Two topics of high interest in Merced are subject of community meetings next week — soccer, and Laura Fountain, according to a news release.

Soccer draws a great deal of attention because it is a fast growing sport in the country, and the demand has placing a need for more fields in Merced. There is a 38 acre site in South Merced located at Tyler and Mission Avenues that the City purchased in 2007. Originally intended for a joint-use soccer/sports complex with the Merced Union High School District, those plans changed when the district built El Capitan High School in North Merced.

The meeting is seeking the public’s ideas on what to do with the site, and how to add more soccer fields for the growing numbers of soccer players. The meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. Mon. Jan. 13 in the Sam Pipes Room in the Merced Civic Center (City Hall), 678 W. 18th St.

Laura Fountain is the historic fountain located in Applegate Park along M Street. It had originally been located in Downtown Merced, where the cooling sprays from the fountain greeting passengers getting off the trains when erected in 1888. It was moved to the park in 1935. The fountain is prone to leaks due its age and the unstable ground below it.

Residents are being asked for ideas on how to preserve the historic landmark. The community meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. Thurs. Jan. 16 in the Sam Pipes Room, Merced Civic Center, (City Hall), 678 W. 18th St.