flyer at the market that led to her meeting Oakdale Planning Commission member Amy Velasco. The commission had been promoting the upcoming opening of the new Community Park in Oakdale. This past Saturday was the conclusion of over a year’s work in planning and construction of the facility.

Velasco told the class about how she originally got involved with the naming of the facility. After having been inspired in school by an Oakdale music teacher, she suggested it be named for Ron Quintanal or ‘Mr. Q’ as everyone called him.

She said she had gathered over 1500 signatures on a petition for the name and took them to a planning meeting on the subject. She told the class that, after hearing several other families submit equally deserving names for the honor, she suggested to the panel that they use all the names, attaching Mr. Q to the amphitheater, a beloved coach to the basketball court, another to the skate park area itself and call the overall facility the Oakdale Community Park.

The day long grand opening was held this past Saturday, with a food truck frenzy, police vs. firefighters basketball game, skating demonstrations and performers on stage all afternoon.

In the process of getting involved with the park opening, Velasco decided to apply to become a Planning Commissioner and as such, she ended up as the lead in spearheading the dedication ceremonies on Saturday.

She showed the students a plan drawing of the park and answered questions they had about the process she described.