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Community center will serve as VFW post home
The new site for the Moffat Community Center is near Manteca High. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

The biggest obstacle to building the Manteca Community Center and providing a home for the Jimmie Connors Veterans of Foreign Wars Post has been cleared.

State officials have indicated it is OK to build the center there as the land isn’t part of the asset inventory that the city’s successor agency to the redevelopment agency has to sell and send the proceeds to Sacramento. The parcel along the Tidewater between a park/storm retention basin and a municipal water treatment plant near Manteca High is definitely city property and not RDA  land that has to be liquidated based on the state level ruling.

Because of that City Manager Karen McLaughlin said the chances are “excellent” the community center will be built.

The city switched to the new site after the proposed location at Moffat and Industrial Park Drive came in at $2 million due to the type of construction being pursued and the need for extensive site improvements. Originally the city had planned to spend only $1 million.

The new site — unlike the previous one — already has storm drains, sidewalks, curbs, and gutters in place along with being a matter of connecting to power, water, and sewer lines. The site is also deeper.

Those existing improvements in themselves will save hundreds of thousands of dollars off the cost and could get the project below $800,000. The funding sources are bonus bucks collected for sewer allocation certainty from new home builders.

Besides having adequate space for off-street parking, there is also on-street parking available which would not be the case at the original site.

The 3,000-square-foot building could employ cutting edge Gen 7 “net zero” technology that American Modular uses to build structures that essentially do not require the purchase of electricity to operate most of the time. It is accomplished through roof-mounted solar panels and passive design features.

The council on Tuesday approved a new lease with the Jimmie Connors VFW Post due to the site location change. The lease notes the structure will be a public building. It will be available for rent by the public when it is not being used for its primary purpose of serving veterans groups and veterans events.

The lease is for $1 a year for 20 years. There are two 10-pyear options for renewal. The VFW will have first right of refusal to purchase the building and property if the city should decide at the end of the lease to sell.

The VFW will be responsible for all insurance, utilities, maintenance and operations connected with the building and the site as a whole.

It will mark the first time the VFW Post has had its own building to serve as its home. The VFW current shares space with the American Legion at that organization’s building next to PG&E in the 200 block of East Yosemite Avenue.