Grant could create trail at Lodi Lake
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.