An open forum on Monday will be held for members of the community to add their input as a new DeBenedetti Park master plan is in progress.

The Lodi Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department is looking to move forward with the project now that funds from development impact fees have been allocated.

The decision to host an open house for the community to provide their feedback and input comes after the decision to completely overhaul the original plans from nearly two decades ago.

“The plans that were introduced originally are a little dated and they no longer fit the needs of the community,” said Jeff Hood, Lodi’s parks and recreation director.

The initial concept for the park, rolled out in 2002 at a projected cost of $10.7 million, called for two football fields, two soccer fields, one basketball court, three 90-foot baseball diamonds, one 60-foot baseball diamond, two multi-use diamonds, and one soccer field. The plans for the park were nixed due to a lack of funding.

Since then, the city has slowly incorporated parts of the project as funding has become available, including soccer fields and parking at the park.

With the possibility of $2 million becoming available, the city is welcoming fresh ideas for the park and has teamed up with a consulting company to generate a survey that will allow citizens to select options for the new master plan.

“We have received hundreds of responses from community members,” Hood said. “I have not seen them personally but if the survey responses serve as an indication of how many people will attend the open house, I think we can anticipate a good showing.”

The survey allows members of the community the option to choose what they would like to see added to the park, from restrooms and play structures to a community garden.

“At the open house, we will have interactive activities and posters for people to select from. They can choose what types of park amenities they would like to see,” Hood said, adding that the community’s input will help prioritize what should go into the master plan.

The park currently sits on 20 acres of property, and with street parking the potential to create a space that provides a multitude of features could draw in the entire community, Hood said.

The open house will be held on Monday, March 4, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., at Hutchins Street Square, located at 125 Hutchins St.

Attendees can share comments, ask questions, and provide information about the future development of the park. For people that would like to add their input but are not able to make the meeting, they can complete an online survey by visiting http://lodi.gov/912/DeBenedetti-Park-Project.

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