INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
Merced County Completes Planada Park Remodel, Receives Grant for Another
In late May, Merced County was joined by members of the community and partnering agencies for a ribbon-cutting ceremony of Houlihan Park in Planada.
The park was recently renovated through a $2.4 million California Department of Parks and Recreation grant secured by Merced County, and the remodel includes numerous features, such as a splash pad, an outdoor performing arts stage, picnic shelters, a lighted basketball court, and more.
Supervisor Rodrigo Espionza, whose District 1 includes Planada, said the park is already being heavily used by residents.
“Everyone absolutely loves Houlihan Park,” Espinoza said. “This park has always been a jewel of the community, and now it really stands out as a resource of which we can all be proud.”
May’s ribbon cutting ceremony brought out nearly 100 members of the community and included members of the Houlihan Family, who helped cut the ribbon (pictured).
And just recently, Merced County learned that it was successful in securing a $3.7 million grant to renovate Winton Community Park. Work will include renovated ball fields, a new playground, new benches and graffiti-resistant picnic tables, and much more.
These are major successes for Merced County and efforts are being made to do more. Staff is in the process of planning future parks in other parts of the County, including in Santa Nella and Franklin-Beachwood, where the County has purchased land for future park projects. Furthermore, the Board of Supervisors has set aside American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to repair and upgrade other County parks and community facilities.
Record Turnout at Spring Fair
The Merced County Spring Fair was back again this year following a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it turned out to be the most heavily-attended Spring Fair ever.
Approximately 40,000 people turned out to go on rides, watch the tractor pulls and demolition derby, eat deep-fried treats, listen to live music, experience the livestock exhibits, and everything else that goes along with a fair.
Supervisor and Vice-Chairman of the Board Scott Silveira, whose District 5 includes the Spring Fairgrounds, said this year’s event was a big success, and he expects to build on it for next year.
“It was exciting to see the Spring Fair come roaring back this year,” Silveira said. “The community was excited, and so was the County staff that helped put it on. I want to thank everyone that came out and made this event another memorable one.”
In other news, the Board of Supervisors approved the appointment of a new Spring Fair Manager in April.
Los Banos resident Guy Gary, who has more than 22 years of experience with the California State Department of Food and Agriculture in various capacities, including livestock inspection and environmental science fields, was selected for the position. Gary rose to the top of the candidate pool following a recruitment process that included oral panels from County Administrators, a fair manager from a neighboring county, Spring Fair Advisory Committee representatives, and a member of the Board of Supervisors.
District 4 Supervisor Lloyd Pareira, who also serves as Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, said Gary is the right fit for the job.
“As a 4-H and FFA member, I showed at the Los Banos fair for 10 years,” Pareira said. “I can attest to the value it added to my life and the countless lives of youth who grew up here. In addition to the fair, there are many other community enhancing events that happen throughout the year as well. I think Guy has the passion to take the fair to the next level, which will be a benefit to the residents of Merced County.”
Silveira said he’s confident that Gary will continue the proud traditions of the Merced County Spring Fair.
“Not only is Guy knowledgeable in the field, but he’s a local,” Silveira said. “He understands the community and why this event is so important to our residents. And by the way, the Spring Fair isn’t just for people who live on the west side of the County. I encourage everyone across the County to come experience this fantastic event.”
Prior to Gary’s onboarding, the County relied on the County Executive Office and a contracted fair industry representative to plan this year’s Spring Fair and run day-to-day operations at the facility.
For additional photos and video of this year’s event, search Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag below!
Congressional Funding Secured for Historic Courthouse Museum
The Merced County Courthouse Museum will soon get a much-needed facelift thanks to a federal appropriation of $2 million spearheaded by Congressman Jim Costa and Merced County.
The funding was allocated through federal “Community Project Funding,” which is congressionally-directed spending aimed at assisting projects related to infrastructure, community programs, research, and other local initiatives. Merced County worked with Congressman Costa’s office in 2021 to submit the Courthouse Museum for consideration. It was approved by Congress as part of the 2022 Appropriations Omnibus bill and subsequently signed into law by President Joe Biden.
The $2 million, coupled with $1 million already set aside by the Board of Supervisors and $50,000 from the Merced County Historical Society, will be used to preserve the exterior shell of the Courthouse Museum (pictured), which has slowly deteriorated over the years and is in need of improvements to maintain its structural integrity and long-term sustainability. Future phases of the project include repairs to the inside of the structure.
