By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
$75M: Costly recreation wishes
Existing residents on hook for $25.7M of overall tab
POOL LAST WEEKEND2 8-22-16 copy
The parks plan calls for replacing Lincoln Pool for $4.5 million. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

The wish list for Manteca recreation facilities over the next 20 years will cost at least $75 million.
If all goes according to plan, new housing that will add 44,000 residents by 2035 to push the city’s population to 120,000 will cover $52.1 million of the tab. The $25.7 million question is where will the rest of the money come from to cover the balance of the tab. Then there is the unanswered question posed by Mayor Steve DeBrum: How much will it all cost to maintain and how will the city cover the tab?
The mayor also cautioned people to keep in mind that the real cost could easily be $150 million or more to complete the wish list as construction costs rise in the coming years. That assumes the city addresses projects on a pay as you go basis instead of incurring interest costs by borrowing.
State law is clear that growth can only be charged for the needs they create. That means existing residents to the tune of almost $12,000 a household would have to be tapped in some manner to cover the $25.7 million funding gap. And that would not include ongoing maintenance costs.
About the only questions answered for sure Tuesday when the Manteca City Council approved its first ever Parks and Recreation Master Plan was how much the fee on new housing would be and what projects the money collected could legally be spent on. The community park fee for new housing was established at $3,740 for a single family dwelling and $2,612 for every housing unit in multiple-family structures such as apartment complexes or duplexes.
But as council members noted, just because an item is on the list doesn’t mean it will be built. The document is designed to serve as a general framework to guide the city over the next two decades and to be used as a starting point for more detailed endeavors such as possibly building an aquatics center that at $11.6 million in today’s dollars is the single most expensive component of the plan.
DeBrum alluded to one possible way to make recreation projects more affordable for taxpayers to build and maintain — working with the Manteca Unified School District.
The mayor noted there has been an exploratory discussion with Manteca Unified Superintendent Jason Messer about the possibility of a joint project to renovate and expand the performing arts center at the Manteca High campus in the heart of the city. Joint use of such a facility would avoid duplicity.
There are other potential joint use recreational facilities. One example is new swimming pools. Schools use them at completely different times of the year than the city does. If the city and school district were to team up on the $11.6 million aquatics center possibly at the proposed site of the fourth comprehensive high school within the city limits planned for Tinnin Road, it would reduce the cost to local taxpayers by not building duplicate facilities where one would sit idle while the other was in use.
The consultant contends not only is the city already a swimming pool short, but the existing pool at Lincoln Park that was built 60 years ago is in need of replacement at $4.5 million. And by 2035 the city would need two more swimming pools prompting the recommendation that two be built at the same location as an aquatics center.
The $4.5 million cost to make the Lincoln Pool more viable is part of $15.7 million in needed renovations identified for existing recreation facilities.
“I thought the pool (at Lincoln Park) was old in 1986 when I moved here,” said Councilwoman Debby Moorhead. “Manteca has a lot of needs. At the same time we need to get the money from somewhere.”
Additional swimming pools were rated as the top need by the consultant based on surveys of facilities, generally accepted standards, and input from residents and sports organizations. Right behind it was a teen center, more trails, and lighted sports fields. Rated in the third highest group of pressing needs was a dog park — which is nearing completion at the Civic Center — as well as tennis courts, a gymnasium, a community center, sports complex, and baseball field.
More arts and crafts classes were identified as the top need for recreational programs followed by more activities and programs for seniors as well as teens, theater/performing arts, and expanded library hours.
By adopting the report the City Council supports the consultant’s findings the city is currently short three soccer fields, 1.03 swimming pools, 0.4 tennis courts, and 2.35 indoor youth basketball courts.
Based on the current inventory of existing municipal recreation facilities, by 2035  Manteca will be short 3.9 softball fields, 11.2 baseball fields, 15.8 soccer fields, 2.02 swimming pools, 4.2 tennis courts, 4.15 indoor youth basketball courts, and 0.6 indoor adult basketball courts. The future facility needs includes school facilities currently available for city use.
The $75 million tab in today’s dollars includes $15.7 million to upgrade existing facilities including $1 million for senior center renovations and a modest expansion, $11.6 million for an aquatics center, $7.1 million for a gym, $24.6 million for special use parks such as soccer and baseball as well as $15.7 million for community parks.
By the time neighborhood parks that the developers are required to put in place are factored in, a typical new home buyer on Manteca will have the equivalent of $7,164 in park fees collapsed into the price of a home. That is slightly higher than Lodi at $7,103 and almost the same as Lathrop at $7,188. It is lower than Tracy at $7,557, Patterson at $7,805, and Ripon at $13,842.
The Manteca fee is higher than Modesto at $5,410, Stockton at $3,039, and Turlock at $2,984.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email