Imagine strolling through a grove of trees, playing a game of horseshoes or Frisbee, and then learning about different flowers and shrubs that flourish in the Lodi area.
This is the experience Lodi city staff are hoping people will enjoy at Roget Park on Tienda Drive near Target. Construction is currently underway, and the city plans to open the park in the spring of 2013, Parks Superintendent Steve Dutra said.
The Lodi City Council requested that Roget Park remain a passive park, which means no playground, picnic areas or sports fields.
So city staff designed a park that will allow people to enjoy nature while also playing a couple of popular games like bocce ball and horseshoes, Dutra said.
"It's going to be very nice for walking, running and other wellness possibilities," he said.
Construction of the park is a multi-phased project. Crews have already installed irrigation lines and dug trenches for electrical lines to power lights along the walking paths.
When the city first received the donated land for the park, it was planted with 110 trees. The city removed about 60 because they were dead, diseased or the wrong species for a park. The city plans to replant even more trees than that, and keep the front one-third of the park heavily forested.
Behind the trees, there will be an open grassy area, two horseshoe pits and two bocce ball courts.
"The grass will be big enough to fly a kite, play Frisbee or lay out in the sun," Dutra said.
Surrounding all of these features will be shrubbery and flower beds filled with California native species. Dutra described it as a demonstration garden because people can get ideas for their own yard.
"We will fill it with low-maintenance, seasonal color and drought-tolerant plants. We don't have a park like this in our system," he said.
The city is selecting the plants from an All-Stars list that UC Davis Arboretum created. It is available on the San Joaquin County Environmental Horticulture website at www.ucanr.org/sites/sjcoeh.
The construction costs are $650,000 for the more than four-acre park. The money came from the city selling an adjacent 3 1/2-acre parcel to Eden Housing, a nonprofit planning to build a senior retirement community.
The 80 one-bedroom units will be for seniors who are 55 and older and on limited incomes. The project is delayed because Eden is applying for funds to pay for construction.
Gordon Boyd Roget donated the land for the park before his death two decades ago. He planted oak trees near Tienda Drive, but nothing else because there was no money.
During a June morning, electricians Eddy Morales and Carlos Vazquez help dig trenches for electrical wires to power lights along the walkways in the park.
The city contracted with Hemington Landscape Services, the same company that landscaped DeBenedetti Park.
One of the main design features will be a landscape strip on the west side of the park for stormwater to absorb and then any extra runoff can go into the street. Dutra said the sign for the park will be on a natural rock formation, including a 5-ton boulder.
"We will try to make it a little more unique than a standard template," Dutra said.