The Merced County Courthouse Museum is one of the oldest buildings in California and is an icon of the County. Built in 1875, the building served as a courthouse for 100 years until 1975. During that timeframe, it also housed offices for several County departments, including the Board of Supervisors, Treasurer-Tax Collector, Auditor-Controller, Parks and Recreation, and several others.
Supervisor Josh Pedrozo, whose District 2 includes the Courthouse Museum, said the historic site serves as an educational resource, community gathering place, and source of pride for residents, and this work will ensure that continues.
“This funding allocation will go a long way toward preserving one of the most iconic and recognizable landmarks in Merced County,” Pedrozo said. “I would like to thank Congressman Costa for his efforts in securing this funding.”
The Courthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.
Did You Know? Library Park Passes
Did you know that the Merced County Library has a State Park Pass Program? Each library branch has four state park passes available to check out with a Merced County Library Card. Each pass can be checked out for a two-week period at a time (one per patron at a time). If the park passes have been checked out, patrons may place a hold for a park pass by using the library’s online catalog. A notice will be sent to the user when available.
California State Library Parks Pass (ValleyCat)
Project Update - Campus Parkway
Segment III of the Campus Parkway Expressway project is nearly complete! As of the publication of this newsletter, a ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned for early July, so keep an eye on the Merced County website and Facebook page for additional information on that event—everyone is welcome to attend.
The overall Campus Parkway project includes the construction of a four-lane expressway from Highway 99, connecting to Highway 140, and extending to Yosemite Avenue.
The portion extending the expressway from Highway 140 to Yosemite Avenue is the current phase that’s nearing completion.
Once finished, Campus Parkway will complete the south-eastern portion of the "Merced Loop System," which will eventually circle the City of Merced and connect surrounding communities.
County Honors Fallen Officers
In May, the Merced County Sheriff’s Office hosted the 17th annual Merced County Peace Officer’s Memorial Ceremony—a ceremony that honors those officers who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.
The ceremony brought several local law enforcement agencies, government officials, and members of the public together outside of the Merced County Administration Building near the Peace Officer’s Memorial Wall.
The Memorial Wall is engraved with the names of 17 local law enforcement officers who were killed in the line of duty, the earliest being Game Warden George J. Rodolph in 1914 and the most recent being U.S. Penitentiary—Atwater Officer Jose V. Rivera in 2008.
|Board of Supervisors||Planning Commission|
- June 21, 2022
- July 12, 2022
- July 19, 2022
- August 9, 2022
- August 23, 2022
- September 13, 2022
Regular Board of Supervisors meetings are held on scheduled Tuesdays at 10 a.m., unless otherwise specified. Meetings are held in the Board Chambers located in the County Administration Building at 2222 M Street, Third Floor, Merced, CA 95340.
- June 22, 2022
- July 13, 2022
- July 27, 2022
- August 10, 2022
- August 24, 2022
- September 14, 2022
Regular Planning Commission meetings are held on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month (with the exception of December) in the Board Chambers located in the County Administration Building at 2222 M Street, Third Floor, Merced, CA 95340.
|Municipal Advisory Councils|
- Delhi MAC meetings:
7 p.m. second Thursday of the month,
VFW Hall: 9799 Stephens St., Delhi
- Franklin-Beachwood MAC meetings:
6 p.m. fourth Wednesday of the month,
Franklin Elementary on Franklin Road
- Hilmar MAC meetings:
6 p.m. fourth Monday of the month.
20077 Falke St., Hilmar
- Le Grand MAC meetings:
6 p.m. first Monday of the month,
13038 E. Jefferson St., Le Grand
- McSwain MAC meetings:
7 p.m. fourth Thursday of the month,
926 N. Scott Road, Merced
- Planada MAC meetings:
6 p.m. first Wednesday of the month,
9167 Stanford Ave., Planada
- Snelling MAC meetings:
6:30 p.m. third Tuesday of the month,
Henderson Park Community Recreational Building
3335 E. Merced Falls Road, Snelling
- Winton MAC meetings:
7 p.m. third Tuesday of the month,
7091 W. Walnut Ave., Winton