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$2M for projects in entertainment zone

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POSTED March 16, 2014 11:47 p.m.

Manteca has $2 million to serve as seed money to start the community park at the heart of the proposed 187-acre family entertainment zone.

The Manteca City Council on Tuesday will consider adding it to the current fiscal year capital improvement project list thanks to the state giving its OK for the city to go ahead and use $43.6 million in leftover bond proceeds from the defunct redevelopment agency.

The RDA had earmarked $2 million for community parks.

City Manager Karen McLaughlin said it has yet to be determined what the money will be put toward.

One possibility is to help pay for up to nine more youth soccer fields and two baseball fields to the west of the Big League Dreams sports complex as part of the first phase development of the family entertainment zone also known as the FEZ.

The sports fields as well as the 30-acre Great Wolf Resort are part of the first phase of the 187-acre FEZ being pursued on city owned land bordered by Costco and BLD on the east, the wastewater treatment plant on the north, McKinley Avenue on the west and the 120 Bypass on the south.

The City Council in December hired Sacramento-based De Novo Planning Group for $183,482 to conduct an environment impact report for the FEZ master plan including specific development in the first phase.

Manteca is currently in negotiations with Colorado-based McWhinney Development to build a 500-room resort hotel encompassing 290,000 square feet, an 85,000-square-foot indoor water park, 20,000-square-foot conference center and public parking on 30 acres immediately west of Costco.

A future expansion is envisioned that would add 200 more rooms as well as a 76,000-square-foot addition to the water park and double the size of the conference center.

The first part of the Great Wolf project represents a $139 million investment. Great Wolf projects a $9.4 million annual payroll with 414 permanent jobs and 156 part-time jobs. They also expect 400,000 annual visitors.

The EIR is expected to go to public hearings by July. A final decision on whether Great Wolf will move forward is expected prior to November.

The city is also pondering constructing  two baseball fields and a multi-purpose turf playfield complex. The conceptual plan has it accommodating three international soccer fields and two Under 12 size fields along one Under 8 field. The international soccer fields could be divided into two U-12 fields each creating 8 Under 12 fields plus the one Under 8 field. Facilities for restrooms, maintenance, storage, and administrative offices may also be built.

The council meets at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.

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