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Merced Council to consider ending lease at Police Dept.'s North Station

The Merced City Council said it will consider terminating the lease at the Police Department’s North Station, entering into an agreement for an affordable housing complex and establishing a no-parking zone along Destiny Drive.

The council will deal with the issues at its 7 p.m. Monday meeting.

The council also will recognize Joseph Edwards and Bernice Gonzales for their heroics rescuing people from Bear Creek and Cruickshank Middle School students Patrick Bunnell and Dylan Muir for their honesty.

The Police Department is recommending the closure of its North Station at 1109 Loughborough Drive to save money. The station closure wouldn’t affect the officers on patrol. No officers are regularly assigned to the station, officers don’t respond to calls directly from the station and it gets little walk-in traffic, so it would not affect service in the area. The Day Watch and other operations would be shifted to the Central Station at 611 W. 22nd St.

The five-year lease for the station was to expire in April 2014. It will cost $9,550 to terminate the lease. The department expects to save $107,064 in lease costs and $9,000 to $10,000 in utilities.

The Redevelopment Agency is recommending the City enter into an agreement with Merced Pacific Associates for development of a 75-unit housing complex along Highway 59.

The RDA is required by state law to spend 20 percent of its funds on expanding affordable housing in the City. The $15.2 million project is funded from local, state and federal housing dollars, and nearly $10 million in private money. No city General Fund money is being used in the project, the city said in a news release.

The council also will consider establishing a no-parking zone along Destiny Drive after receiving complaints from neighbors about people parked playing loud music, making noise and using illegal substances. Destiny does not have any houses on it, but several residences on neighboring cul-du-sacs back up to the street.

The regular city council meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers on the second floor of the Merced Civic Center, 678 W. 18th St. A closed session will be held at 6:30 p.m. to confer with labor negotiators.

The council agenda is posted online at www.cityofmerced.org and is available outside the chambers prior to the meeting. Request to Speak cards are available at the meeting or can be downloaded from the city's website. Cards must be turned in to the City Clerk in order for a person to be recognized by the Council. --Sun-Star Staff

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