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Long-Awaited SE Fresno Regional Park/Soccer Complex Is on the Way



Betty Villarreal and her three sons can't wait for a new soccer park in their southeast Fresno neighborhood. (GV Wire/David Taub)
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Residents in southeast Fresno have been waiting for a dedicated soccer park since 2006. Now their dream is taking shape.

Photo of GV Wire's David Taub

David Taub

Politics 101

Land donated by the federal government long ago from a former USDA experimental farm will finally be put to use for its intended purpose.

This summer, the Fresno City Council is set to vote on approving the first phase of the 49-acre regional park, $8.5 million for construction design. The money comes from federal pandemic relief funds. Future funds may come from Measure P dollars.

“We’re from southeast and nothing ever comes easy, right? We got to work hard and scrap and fight and argue. But at the end of the day, we come together and we work towards that goal of our community,” councilman Luis Chavez said at a community event on Tuesday.

” This project will ensure that Fresno families have a world-class park for decades to come.”


Jose Leon Barraza, left, and Fresno City Councilmember Luis Chavez (Facebook/Jose Leon Barraza)

The park is located on Peach Avenue, north of Church Avenue. There is no timetable for when construction may start or when the park may open.

City officials also announced a road-widening project in front of the park on Peach Avenue, expanding from two to four lanes between Florene and Hamilton avenues. The $5.8 million improvement — paid for with Measure C and developer fees — will start in the fall. Bike lanes and street lighting are included.

Betty Villarreal attended the park announcement with her three young sons dressed in soccer uniforms. It is hard for them to find a place to practice, especially after dark. Nearby Calwa Park is often crowded with other players.

“We don’t have parks with light, so that’s a plus,” she said of the yet-to-be-named soccer park.

Jose Leon Barraza, CEO of the Southeast Fresno Economic Development Association, has pushed for the park for many years.

Gracias, Mayor Dyer. Gracias, councilmember Luis Chavez, and all council members….. SE Fresno is moving forward!!” Barraza said in a Facebook post. “A dream came through.”

A rendering of the southeast Fresno soccer park. (GV Wire/David Taub)

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Beware of Michael Der Manouel Jr.

For years, Michael Der Manouel Jr. has offered a daily radio commentary on KMJ (580 AM, 105.9 FM). Last week, the station started running a 15-second declaimer before the segment.

“The following appearance is for entertainment purposes only. The opinions expressed do not reflect the opinions of Cumulus Media or any of its parent, affiliate, or subsidiary companies, promotional sponsors or advertising agency, as Cumulus expressly disclaims any and all liability related to the opinions expressed,” the disclaimer says.

Der Manouel says it is a new policy from KMJ’s owner, Cumulus, for non-staff contributors. KMJ offered no comment about the disclaimer.

Newsom Appoints Local to Prison Work Board

Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed Fresno labor leader Michael Lopez to the California Prison Industry Board. Lopez, 55 and a Democrat, serves on many local boards and commissions. He is president of the Fresno, Madera, Tulare, and Kings County Building Trades Council.

The 11-member board oversees operations of the industrial side for state prisoners.

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email