‘It’s pretty exciting.’ Plans for south Merced regional sports complex finally shaping up !

A south Merced, CA. regional sports complex is moving toward groundbreaking next year, bringing more soccer, football and other recreation opportunities to this location on the corner of Mission Avenue and Tyler Road. SHAWN JANSEN Sjansen@mercedsun-star.com Anticipation is growing in the City of Merced as longstanding plans for a spacious regional sports hub are finally taking shape. Community Park-42, dubbed CP-42, is envisioned by city leaders as becoming a local epicenter for recreation that will attract visitors from across the county and beyond to south Merced. “It’s pretty exciting. It’s been a long-term vision for the city,” Merced Mayor Matt Serratto said.

The expansive park is imagined as a regional sports complex that includes soccer, football, basketball and volleyball courts, among other facilities. The 30-plus-acre site allotted for phase one of the project is nestled at the corner of Mission Avenue and Tyler Road. CP-42 has been in the works for years, with origins going back as far as park and open space master plans dating to the early 2000s. The injection of $5 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act dollars allocated to the project by the Merced City Council last year allowed it to accelerate.

Although those millions in federal stimulus dollar are allowing the project to move forward, a total price tag for it is still uncertain. City leaders are also poised to accept a state grant for CP-42 during Monday’s Council meeting. The nearly $178,000 from the grant will fund construction of two restrooms during phase one development. That will allow the park to open as a regional sports complex immediately, rather than waiting for phase two development, city documents say. SOCCER, FOOTBALL AND MORE PLANNED FOR CP-42 The park’s conceptual and schematic planning are nearly complete, meaning the project can move into the design phase, City Engineer Michael Beltran said.

City Manager Stephanie Dietz said groundbreaking is estimated to begin around spring of next year. Once phase one construction kicks off, the city is aiming for a quick turnaround. Optimistic projections put an opening date at the end of next year, Serratto said. Conceptual phase one amenities for CP-42 include a parking lot; a food truck area; courts for soccer, football, basketball and volleyball; a shaded picnic shelter and a play area. Future project phases envision a walking path, more courts for various sports and additional picnic and play areas. CP-42 is expected to expand in acreage as further plans are identified and funded. Ongoing conversations between Merced Union High School District (MUHSD) and city officials are exploring the possibility of incorporating another 30-acre site owned by the district next to the city’s parcel into CP-42.

If that plan moves forward, it would effectively double the park’s acreage. MUHSD Superintendent Alan Peterson said those plans are still in preliminary stages, but noted his enthusiasm for seeing multiple public agencies come together on CP-42, each working toward the betterment of Merced. “I think its a way to showcase our community,” Peterson said. “I think it would be a boon to south Merced and provide all sorts of economic activity.” Merced officials agree CP-42 will be a boon to economic development — especially in south Merced. Beltran said the sports complex will serve as a “major park” that is expected to attract people from outside the city to recreate and hold tournaments. “These are high quality, tournament-caliber facilities,” Serratto echoed.

City officials say the park is expected to help address the community’s need for additional recreation sites. Merced residents have long appealed to elected officials to bring more activities for youth — a need that will only grow as the city continues to grow in population, officials say. CP-42’s amenities are intended to cater to popular Merced activities, such as soccer. “It checks so many boxes. It’s south Merced development, it’s regional sports, things to do for youth,“ Serratto said. “It’s just an incredibly important project.”

Read more at: https://www.mercedsunstar.com/news/local/article260903892.html#storylink=cpy

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