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Plans ready for park expansion
City to expand Ceres River Bluff Regional Park soccer fields
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Ceres River Bluff Regional Park will boast a new soccer field by summer, allowing Ceres to host state cup tournaments that should be an economic boost to city businesses.

Plans have been drawn and will be put out to bid, said Len Guillette, an engineer with the city. Construction on the Hatch Road park is expected to start by mid to late February with the project ready by August, just in time for soccer play.

The project, which was approved in 2012, makes a number of improvements at Ceres River Bluff Regional Park. Besides a new soccer field, the city will add a tot lot, more parking and other amenities.

With six fields, Ceres can compete with Modesto, Ripon and Turlock for state cup tournaments.

"Building another field is tremendously good," said Lou Toste, former president of Ceres Youth Soccer Organization. He said attracting such events would bring in outsiders who would spend money in town.

Six soccer fields were included in the original design of Ceres River Bluff Regional Park. Only five were developed because of the need for a large storm drainage basin. Because six weren't built, Ceres has not been able to host larger state cup tournaments.

The park project calls for the addition of two new championship soccer fields, two Under 8 youth soccer fields, a "TOP" soccer field for handicapped play, park amenities in the existing playground, a traffic turn around for drop-off traffic, and a new parking lot for 226 vehicles at the southeast quadrant of the park. The design allows the city to use an area along Hatch Road west of the current entrance for either a commercial businesses or overflow parking in times of high use.
Currently the park has only 245 parking stalls and the city routinely receives complaints about the limited parking at the park, which has become a year-round facility.

The new design also calls for a roundabout near the entrance to help vehicles flow in and out of the new and existing parking lot. At some time in the future the city wants to add a second ingress/egress for the park at Boothe Road.

Eventually the park will be equipped with a two-million-gallon water tank in the middle of the east side of the park needed when the regional surface water project goes on line.

Toste said his organization has a five-week league for TOP -- stands for The Outreach Program -- that attracts disabled players.

The Ceres park is broken into two geographically different sections. The upper terrace, which is level to Hatch Road, is the recreational portion of the park. The lower terrace near the Tuolumne River, is being restored to its natural river habitat from its former use as a walnut orchard.