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Merced County Connection Archive

Posted on: January 31, 2022

Merced County Connection - January 2022 Newsletter

Newsletter - Merced County Connection


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New CEO-Designee Joins County, Begins Learning About Merced Community

In early January, Raul Lomeli Mendez joined the Merced County organization as County Executive Officer-Designee.

Mendez will succeed CEO James L. Brown when he retires at the end of February after nearly 32 years of service with the County.

Following an extensive recruitment process, Mendez was identified as the top candidate and unanimously selected by the Board to succeed Brown during a December Board meeting.

Mendez’ career spans several sectors of public service. He began his career in 1996 with the City of San Jose in the City Manager’s Office, and eventually the Department of Housing. In 2001, he was hired by Stanislaus County as a Senior Management Consultant with the CEO’s Office. In 2013, he left Stanislaus County after accepting the position of City Manager in the City of Hughson, where he focused on maintaining a strong fiscal position for the City, improving water and road infrastructure, and advancing collaborative relationships with key community and governmental partners. He returned to Stanislaus County as an Assistant County Executive Officer in 2020.

Mendez has a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Information Systems from Stanislaus State as well as a Master’s in Public Policy from the University of Michigan. Born to immigrant parents, Mendez is the youngest of five brothers who all have careers in public service.

Serving as Merced County’s seventh CEO, Mendez has already started touring Merced County and meeting with local business owners and community partners. Along with Board members, he’s touring each supervisorial district one-by-one.

“We’re fortunate to have Raul on the team,” said Chairman Lloyd Pareira of the Board of Supervisors. “He’s the right man for the job, and we’re excited to see what he can bring to Merced County.”

Mendez said he’s equally excited to join the Merced County team.

“I can tell Merced County has a lot to offer and is full of potential,” he said. “At the direction of the Board of Supervisors, Mr. Brown and this organization are moving Merced County forward. We’ll continue that progress.”

Redistricting: Board Approves New Map

Following an extensive public outreach campaign, the Board of Supervisors adopted a new district map (NDC 101d) during its Dec. 7 meeting.

Redistricting is performed at the local, state and federal levels every 10 years following the U.S. Census to ensure shifting populations receive fair and equal representation. From June to December 2021, the Board of Supervisors hosted four public hearings and two community workshops to share information about the process, gather public input on neighborhoods and communities of interest, and educate community members on how to submit draft maps and participate.

The selected map meets all legal requirements while reflecting public input on communities of interest and other feedback received during the process.

For more information, please visit

TRC-California Opens for Testing

New vehicle research site allows manufacturers to test autonomous technology and other features

The recent completion of a $2.1 million expansion project at the TRC California automotive research and testing complex is already attracting increased interest from the advanced mobility industry.

Construction of a 2.2-mile oval test track, a one-mile city course and two large vehicle dynamics areas, has transformed a portion of the former Castle Airforce Base into a world-class testing facility.

With these latest developments – phase one of a long-term expansion plan – TRC California offers vehicle manufacturers, suppliers and innovators a range of specialized test facilities that replicate real-world highway, rural and urban driving scenarios. These improvements allow for the safe testing and refinement of autonomous vehicle technologies and other advanced vehicle systems.

Construction of the 225-acre site began in May 2021 when Merced County officials entered into a long-term management agreement for the facility with Transportation Research Center Inc. (TRC Inc.), an Ohio-based leader in automotive testing and innovation. The site officially opened in November.

Veterans Day Parade Planning Underway After Successful Drive-Through Event, New Event Expected to be In-Person Experience

In November, the Merced County Veterans Service Office (VSO) hosted its annual Veterans Day Parade with a different spin to help stem the spread of COVID-19.

Instead of the usual crowds gathering to watch the floats, bands, classic cars and dignitaries go down Merced’s Main Street, spectators drove their own vehicles through the event with stationary attractions parked along the side of the road. There was also a live-stream of the event where people could experience it on social media.

The Merced County Human Services Agency and VSO are already planning the next parade, which will be in-person, dependent upon COVID-19 restrictions. Regardless of the format, Merced County will continue to honor its veterans.

Houlihan Park Remodel Makes Progress, 80 Percent Complete

Houlihan Park Amenities:

  • Splash pad
  • Lighted walking loop
  • Ten outdoor Gym exercise stations in five areas
  • New water-efficient irrigation system throughout the park
  • Playground improvements, with shade and drinking fountains
  • Renovated basketball court with lighting
  • Eight iron benches created by Le Grand High School students
  • Five new picnic shelters with 24 total graffiti-resistant tables
  • An additional 11 new graffiti-resistant picnic tables throughout the park
  • Outdoor performing arts stage with lighting

In the October edition of the Merced County Connection, the front-page story featured the groundbreaking of the Houlihan Park remodel in Planada.

