Merced officials discuss concerns at annual State of the City address

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Mayor Mike Murphy boasted about several economic development projects and updated people on cannbis business in Merced. (KFSN)

Mayor Mike Murphy boasted about several economic development projects and updated people on cannabis business in Merced. However, there are still several issues involved homelessness and rundown properties that Murphy says they're still working to improve.

The, "I am Merced," hashtag was a common theme at the State of the City as Mayor Mike Murphy touted the city's accomplishments while introducing new projects in the works.

As more than 1,000 people filled the Merced Theatre, Murphy discussed state legislation that would triple the city's maintenance budget to repair potholes. He also mentioned the Altamont Corridor Express train and the high-speed rail, which is currently facing an audit by the state.

Despite the mayor claiming the train would promote positive change, some residents, like Jenny Lynn Reali, say they don't need it.

"Trains are great for travel and great for recreation. We're not there yet. I understand they want to build the infrastructure as it grows...trains are just functionally obsolete," Reali said.

Murphy also touched on downtown redevelopment, confirming that the El Capitan Boutique Hotel and Manzier Theatre should be finished around 2020. He also mentioned that the historic Tioga Hotel is gaining interest from developers wanting to turn it into apartments.

A newer topic for Merced, Murphy also spoke about marijuana business in Merced, along with a possible new cannabis tax that will be on the ballot in June.

"This tax will provide additional revenues to fund city services we already rely on, including police and fire service," Murphy said.

A concern for many Mercedians is the homelessness issue, Murphy says they're currently working on cleaning up blighted property and creating low-income housing.

Murphy wrapped up his speech with a promise to work in bringing more job opportunities, more affordable housing, and profitable business to Merced.

One more topic Murphy discussed with the heavy maintenance facility for the high-speed rail.

While Fresno officials believe they'd be the ideal location for the facility, Murphy disagrees and thinks it should come to Merced. He says they're working on making a case to send to the High-Speed Rail Authority.
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