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Healy-Murphy bid discussed tonight

The Parks and Rec Board will take the first public look at the single bid for Healy-Murphy Park -- the under-resourced Eastside park that District 2 Councilwoman and mayoral candidate Sheila McNeil is trying to unload before she leaves office -- tonight, 5:30-7:30pm at the Lion's Field Adult & Senior Center, 2803 Broadway.

The public bidding window just closed last Friday, and as of 2:30pm, Parks and Rec Director Xavier Urrutia hadn't yet examined it in detail. Parks and Rec is charged with presenting the bid to the Quality of Life Committee, which meets the second Tuesday of the month.

And the lone bidder? None other than La Villita del Rio Development, the company on whose behalf City Hall lobbyist Walter Serna first inquired, setting the park's sale in motion.

As the MashUp noted last month, the citizens that appeared to discuss the issue at a mid-February public meeting were overwhelmingly opposed to the park's impending future as a hotel (or hotel parking lot). And the issue was one of a handful that drew applause at a March 16 debate for District 2 council candidates. Merced Housing staffer Ivy Taylor answered the question first with a firm pledge to stop the sale if she were elected. Only Dan Martinez opposed the opposition, with a proposal to lease it to the adjacent Salvation Army facility for $1/year. Which means if McNeil's going to deliver the parkland to her once and future donors, the deal probably needs to be done before she leaves office in May. Although citizens will have 60 days to gather 1,500 signatures to force a public vote on the sale if and when Council officially accepts the bid, surely her plan is to get it through City Hall asap, and hope that her opponents don't have the recources to mount a successful petition drive.

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