The City of Merced will be holding a community meeting at Stephen Leonard Park on Saturday, Dec. 14, from 1 to 3 p.m. to show the plans of a proposed grant to improve the park and seek comments from City residents.
The City is eligible for $702,462.15 in Housing Related Park Grant funding through the State of California Department of Housing and Community Development after completing two low-income housing projects.
The park renovations include: a skate park, shade structures, splash park, new playground equipment, climbing rocks, security cameras and bike racks. The project would also include benches, lights, drinking fountains, building repair and painting, sprinkler controllers, tables, trees and new sidewalks.
The Housing Related Park Grant is based on park acreage per 1,000 residents in a census tract. When staff calculated the formulas, Stephen Leonard and McNamara Parks had fewer than 3 park acres per 1,000, yielding the highest return in grant dollars. Using other census tracts in the City would have cut the grant amounts received in half. Due to the grant the City received for McNamara Park, staff thought it was best to apply the funds to Stephen Leonard Park.
The City had applied for the grant two years ago – for a smaller sum -- but did not receive it because the housing projects were not completed. The Recreation staff worked with the Housing Department, the Principal Architect and Public Works to devise a plan based the previous grant application and also on public comments the City received during community meetings for the McNamara Park grant.
The grant application will be presented to the City Council at its Jan. 6 meeting. The grant application needs to be submitted to the state by January 22, 2014.