City of Merced wants residents to weigh in on how it should use plot of land

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- Students at Burbank Elementary in Merced love playing soccer at school and on local leagues.

"Soccer is one of the most popular sports at Burbank. It's played every day by students at every recess," says principal Jill Settera.

Some of the young athletes say they would like to see more high-quality fields around town.

They also know exactly what they do, and do not want.

"Good goals with real nets, flat grass, or it can be fake grass, no potholes (on which) you may sprain an ankle or trip," says student Andrew Rusu.

That's the type of input local leaders are seeking from people of all ages during a community meeting that will be held on Monday at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall.

"We'd like to know, are you interested in soccer fields, softball fields, volleyball courts, what are they interested in?" says Merced city manager Steve Carrigan.

The discussion will focus primarily on a 38-acre site located at Tyler and Mission avenues in South Merced. The City purchased the property in 2007 for a soccer and sports complex to use jointly with the Merced Union High School District. Officials say those plans changed when the district built El Capitan High School in North Merced, but the need never stopped growing for additional soccer space.

"We're entering our budget process, and I absolutely see this as something we're going to spend a lot of time on at City Hall. We are in dire need of soccer fields," says Carrigan.

The goal is to find out what residents want before taking those plans to the City Council.

"We'll design it, see what it costs, how we're going to pay for it, and ultimately this is a multiyear project and a multi-million dollar project," says Carrigan.
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