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Bernasconi Park dedication postponed to Feb. 13

The city of Merced said that because of the high probability of rain Friday, the dedication of Richard Bernasconi Park has been postponed for a week.

The dedication will be held from noon to 2 p.m. Feb. 13 to honor the late mayor of Merced. The 8-acre park is located east of McKee Road and south of Yosemite Avenue in the Moraga/Lakemont Development in northeast Merced.

Kenneth Riggleman, a retired trucker who once ran for city council, recommended naming the park in honor of Bernasconi. “Mr. Bernasconi was a longtime Merced resident who served the community as an employee, elected official and a school teacher,” he said. He served two terms as mayor and two terms as a city councilman. He was the first elected mayor of the city after the Charter revision in the early 1990s.

Bernasconi was an advocate of parks and recreation. He was also a recreation supervisor for the city, Riggleman added.

Alexander Hall, Director of Parks and Community Services, said the park is one of 13 neighborhood parks identified in the 2004 Parks and Open Space Master Plan. The Needs Assessment was based on park facilities needs at build-out of the city in 2020 with an estimated population of 108,505.

The Parks and Open Space Master Plan will be amended upon approval of the city’s Updated General Plan.

Richard Bernasconi Neighborhood Park amenities include a lighted concrete pedestrian walk path, separated shaded play structures for ages 2-5 years and 5 and up, two baseball fields with regulation infields and dugouts, two full-size basketball courts, concrete stairways, a park overlook, benches, drinking fountains, bike racks, large multiuse open space field, landscaping and a 12-foot maintenance access ramp.

The city accepted maintenance of the park in August 2008. The Public Works Department will coordinate all future park maintenance.

The developer built the park at a cost of $1.7 million, according to Merced officials.

The Moraga/Lakemont Development will receive future credits towards the investment costs from future building permits pulled in the Moraga/Lakemont Development, officials said. No sales taxes, property taxes, motor vehicle fees or city funds were used in the development of the park