It looks like things may finally be looking up for O’Banion Park and Del Hale Hall in Dos Palos.

It was announced last week that Merced County has successfully secured an additional $2.7 million to be used toward upgrading the Dos Palos branch of the Merced County library.

This money will be added to the $3 million already secured in the state budget for the project.

The announcement follows a meeting that took place on Sept. 6 at Del Hale Hall, which has been supervised by the Dos Palos Lions Club since the 1990s.  Present at the meeting from Merced County were new Chief Executive Officer Raul Mendez, District 5 Supervisor Scott Silveira, and Dana Hertfelder, the county Director of Public Works.

Representing the Dos Palos community were Lions Club member Donald Vincent, city councilman Thom Pigg, school board member Jeremy O’Banion, and city manager Dewayne Jones.

Community members voiced their continued frustration over the dilapidation of both the hall and the park. The list of items that need to be addressed in the hall is endless, the basketball courts at the park are unplayable as is the softball diamonds.

So, what does this $5.7 million mean for the community?

First off, a new library.

The current library, located in the middle of town, was built in 1963 and has major structural and accessibility issues.  According to a Merced County press release, it will be replaced by a new 3,560 square foot library, which will be built adjacent to Del Hale Hall.  The county hopes to complete construction within two years. It will ultimately serve as a location for local residents to apply for jobs and benefits, access literacy programs, and learn.

Silveira pointed out that language was inserted in the original $3 million allocation that will allow for the funding to also be used for renovating Del Hale.

“This is a major win for the residents in and around Dos Palos, and they certainly deserve it,” Silveira said in the press release.  “I would like to thank California State Librarian Greg Lucas for this grant opportunity, as well as Senator Anna Caballero, whose budget allocation will now be used toward renovating Del Hale Hall, which is another critically important facility.”

The renovation of Del Hale and replacement of the library are part of a larger project that also includes the future renovations to O’Banion Park.  Silveira said that the county is currently exploring options to fund the park renovations. 

David Borboa