The Merced City Council will begin its regular meeting this week with a study session on land use near Bellevue Road, but the board will also touch on crime and plans for a south Merced park.
The study session is set to begin at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 678 W. 18th St., followed by the regular meeting at 7 p.m. The meeting was bumped to Tuesday because of the Presidents Day holiday.
The Bellevue Community Plan covers about 2.4 square miles of land outside the city limits but is part of where growth related to UC Merced is expected. The planning area is generally defined by G Street and Lake Road, Farmland Avenue and Cardella Road.
UC Merced has a goal to reach an enrollment of 10,000 by 2020. Area leaders expect that many students and their parents will look for housing in the area. Leaders say persuading graduates to stick around Merced could lead to the development of new firms, and eventually a rise in the number of jobs and average income.
The plan states it “strikes a balance between certainty and flexibility” because it will put in place guidelines for development but leave room for changes in market conditions.
Also during the meeting, the city staff is scheduled to report to the council on its survey of public comments regarding the improvements at Stephen Leonard Park, land at Seventh and T streets scheduled to get a skate park, shade structures, a splash pad, new playground equipment, climbing rocks, security cameras and bike racks.
The council unanimously accepted the California Housing and Community Development Department award of $828,775 in January for improvements to the park, but is waiting to hear more from the public before finalizing the plans.
According to city records, residents in south Merced have been most in favor of the splash pad and skate park in the plans. City staff will look at adding a volleyball court and lighting, because of requests during the public survey.
Whatever plan the city has for the park, all of the grant money must be spent by June 30, 2016.
Police Chief Norm Andrade told the Sun-Star he is set to present the crime statistics from 2014 during the meeting. His presentation will also update the council on Neighborhood Watch and community policing programs, according to city records.
City Council meetings are streamed live on the Internet. A link is at www.cityofmerced.org. Comcast’s Government Channel 96 will broadcast the meeting live.
Sun-Star staff writer Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.