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Ripon grows by 129 residents to 14,606 population

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POSTED May 2, 2013 2:07 a.m.

Ripon added 129 residents during 2012 to make it the third fastest growing city in San Joaquin County.

The California Department of Finance issued population estimates on Wednesday that pegs Ripon’s population at 14,606 as of Jan. 1, 2013. That’s up 129 residents from 14,477 on Jan. 1, 2012

At the same time, Manteca added 1,628 residents during 2012 to bump Turlock to become the fifth largest city in the Northern San Joaquin Valley with 71,164 residents. Turlock now stands at 69,888. The cities larger than Manteca in the region are Stockton, 296,344; Modesto, 205,987; Tracy, 84,060; and Merced, 80,599

The 2.3 percent gain made Manteca the 13th fastest growing city out of 482 municipalities in California. Manteca was the fastest growing city in San Joaquin for the fourth straight year. In the Northern San Joaquin Valley region - San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Merced counties - Manteca was eclipsed only by Hughson that grew 2.8 percent to 6,979.

The entire population gain for Manteca of 1,628 residents surpassed the combined 1,444 residents added to Lathrop, Tracy, Escalon, and Ripon during 2012.

“It shows that Manteca is doing a lot of things right as people want to move here,” City Manager Karen McLaughlin.

She also noted that growth has allowed the city to pay for amenities such as the north Manteca fire station on Union Road and the downtown transit station that are now under construction.

McLaughlin said Manteca’s appeal was underscored during a four year period that ended in 2012 when the city built more new homes than all of three cities in San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties combined.

McLaughlin said building activity is expected to pick up this year in new home developments south of the 120 Bypass.

“Our community development staff hasn’t really slowed down,” McLaughlin said. “Developers in the past few years have had difficulty securing financing but they used the time to move plans forward (so when the economy improves) they can be ready.”

McLaughlin indicated Manteca’s growing population based on demographics is catching the attention of retailers. That is why there are three more outlet stories moving forward with plans to open by Black Friday at the Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley and another three mulling 2014 openings.

“Retailers want to locate where the consumer base is growing,” McLaughlin said.

Mayor Willie Weatherford said the city has worked throughout the Great Recession to position itself for the next economic urge while other area municipalities were retrenching. Included were plans for the Austin Road Business Park and CenterPoint Business Park. The end result is Manteca is now starting to attract employers including two firms that plan to generate 120 jobs during  the next year with commercial dry cleaning and producing ecological friendly packaging materials.

“We’ve worked to take advantage of our location,” Weatherford noted.

When the mayor moved to Manteca in 1966 as a police officer there were roughly 10,000 residents. Today, as mayor, Manteca has seven times as many people.

California’s population grew by almost 300,000 last year to nearly 38 million people, with the San Francisco Bay Area leading the growth,.

Four of the five fastest-growing counties and several of the state’s fastest-growing cities are in the Bay Area, according to the annual report.

Santa Clarita in Los Angeles County was the fastest-growing city last year after annexing several other communities. It was followed by Dublin in Alameda County, Lake Elsinore in Riverside County, Imperial in Imperial County and Indio in Riverside County.

The fastest-growing counties were Santa Clara, Alameda, Yuba, San Mateo and San Francisco.

Los Angeles remains the state’s largest city, with a population of nearly 3.9 million, followed by San Diego, with 1.3 million, and San Jose, now at more than 984,000.

California’s total population was more than 37.9 million.

The state has forecast that Hispanics will equal the number of whites in California by the middle of this year and surpass them in early 2014. Whites and Hispanics each represent about 39 percent of the state’s population.

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