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Parks Department Outlines Grant Request Proposal
Riverbank Parks and Recreation Director Sue Fitzpatrick presents a plan to the city council at a recent meeting that outlined changes that are in the works for the downtown Community Center Park block, between Sixth and Seventh streets and Santa Fe and Stanislaus streets if a city grant application for state bond funds is successful. Ric McGinnis/The News

Riverbank Parks and Recreation Director Sue Fitzpatrick told the city council at its July 23 meeting about her work preparing a grant request application to qualify the city for some of the Prop. 68 state grant funds to expand and modify the Community Center Park this year.

Her presentation showed the various changes that might be made to the park facilities with the grant money, along with a map of those changes. The legend on the map indicates 20 different features that will be modified or added to the park if the proposal to the state is successful.

There were five required community meetings to get input on the changes that were held over the past few months, concluding in the presentation to the council.

Also required were community partners. Golden Valley Health Care Center, The Federated Women’s Club, Central Valley Community Resources and the Riverbank Chamber of Commerce all came on board.

The proposed changes and expansion to the park are both big and small. They range from adding a covered picnic shelter to renovating the office at the swimming pool. The playground at the park will have to be moved to make room for an added teaching pool and water feature in addition to a re-configured main pool. The water feature would be where the playground now is, and it would be moved to the center of the area.

Also added in the middle would be an exercise area to allow an outdoor workout for park goers. An interesting element of the changes would be elimination of the small hill in the middle of the park.

These changes would come on the heels of the recent remodeling work at the community center building.

One feature to be added, at the request of local youngsters, would be a half-court basketball facility immediately behind the Teen Center. Some of the grass area there would remain, allowing soccer type activities to continue there as well.

Deadline for the proposal was Monday, Aug. 5, Fitzpatrick said, with notification of results expected in December, so work could begin next spring, if successful.

She told the council that this was just the first round of a series of applications the department is planning to make for Prop. 68 funds.

Coming soon is Round Two, she said, with plans to apply for a Castleberg Park renovation. Then there is some regional park funding in Round Three that she hopes will go toward building an amphitheater, parking lot and a hiking/bike trail in Jacob Myers Park.

The Statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization Program is the largest park related grant program in California’s history and possibly U.S. history, with over $1 million in funding between the 2008 Prop. 68 and the 2006 Prop. 84 bond acts. Statewide Park Program competitive grants will create new parks and new recreation opportunities in critically underserved communities across California, according to Fitzpatrick.