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City lobbying for federal help for events center

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POSTED January 12, 2009 12:14 a.m.
Congress — wrestling with hundreds of billions of dollars in bailout requests — is going to be lobbied to help with funding for the proposed Manteca Convention & Visitors Bureau Central Valley Regional Events Center.
The Manteca City Council unanimously supported the request by the CVB to lobby for the project with various regional Congressmen, Senators. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, as well as key federal bureaucrats during the One Voice trip this spring.
One Voice is a group of San Joaquin County public and private sector leaders who travel to Washington, D.C., once a year to lobby for federal funding. Among the local benefactors of the trip in the past have been design funds for the McKinley Avenue interchange on the Highway 120 Bypass and Give Every Child a Chance.
A fabric and steel structure — the same genre used at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View — could be utilized to fast track the Central Valley Regional Events Center Amphitheater.
The organization — which is under the auspices of the Manteca Convention & Visitors Bureau — has already secured eight acres from the consortium putting together the 1,050-acre Austin Road Business Park generally southwest of the Austin Road and Highway 99 interchange. It is part of a 40-acre parcel that will also be utilized as a storm retention basin. The $10 million center will have access to the storm retention basin as well for various events.
The Central Valley Amphitheater is proposed to have permanent seating for 5,000 plus lawn overflow. The final design will determine how many people can be served in the lawn portion.
By comparison, the famous Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View can accommodate up to 22,000 people in combined permanent and lawn seating while the Concord Pavilion has a combined capacity of 12,500 people.
The Marysville Amphitheater in the Sacramento Valley has 8,000 permanent seats plus room for 10,500 in the lawn area.
Stockton’s Weber Point Events Center has a small-scale fabric stage area but not permanent seating expect for several rows of concrete steps.
The regional events center that includes the 5,000-seat outdoor amphitheater is considered a perfect fit for a void in the lucrative Northern San Joaquin Valley market that boasts 1.4 million consumers between Stanislaus, San Joaquin and Merced counties.
That — coupled with a conference center large enough to accommodate 1,000 people as well as a cultural center and offices — is designed to help the region snare lucrative conferences as well as provide a central spot for major festivals and other gatherings.
Several hotel chains and other entertainment companies have expressed interest in locating nearby should the events center proceed.
The eight acres has access to the proposed new $110 million Austin Road interchange that is being relocated to the south along Highway 99.
The events center would also include a conference center large enough for 1,000 people. It could also be broken down into smaller components for weddings or smaller gatherings. The CVB also envisions a two-story office structure that would house the organization as well as provide rental income.
The CVB believes the events center will be a major regional draw because:
• It is equal distance (roughly 50 to 60 miles) from three extremely strong metro markets — San Francisco, San Jose, and Sacramento with Fresno just a bit farther to the south.
• The Highway 120 Bypass is the major east-west corridor from the Bay Area to the Sierra.
• Manteca is also sandwiched between two metro areas — Stockton and Modesto — and almost an equal distance from San Joaquin County’s fastest growing city, Tracy.
• The demographics within a 20-mile radius are extremely strong.
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