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Smyrna Park to benefit from $2.9m grant
Smyrna Park grant
Smyrna Park will benefit from a $2.9 million grant which has been bestowed on the city by the state.

Improvements to the heavily-used Smyrna Park will be made possible by a $2,872,661 state grant issued by the city of Ceres combined with matching local funds of $410,380.

The city won a grant in March through the competitive Clean California Local Grant Program (CCLGP) administered by Caltrans.

Smyrna Park was determined to be in the highest need of all Ceres parks based on a number of factors, including greatest community use, aging facilities, the high volume of vandalism and graffiti, security concerns and increase maintenance cost.

City Engineer Kevin Waugh said many of the park’s features cannot be used because of safety or maintenance issues, including softball fields, playground, horseshoe pits, volleyball courts, covered picnic areas, and open grass fields.

The park doesn’t have enough pathways and covered picnic areas.

“We have too few community gathering sites,” said Waugh. “We have aging park amenities. We have traffic and parking issues. Our walking paths need repair and potentially relocation to higher demand areas or picnic areas. The litter and waste is overflowing. There’s a tremendous amount of graffiti and we have inadequate security controls on the vehicles that are accessing the park itself and ruining our fields.”

He showed pictures highlighting the problems in the park, including graffiti and vandalism, aging canopies and inadequate parking areas and “ill planned pedestrian flow pathways” as well as deteriorated paths.

Improvements will include:

• A new parking lot;

•  New walking paths and architectural fencing;

• A new plaza for coverage and shading;

• New shade structures with picnic areas;

• New vehicle maintenance paths;

• New trash enclosures;

• Planting of drought tolerant landscaping;

• Art displays from local students.

• Repainting restrooms.

The design will be presented to the council in January or February of 2023 and start work in summer of 2023 to be completed by 2024.