Merced County Times Newspaper
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Leaders, Planada activists celebrate renovated Houlihan Park


Merced County Supervisor Rodrigo Espinoza led a ribbon-cutting ceremony last Friday for the newly renovated Houlihan Park in Planada.

Adult residents applauded as dozens of young children jumped around the new playground to mark the special day that was more than a decade in the making, and involved multiple community groups, individual planners and local and state funding.

The $2.4 million remodel of the park was funded through a California Department of Parks and Recreation grant secured by Merced County.

Houlihan now features a new playground under a solid shade structure — the first of its kind for a park in Merced County, a splash pad, lighted walking pathways, renovated basketball courts, new bathrooms, picnic shelters, and an outdoor performance art stage, among many other things.

Those in attendance for the ceremony included members of the Houlihan family and descendants of William Houlihan who originally donated the park to the community of Planada; representatives from the offices of Congressman Jim Costa, State Senator Anna Caballero and State Assemblyman Adam Gray; Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke; Superintendent Jose Gonzalez of the Planada School District; CHP Captain Becky Burton; County Supervisor Lloyd Pareira; County CEO Raul Lomeli-Mendez; Patti Dossetti, the county worker who wrote the park grant; and members of the Cultiva La Salud, who worked tirelessly to move the project along; among dozens of other community members who helped the process.

The contractor was Stockbridge General Contractors and the architect was Tanaka Design Group.

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