It was a completely packed house at the Merced Historic Theatre as more than one thousand people attended the third annual state of the city.
Merced Mayor Mike Murphy addressed three key topics that he wishes to tackle during his term as mayor. One being the homeless problem.
“Merced is always going to continue to have a large role in addressing homelessness” says Murphy. “We are the county seed and we will have an out sized role.”
According to mayor Murphy the city of Merced houses a large amount of homeless people from neighboring cities across the county and he wants the neighboring cities to step up and build shelters.
Along with fixing homelessness the mayor wants to focus on downtown revitalization by renovating old historic buildings and bringing them back to life.
“State investment that is coming in the form of UC Merced,” says Murphy. “But, also private sector investment to bring back to life these historic but blighted buildings that have been a disrepair for years.”
Steve Carrigan is the city manager for the city of Merced. He says the new projects are due to the UC Merced 2020 project. That 1.3 billion dollar investment was approved in 2016.
“We are seeing the ripple affect,” says Carrigan. “We are seeing hotels and a shopping center at mission and 99. Our housing is less than 1% vacancy.”
Carrigan says right now Merced has a one percent vacancy rate within the housing market. So, people are moving to Merced and staying in Merced.
“A net increase of 27 hundred people moved to Merced,” says Carrigan. “So, we went from 85 thousand people to almost 88 thousand.”