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More delays plague plans for Lockeford’s 4-acre park project

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Posted: Friday, April 20, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 5:59 am, Fri Apr 20, 2012.

A Lockeford Community Services District board member expressed his disappointment that construction hasn't begun on Lockeford's new 4-acre park on Jack Tone Road.

Noel Stetson, a Community Services District board member, told community leaders on Thursday that administrative issues have precluded development from beginning as soon as he'd like. When completed, it will be Lockeford's first-ever park.

The community center building to be housed at the park hasn't been designed yet, and the county requires a large parking lot, Stetson told the Lockeford Municipal Advisory Council at its monthly meeting Thursday night. Furthermore, the Community Services District, which owns the land, must make sure that the California salamander, an endangered species, is preserved, he added.

"County planning has been very flexible," Stetson told the Municipal Advisory Council.

However, the Community Services District must apply for a use permit from the county before construction can begin, said Stetson. That would come at the June 7 meeting of the San Joaquin County Planning Commission in Stockton.

County planners weren't available for comment late Thursday evening to confirm its use permit requirements.

MAC chairman Joe Sublett said he'd like to see construction begin soon.

"I think this is very important to our community," Sublett said.

The Lockeford Community Services District is responsible for park, water and sewer service in the area, while the Lockeford Municipal Advisory Council is an advisory group that makes recommendations about community issues to the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors.

While Stetson and Community Services District General Manager Joe Salzman are leading the park construction effort, Stetson's wife Patti is leading an effort to establish a nonprofit organization to raise money to maintain the park once it's built. Patti Stetson sits on the MAC.

An informal group called Friends of Lockeford Memorial Park has established draft bylaws and articles of incorporation to form a foundation to raise money, Patti Stetson told her fellow MAC members. She is exploring the idea of selling space on a memorial wall in the future park so that donors' names would be engraved on granite tablets.

The Friends group hasn't made any decisions yet on specific fundraising efforts, she said.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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