Since that story ran, significant progress has been made on the park remodel, which is funded by a $2.4 million California Department of Parks and Recreation grant secured by Merced County.

The grant was highly competitive, as the State received 478 applications with 62 projects receiving funding. In total, $2,451,250 was awarded to Merced County through a Statewide Park Program Proposition 68 Grant.

In addition to the work being funded by the grant, Merced County recently upgraded the restrooms at Houlihan Park.

Construction began in August and is approximately 80 percent complete. The project is on-track to be finished by April 2022.

Merced County is also exploring grants and additional funding options for parks in other areas of the County.

District 1 Supervisor Rodrigo Espinoza, who represents the Planada area, said the rapid progress on Houlihan Park is exciting to see.

“I’m excited, and I know the residents in and around Planada are as well,” Espinoza said. “This is a community that loves its park, and they deserve one that they can enjoy for many years to come.”

Did You Know - Community Cleanups

Did you know that every year, the Public Works Department hosts multiple community cleanup events throughout Merced County? These events allow residents to dispose of tires, appliances, and other throwaway items for a greatly reduced fee—$1 for small cars, $2 for trucks, vans and station wagons, $3 for trailers less than 8 feet, and $4 for trailers longer than 8 feet. More details are available at

There are 13 community cleanups this year, all on Saturdays:

El Nido (Passed): January 22
County Library Parking Lot

Stevinson: January 29
SR 165 (¼ mile south of SR 140)

Delhi: February 12
Fourth St. and Gordon St.

Santa Nella: March 5
West Comet Rd. & Venus Circle

Snelling: March 12
Henderson Park

Winton: March 19
Santa Fe Drive and Winton Way

Hilmar: March 26
Community Center / Faulke St.

South Dos Palos: April 2
Reynolds Ave. & Shain Ave.

Le Grand: April 9
Santa Fe Dr. & Jefferson St.

Franklin/Beachwood: April 23
Santa Fe Dr. & Business Park Way

Dos Palos Y: October 1
Dos Palos Y Auction Yard

McSwain: October 22
Quinley Ave. (South of Moran Ave.)

Planada: November 5
Broadway (between Mills St. and Fremont St.)

Board to Restore Veterans Memorial

The Veterans Memorial at Courthouse Park lists the names of Merced County residents who made the ultimate sacrifice during pivotal moments in our history, including World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. One wall is also dedicated to those who died in World War I, but no names are listed since records only provide the state that service members came from.

Over the years, damage caused by graffiti and subsequent graffiti abatement has diminished the appearance of the memorial, particularly the names etched into the memorial walls.

In November, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to allocate $6,000 of District Two's Special Project Funds to restore the memorial, which serves as a solemn tribute to those who sacrificed themselves for our freedom. Restoration will begin soon.

Upcoming Meetings

Board of SupervisorsPlanning Commission
  • February 1, 2022
  • February 8, 2022
  • March 1, 2022
  • March 22, 2022
  • April 5, 2022
  • April 26, 2022

Regular Board of Supervisors meetings are held on scheduled Tuesdays at 10 a.m., unless otherwise specified. Meetings are held in the Board Chambers located in the County Administration Building at 2222 M Street, Third Floor, Merced, CA 95340.
  • February 9, 2022
  • February 23, 2022
  • March 9, 2022
  • March 23, 2022
  • April 13, 2022
  • April 27, 2022

Regular Planning Commission meetings are held on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month (with the exception of December) in the Board Chambers located in the County Administration Building at 2222 M Street, Third Floor, Merced, CA 95340.

Municipal Advisory Councils
  • Delhi MAC meetings:
    7 p.m. second Thursday of the month,
    16091 Locust St., Delhi
  • Franklin-Beachwood MAC meetings:
    6 p.m. fourth Wednesday of the month,
    Franklin Elementary on Franklin Road
  • Hilmar MAC meetings:
    6 p.m. fourth Monday of the month.
    20077 Falke St., Hilmar
  • Le Grand MAC meetings:
    7 p.m. first Monday of the month,
    13038 E. Jefferson St., Le Grand
  • McSwain MAC meetings:
    7 p.m. fourth Thursday of the month,
    926 N. Scott Road, Merced
  • Planada MAC meetings:
    6 p.m. first Wednesday of the month,
    9167 Stanford Ave., Planada
  • Snelling MAC meetings:
    6:30 p.m. second Wednesday of the month,
    Old Snelling Courthouse, SR 59, Snelling
  • Winton MAC meetings:
    7 p.m. third Tuesday of the month,
    7091 W. Walnut Ave., Winton

Printable Formatted PDF Newsletter (With Photos)
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