Merced County Times Newspaper
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Merced neighbors share good times on San Lorenzo Way

Merced neighbors share good times on San Lorenzo Way
Merced neighbors share good times on San Lorenzo Way

We often read stories about crime and blight in our neighborhoods, but perhaps not so much about the good living that is going on.

Yes, there are residential streets all over town where homeowners and their families live relatively well, enjoy the company of neighbors, and look after each other to a certain extent for the common good.

Think of it as Mercedians enjoying a little piece of the American dream, if you will.

Take the San Lorenzo Way neighborhood for example. It’s across the street from the northern edge of Fahrens Park where there are bike and pedestrian trails, and a disc golf course.

Last Saturday, Maria and Juan Carbajal hosted a wonderful brunch on their front lawn for all the neighbors to enjoy. A dozen or so residents showed up and everyone started up conversations right away. There was berries and yogurt, biscuits and gravy, egg rolls and bagels, coffee and juice, among other scrumptious treats.

Most of the residents are retired and they had interesting stories to tell. There was a retired flight attendant, a retired UC professor, and a retired city worker, among others.

Maria Carbajal said her family moved to the neighborhood in 2001, and it’s been a great experience. She loves the area, and her neighbors. In fact, she’s been the driving force for many of the neighborhood events in recent years.

They have some kind of block party about every six months, Carbajal says. They have had Mexican-themed events, Margarita nights, and Ice Cream Socials.

This last time, for the Saturday brunch, neighbor Lee Pevsner thought it would be a good idea to invite the Mayor of Merced, Matt Serratto, and the district representative, City Councilman Delray Shelton, to the event so they could meet with constituents.

And guess what … They showed up.

“I thought this would be a good model for other neighborhoods to follow,” Pevsner told a Times reporter, who he also invited to the event. “It’s nice to see people getting together with their elected representatives.”

The city leaders made short talk about their daily lives, and they also listened to the residents’ interests and concerns.

Maria Carbajal said she likes her block because the neighbors generally look after one another — like if someone leaves their garage door open overnight or for a long time unattended, another homeowner will let them know. They all know when an unfamiliar vehicle is parked in the neighborhood.

San Lorenzo Way sounds great, but they have their problems just like other neighborhoods. They’re not immune to things problems that are shared in other parts of the city.

Specifically, there’s a small parking lot that was put in across the street at Fahrens Park. When parked, the cars face the neighborhood.

Residents say nothing good happens after dark in the parking lot. They often see cars there and inappropriate behavior after hours. They say sometimes the parking lot is used for drug, sex and criminal activity that can spill into their neighborhood streets. Pevsner says he calls the police when he sees things like this at night. Other neighbors wish the situation would improve, even if it takes removing the lot.

Nevertheless, the neighbors don’t dwell on the negative. There’s plenty of good things to be shared. And they’re already planning a future block soiree.

That’s how they approach living in Merced.

Call it the San Lorenzo Way.

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