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Former ag building next to be demolished

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Manteca firefighters earlier this month responded to the fourth arson fire at the ag commissioner’s satellite office on Moffat Boulevard that is now targeted for demolition in the coming weeks.

GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

POSTED October 22, 2012 12:02 a.m.

An arsonist has become the motivating factor in demolishing vacant buildings along the Moffat Boulevard corridor.

Two buildings have been torn down since a firebug surfaced two years ago along the street that runs from central Manteca to the city limits at Austin Road and Highway 99. In each instance, arson fires partially damaged the vacant buildings. A third building — the old San Joaquin County Ag Commission’s satellite office —is targeted for demolition sometime within the next two weeks.

The decision to tear it down was made prior to the fourth fire hitting the structure that occurred earlier this month. All of the fires have taken place in the 200 and 300 blocks of Moffat.

The loss of the buildings has sent homeless who have used them as de facto shelters to other parts of Manteca. At least several homeless were living in the former agricultural commissioners’ office when it caught fire several weeks ago.

The city tore down two other buildings earlier this year — the old Union Ice Co. and the steel building that the city leased for years to Fran’s Upholstery — to make room for the $6.2 million transit center now under construction at Moffat and South Main Street.

The city in the past eight years has spent almost $2 million cleaning up public infrastructure along Moffat. That includes storm drains, adding sidewalks, curbs and gutters where they were missing, repaving the street, adding a storm retention basin and mini park, plus planting trees along the Tidewater Bikeway to create a natural screen to separate the railroad tracks from the bike path.

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