$2.6M grant will enable McNamara Park to get thorough face-lift

mnorth@mercedsunstar.comApril 16, 2013 

The plan guiding a $2.6 million grant aimed at rejuvenating a park in south Merced was under review by city officials and residents during Monday's council meeting.

The state grant is aimed at renovating McNamara Park near West 11th and Canal streets.

Mike Conway, assistant to the city manager, said the designer is about 60 percent through with the design phase of the project. The city plans to go out to bid for a contractor in June, start construction in August and complete the work by the end of the year.

The grant will cover new playground equipment, a performing arts pavilion, new restrooms, a resurfaced parking lot, new trees, a resurfaced basketball court, security cameras, fencing, a new grass field and two artificial-turf fields, according to city records.

Updated plans also call for a "splash pad," which is a low-maintenance area equipped with water features that project upward from the ground and allow parkgoers to cool off. Because there's no standing water, there's no need for a lifeguard, according to city records.

"The council is fond of this grant," Conway said. "This is something where it will really make this park look good."

The grant doesn't include any work to the pool at the park, he added. Because construction is expected to start after the pool closes, the work won't affect its schedule.

No city funds were used for the project, Conway noted.

Design team member Michael Ratajski, a senior project manager for Quad Knopf, said he expects the end result to be "the heart of the community."

"We want to look at it as being a gathering place for the entire community and sort of a magnet for families and children and people of all ages," he said during Monday's meeting.

Councilwoman Mary-Michal Rawling thanked the design team and staff members who've worked on the project.

"This project always gets me really excited," she said. "I can't wait until McNamara Park looks like the pictures that you've put up before us. It definitely needs a face-lift, and I'm excited that it's going to be here before the end of the year."

A community meeting has been set for 6 p.m. May 9 at McNamara Park, Conway said. At that meeting, staff will update residents on the project and take questions.

Reporter Mike North can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or mnorth@mercedsunstar.com.

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