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Manteca may take blight fight directly to neighborhoods

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POSTED April 22, 2010 2:44 a.m.
Manteca’s next big redevelopment agency project could mirror Stockton’s Strong Neighborhood Initiative.

The $116 million RDA undertaking is allowing Stockton to build three major community centers, repair 48 miles of streets, upgrade 17 parks, construct nine new park restroom buildings, install 2.5 miles of curbs and gutters, install 2.3 miles of sidewalk, renovate a fire station, upgrade or replace 180 street lights standards, and pay for the installation of 44 security cameras in established neighborhoods.

Other improvements include beautification projects and the construction of 427 low to moderate income apartments.

Manteca is now pondering creating a third RDA project area that would encompass 11 neighborhoods hard hit by foreclosures where property values have dropped by 22 percent compared to 14.9 percent citywide.

The Manteca City Council Tuesday night sitting as the redevelopment agency instructed the Manteca Planning Commission to determine if the neighborhoods should be included within the boundaries of an RDA project area.

City Manager Steve Pinkerton noted that while it is too early in the process to start thinking about specific projects, he did indicate what municipal leaders have in mind is an undertaking similar to Stockton where RDA revenue from three neighborhoods that created project areas was funneled right back into the specific community.

The undertaking has created three community centers ranging from 21,000 to 34,847 square feet, repaired deteriorating roads and parks, and put in high tech security cameras that have been helping police effectively fight crime.  Projects areas also have funding set aside for community commercial projects within the specific boundaries.

The housing portion, though, isn’t restricted to the project area but is being built throughout the city as allowed under state law. Twenty percent of all RDA funds are required by law to go to affordable housing undertaking.

Stockton, like Manteca, has high profile redevelopment projects - the Stockton Arena, Lexington Plaza Waterfront Hotel, and City Centre among others. The Strong Neighborhoods Initiative was designed for three expanded RDA areas that were mostly residential in nature.

Manteca typically gets only 10 cents of every dollar in property tax collected on property not included in an RDA project and 80 cents on the dollar from those that are within the boundaries of an RDA area. That 80 cents includes both RDA tax increment and general fund revenue.

Manteca, depending upon when various homes and other improvements were made, only gets between 6 and 11 percent of every property tax dollar that is collected in a non-RDA area.

Based on preliminary projections, if all 11 neighborhoods are shifted to be included in the RDA boundaries the general fund will be shorted $50,000 by the fifth year and $100,000 annually by the 10th year.

By comparison the RDA after five years would capture $500,000 in property taxes annually from the 11 areas being considered for inclusion in the project area. By the 10th year the annual flow into the RDA coffers would reach $1 million.

It would end up keeping $900,000 more tax dollars in Manteca and not going to Sacramento each year.

The areas being studied for possible inclusion in RDA
Redevelopment agencies are allowed under state law established in the 1950s to fight blight and spur economic development.
The general definitions of the areas being studied are as follows:

•The neighborhoods southeast of the Highway 120 Bypass and Airport Way interchange.

•The Heritage Ranch neighborhood to the east and south of Joshua Cowell School where Manteca’s biggest tract homes – the 4,400-square-foot McMansions – were built.

•Most of the Union Road corridor between the Highway 120 Bypass and Marion Street.

•The neighborhood southeast of the Union Road and Union Pacific Railroad crossing where the Cherry Lane condos as well as patio homes are located.

•Neighborhoods bounded on the west by the railroad tracks, on the south by Alameda Street, on the north of Louise Avenue, and the east of Main Street including Mayors Park as well as portions of the neighborhoods immediately north of Louise Avenue between the railroad tracks and Main Street.

•The neighborhood bounded on the west by the Tidewater Bikeway, on the north by Lathrop Road, the east by Main Street, and the south by Joseph Road.

•Springtime Estates northwest of Louise Avenue and Highway 99,

•The neighborhood bounded by Main Street, Yosemite Avenue, Lincoln School, and Moffat Boulevard.

•The neighborhood behind Doctors Hospital bounded by Cottage Avenue, Highway 99, and North Street.

•The area northeast of the Highway 120 Bypass and Highway 99 interchange that is within the Manteca city limits and consists primarily of homes that were once small rural parcels that have experienced a high number of foreclosures.

There are other neighborhoods with extensive foreclosures but they are already within the established RDA project area boundaries.
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