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Sam Ryno Park improvements celebrated
Sam Ryno (center) is presented a Proclamation from Congressman Jeff Denham through representative Teresa Kinney as Ceres City Manager Toby Wells looks on during last weeks ribbon cutting event opening up new improvements at Sam Ryno Park. The park is located in southwest Ceres. - photo by JEFF BENZIGER/Courier photo

Sam Ryno Park on Ceres' southwest side now sports an attractive picnic pavilion with barbecue pits, modern children's play area, and a half basketball court. A group of city officials and community members turned out Tuesday, May 12 to dedicate the facility during a Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting.

Since approval late last year, the city made improvements worth $570,000 to the 5.19-acre site at Brown Avenue and Stone Springs Drive on Ceres' west side. Rolfe Construction did the work for the city.

The park features a children's playground equipment for those aged 2 to 5, and also 5 to 12, a half basketball court, picnic area with barbecue pits and pedestrian sidewalks. Also added were concrete picnic tables, bike racks, drinking fountains, a kids cabin, swings, covered pavilion, concrete seat walls, sod, trees, irrigation system, fencing and security lighting.

The city received financial help for about half of the project through a $250,000 Land & Water Conservation grant administered through the U.S. Department of Interior.

Approximately 8,000 square feet of concrete flat work went into the project as well as 590 square feet of concrete curbing.

The city decided to honor Sam Ryno, the officer who was seriously wounded in the Jan. 9, 2005 shooting in front of George's Liquors which took the life of Sgt. Howard Stevenson, by naming a park after him. Ryno, a 24-year veteran of the Ceres Police Department, was made a sergeant after the shooting but retired after the shooting.

"I'm very proud they saw me worthy to put my name on this park," said former Ceres Police Sgt. Sam Ryno and husband of Linda Ryno, a member of the Ceres City Council. "It's a great looking park. This kind of equipment didn't exist when I was a kid. It has a great pathway around the park to ride a bicycle or walk or run. And I'm kind of envious of the barbecue."

The city is also making plans to develop the 10-acre Ceres Lions Club Park - which had been tentatively named River Ranch Park - at a later date on River Road. The Ceres Lions Club has agreed to share in the development of the park including outdoor basketball courts and barbecue pits.

Improvements are being made to the Ceres River Bluff Regional Park on Hatch Road to expand the soccer fields.