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Joe Herb Park

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Joe Herb Park[edit]

Joe Herb Park is a community park located in the city of Merced, California. The park, named after local recreation advocate Joe Herb, covers an area of 26.74 acres and is located at 2200 Yosemite Parkway.


Newspaper Article on Joe Herb Park

The city of Merced acquired a 7-acre plot of land near Highway 140 and Parsons Avenue in 1962, marking the beginnings of what would eventually become Joe Herb Park. Initial development on this plot saw the addition of trees, a restroom, and play equipment. Six years later, in 1968, the Kiwanis Club erected a picnic shelter.

The park's development remained relatively stagnant until 1981, largely due to the city's growth shifting direction towards the north. However, a growing population and increased recreational needs led to the decision to further develop the park in the early 1980s.

Between 1963 and 1985, several phases of renovation and expansion took place. These developments included the addition of 10 more acres, a softball diamond, and the beginnings of two more softball fields and a soccer field. These additions were made with the intent to foster community recreation and support local softball and soccer needs. The park's softball complex, which cost approximately $350,000, is notable for its central elevated scoreboard that serves all three fields, electronic scoreboards for each field, and built-in refreshment booths.


The park offers a wide range of amenities to cater to the recreational needs of the community. These include a softball field, soccer field, playground, picnic shelter, BBQ grill, drinking fountain, restrooms, and horseshoe pits. There are also provisions for seating around the softball field, with a combination of concrete "bleachers" and grassy slopes for spectators.

"Father of Recreation in Merced"

The park's final plans include the addition of more parking, turf, trees, and picnic shelters. Other considerations include the potential for tennis courts, although these plans are yet to be finalized as of the last update.

Legacy of Joe Herb[edit]

Joe Herb, the park's namesake, has been a significant figure in the development of recreation in Merced. Having moved to Merced in 1928, Herb dedicated over 35 years of volunteer service to the city and county, championing recreational sites and programs. His efforts contributed significantly to the formation of the city's Recreation and Parks Department, and his continuous involvement in local recreational activities earned him the moniker of the "Father of Recreation in Merced."

Recognizing his contributions to the city, the park was named in Herb's honor in 1985, cementing his legacy as a pivotal figure in the development of recreational facilities in Merced.


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