This marked the first summer that Manteca Parks & Recreation has had to turn away youth that wanted to take swimming lessons.
It happened just eight months after the Manteca City Council accepted the city’s first ever Parks & Recreation master plan that determined Manteca — based on its current population of 76,000 residents — is already 1.03 swimming pools short.
Manteca Parks & Recreation besides providing swimming lessons and open swim at the 60-year-old plus municipal pool at Lincoln Park also utilizes the Manteca High swimming pool for lessons as well as open lap swimming. The city uses the Sierra High swimming pool for the Manteca Dolphins recreation swim team. Last year, they also employed East Union High’s swimming pool as part of the summer camp program.
Community surveys that were conducted showed there was good-size support for additional swimming pools among Manteca residents. It was at the top of the list based on 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 was completed earlier this year at the Civic Center — as well as tennis courts, a gymnasium, a community center, sports complex, and baseball field.
The swimming pool is the biggest item among $75 million plus worth of recreational projects the plan calls for in the next 20 years when it comes to cost to build as well as to maintain.
Not only did the consultant determine the city is already a swimming pool short, but the existing pool at Lincoln Park is in of replacement at $4.5 million that would be more effective than simply trying to upgrade the existing footprint that is in place for $2 million. By 2036 the city would need two more swimming pools prompting the recommendation that two be built at the same location as an aquatics center.
If the city opted for an aquatics center, the cost was placed at $11.6 million.
After the December council meeting, Councilman Gary Singh was among those that wanted further discussions to make sure the swimming pool solutions suggested were right for what most of the community wanted and needed. He indicated that he would like to see the city weigh the pros and cons of having smaller swimming pools spread throughout Manteca in various neighborhoods that youth and families could easily access as opposed to a centrally located aquatics center.
Several council members also wanted to explore the feasibility of joining forces with Manteca Unified at some point if an aquatics center was pursued given aquatics on the school calendar and city recreation programs for the most part don’t overlap.
Council members also have cautioned just because an item is on the master plan 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.
Aquatic centers are much more intense developments than simple municipal swimming pools. The City of Roseville Aquatics Complex, as an example, has an Olympic-size competition pool, a zero-depth recreation pool with beach entry, a 150-foot water slide, and a children’s interactive water play area. Roseville also has an 8-lane indoor swimming pool at a differnet location. Under the same roof is a 1,500-squarew-foot warm water pool with depths up to five feet.
Before a project gets serious effort from municipal staff to move forward in any form — even if it to do more specific planning — it needs to be placed on the capital improvement project (CIP) list by the City Council. And being on the list doesn’t mean it will get built in a timely manner or at all unless it has a stepped up priority that usually means having money identified over multiple budget years to fund any work.
Even if a swimming pool project of some form was placed on the CIP list in the 2018-2019 fiscal year the cost alone would push the project out for a number of years.
That said, whenever the project is placed on the CIP list by the council will have to determine what that would entail — an aquatics center, replacing Lincoln Pool, both, or some other option such as multiple smaller neighborhood pools.
It is that discussion that has to take place in order to move any swimming pool or aquatics project forward.
If all goes according to plan, new housing that will add 44,000 residents by 2036 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 to cover the balance of the tab? State law prohibits cities from requiring growth pay more than their proportionate share of city facilities such as new police stations, major roads, interchanges, and recreation improvements.