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Lodi Parks and Recreation to be evaluated

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Posted: Thursday, August 22, 2013 12:00 am

Should Lodi’s parks provide more recreation areas for seniors? Is additional room for organized sports a bigger need? Are certain areas being underutilized?

Starting at their Sept. 3 meeting, the Lodi Recreation Commission will discuss the need for a new study to evaluate the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department’s organization of public spaces and programs.

The commission held a special meeting on Aug. 12 at Carnegie Forum, where a national planning consultant presented options for potential studies. The parks department has up to $100,000 out of its $5.5 million annual budget allotted for this purpose, should the commission deem a study worthwhile.

If the commission decides to move forward, they will start seeking proposals from planning firms for the best approach.

“We owe it to our taxpayers and community to provide the types of parks and services they want,” Parks and Rec director Jeff Hood said. “Anything we do, it’s worth taking our time. But I think if we are going to do it, we need to pull the trigger at some point.”

The meeting’s presentation was given by Daniel Iacofano, the CEO of MIG, a Berkeley-based planning company that has carried out past projects in Lodi. A big part of the talk, Hood said, centered around the use of city parks — making sure the current ones properly serve community needs, repurposing some if necessary and also increasing their draw to tourists.

Hood said the department’s current master plan is about 20 years old and may be obsolete.

“A lot of assumptions back then about how people use facilities and parks could be outdated,” Hood said. “It could be time to take another look at what we’re doing.”

Hood expected a potential study to take around a year, depending on the level of detail, and have a lifespan of a decade. He added that if the commission does go with a study, it would include significant input from the Lodi community.

“That’s the core of the whole thing. If the community has different ideas, then we need to listen,” Hood said. “We don’t want a cookie-cutter template for a study. We would want something unique to Lodi, and Lodi is a unique place.”

Contact reporter Ed Yevelev at edy@lodinews.com.

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