The City of Modesto has received a multi-million dollar grant to completely revamp a park that has been previously plagued with violence and vandalism.

The City had been awarded a grant for $8.5 million to renovate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park located at 601 S. Martin Luther King Drive.

The State of California’s Department of Parks and Recreation awarded the City of Modesto the grant as part of a competitive grant program that focuses on creating new parks and new recreation opportunities in critically underserved communities across California. Funding for the grant program is part of the state’s Proposition 68, also known as the California Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Costal Protection, and Outdoor Access for All Act of 2018, that passed by voters in June 2018.

Proposed park renovations include:

  • Construction of a new splash pad
  • Outdoor basketball court
  • Lighted baseball/softball field
  • Game tables
  • Parking lots
  • Lighted soccer field
  • New walking paths (approximately 1,700 linear feet) with five outdoor fitness stations
  • Event stage area with plaza
  • Restrooms
  • Lighting and security cameras throughout the park.

Additionally, the park renovations include a new indoor gymnasium that will be added to the existing King-Kennedy Memorial Center as well as renovations and upgrades to landscaping and irrigation throughout the park.

“I am so proud of our talented and dedicated parks planning staff who worked hard to submit a winning grant application,” stated Laurie Smith, Director of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhoods. “With these funds, the City will be able to provide added recreational value to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park and deliver first-class recreational amenities to residents for years to come.”

A lot of background work will need to be finalized before residents start to see construction equipment onsite. The City expects to have a grant contract finalized with the state by spring 2022, which means that preliminary design would start in early 2023 followed by an estimated completion date in fall 2024.

This is the second grant received through Proposition 68 for this area, now totaling $17M in improvements.