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Lockeford community center may open to public in a year

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Posted: Friday, July 19, 2013 12:00 am

Lockeford residents could end up enjoying a new community center sometime next year, now that the Lockeford Community Services District has awarded a construction contract.

The district board awarded an $898,000 contract on Thursday to Stockton-based Mid-Cal Construction to build the community center on 4 acres that will eventually serve as Lockeford’s first-ever park, on Jack Tone Road.

There is one hitch, however — the San Joaquin Council of Governments reports that there may be some tiger salamanders living on the park site.

The California tiger salamander is an amphibian often seen in Sonoma and Santa Barbara counties, according to the Center for Biological Diversity, but there may be some in Lockeford as well. It is protected under the California and U.S. Endangered Species Acts.

It could cost the Lockeford Community Services District from $12,000 to $24,000 for an expert to inspect 1.13 acres, district manager Joe Salzman told the board Thursday.

Salzman thinks the tiger salamander issue is much ado about nothing.

“We’re arguing with them about that,” he said. “I don’t believe they’re going to find anything over there.”

Mid-Cal’s low bid of almost $900,000 — seven firms bid on the project — comes to nearly $70,000 more than the Lockeford district has allocated to construct the center.

Salzman said during the meeting that he’ll have to work with Mid-Cal to postpone part of the project, though details haven’t been finalized. However, Ray Crow of the Lodi Chamber of Commerce, who attended Thursday’s meeting, said after the meeting adjourned that he might be able to arrange events and get contributions — including free labor — to raise more funds to complete the landscaping surrounding the community center.

The county requires some landscaping and a sound berm separating the south end of the park from the north side of a mobile home park.

Former Lockeford board member Gary Gordon had nothing but praise for Mid-Cal Construction. Gordon told the board he worked daily with Mid-Cal workers during the restoration of the Old Lockeford Schoolhouse, located north of the park site.

As soon as the Lockeford Community Services District raises additional revenue, a turfed park will be constructed. It will include a barbecue area and a soccer field.

In other action Thursday, the board adopted a $606,400 district budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year. The budget shows $303,000 allocated to sewer service, $281,000 for domestic water and $22,300 for parks.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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