Grant could cre­ate trail at Lodi Lake

Lodi News-Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - By Oula Miq­bel NEWS-SEN­TINEL STAFF WRITER

Lodi Parks, Re­cre­ation and Cul­tural Ser­vices is seek­ing pub­lic com­ment for a grant ap­pli­ca­tion that would es­tab­lish a river­front trail at Lodi Lake.

Dur­ing a Parks and Re­cre­ation Com­mis­sion meet­ing on Tues­day night at Carnegie Fo­rum, Parks, Re­cre­ation and Cul­tural Ser­vices Direc­tor Jeff Hood an­nounced to the com­mis­sion that parks staff would sub­mit its ap­pli­ca­tion for a Propo­si­tion 68 recre­ational trails and green­ways grant by Oct. 10.

Prop. 68, passed by Cal­i­for­nia vot­ers last Novem­ber, au­tho­rized the state to bor­row $4.1 bil­lion for in­vest­ments in clean­ing di­lap­i­dated parks, im­prov­ing wa­ter projects, up­grad­ing flood pro­tec­tion and pro­tect­ing scenic open spa­ces.

The state has al­lo­cated $27.7 mil­lion for recre­ational trails and green­ways, which will be awarded to ap­pli­cants with the most com­pet­i­tive pro­pos­als. Agen­cies ap­ply­ing for the grant will be no­ti­fied if they have been awarded grant monies by the end of the year, ac­cord­ing to the Cal­i­for­nia Nat­u­ral Re­sources Agency.

“What we are look­ing to do is get some com­ments from the pub­lic and the com­mis­sion, so we can sub­mit a plan that the com­mu­nity is be­hind,” Hood said.

Parks staff pro­posed de­vel­op­ing a trail that would be­gin near the la­goon at Lodi Lake and ex­tend to parts of the Mokelumne River.

“The trail will be about three-quar­ters of a mile,” Hood said.

The trail is ex­pected to be six feet in width and would serve as a walk­ing and jog­ging trail for pedes­tri­ans. The trail would al­low in­di­vid­u­als to take dogs on leashes on the trail, ac­cord­ing to Parks Deputy Direc­tor Cathi DeG­root.

Com­mis­sioner Bill Mitchel in­quired about the width of the trail and if it would per­mit peo­ple on bikes to uti­lize the trail com­fort­ably.

“The width would need to be eight feet. If the com­mis­sion is rec­om­mend­ing it, we could ex­plore the pos­si­bil­ity of widen­ing the path for bi­cy­cle ac­cess,” Hood said.

The trail would not per­mit the use of skate­boards, be­cause it will be laid with de­com­posed gran­ite — weath­ered gran­ite that eas­ily crum­bles into a mix­ture of gravel-sized par­ti­cles — that would make it dif­fi­cult for skate­board­ers to use.

Lodi res­i­dent Doug Bojack ex­pressed con­cerns with the trail pro­posal be­cause he be­lieves the plan in­tro­duced by parks staff did not meet the in­tent of Prop. 68.

Ac­cord­ing to Bojack, the lan­guage in the grant is meant to pro­mote new or al­ter­nate ac­cess to parks, wa­ter­ways, out­door recre­ational pur­suits and forested or other nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ments to en­cour­age health-re­lated ac­tive trans­porta­tion and op­por­tu­ni­ties to re­con­nect with na­ture.

“I know this (plan) cre­ates a trail, and it pro­vides a walk­ing op­por­tu­nity within Lodi Lake Park. I don’t see how this pro­vides new or im­proved ac­cess to the park,” Bojack said. “I am not sure the city’s ap­pli­ca­tion will be very com­pet­i­tive.”

Bojack, who has been an ad­vo­cate for the Lodi Green­line Project — a project that would con­vert Lodi’s un­used Union Pa­cific spur line to a ded­i­cated bike and pedes­trian trail that would con­nect Wood­bridge and Lodi Lake with the Down­town and the Heritage District — ad­vo­cated that the Prop. 68 ap­pli­ca­tion adopt el­e­ments of the green­line project, to both meet the pa­ram­e­ters of the grant and of­fer a com­pet­i­tive ap­pli­ca­tion.

“Ac­cess to parks is a big part of the grant ap­pli­ca­tion. I think this (plan) is the best shot we have at get­ting any money,” Hood said.

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