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Downtown: Mantecas No. 1 problem 52 years ago
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Some things never change.

That’s the observation reader Janice Zacharias made when she came across a Manteca Bulletin news clipping from Feb. 19. 1963 headlined, “Loss of downtown area called city’s No. 1 problem.”

It quotes observations then Bulletin publisher George Murphy made while talking about downtown before the Manteca Kiwanis luncheon meeting.

He criticized the recently adopted general plan and a downtown sketch plan as not being the answer to the problem. He said they had two major faults — “they are too rigid and they are too far into the future.”

Murphy noted rules about non-conforming buildings such as storage sheds were keeping merchants from tearing aging structures down and replacing them with new block buildings.

He said a city ordinance about downtown building rules “froze the town as it was at that time.” He said professional planning views were necessary but they shouldn’t be considered as a “planning bible.”

Murphy called “common sense, flexibility, and broad views” as the three best methods of planning.

Among his suggested solutions was for the city to obtain as much land as possible for parking lots and to allow businesses to build up to the property line.

Any of that sound familiar?