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Public access to waterslides?
Possibility with new resort player; the $39K canopy
Mayor Steve DeBrum wants security issues at the Manteca Transit Center addressed at Thursdays council workshop. - photo by HIME ROMERO/Bulletin file photo

The mystery suitor that wants to partner with McWhinney Development should their dalliance with Great Wolf Resorts wither may make a segment of critics to the proposed resort hotel-indoor/outdoor waterpark-conference center happy.

McWhinney’s Chief Investment Officer Dave Johnstone told the Manteca City Council Tuesday night that the new entity they are negotiating with to operate the 500-room hotel complex is interested in making the waterpark accessible to the public. The most vocal opposition has centered on the Great Wolf business plan that makes its waterparks exclusively for use of hotel guests save for “special” occasions.

While Johnstone didn’t elaborate whether that involved just the outdoor waterpark or both, it effectively eliminates what has appeared to be the biggest drawback for some residents who want to see a return to the Manteca Waterslides days and aren’t too happy they couldn’t use a waterpark being built on public land without booking a room.

Johnstone also gave a hint that whatever firm they are negotiating with may view the project a tad differently than Great Wolf noting they are focusing a bit more on the conference center portion. Given the underlying foundation of Bass Pro Shops’ success as well as Big League Dreams and distribution centers galore that have flocked to the Manteca-Tracy-Lathrop area due to it being at the center of three major markets within an hour drive — Sacramento, San Jose, and San Francisco — Manteca does have legs as a meeting place central to more than 18 million people within a two hour drive.

It would also explain why the new suitor needs to work with 67 acres instead of the 30 acres that Great Wolf needed for a 500-room, 75,000-square-foot indoor water park, 15,000-square-foot outdoor water park, and 30,000-square-foot conference center. Whatever occurs the first phase has all of the critical environmental approval to build the capacity that Great Wolf wanted.

The council agreed Tuesday to let McWhinney negotiate with a new suitor using 67 acres of city owned land instead of just 30 acres.

City Manager Karen McLaughlin has been careful to note in the past several months since Great Wolf wanted to reassess possible options including potential Bay Area sites that Great Wolf could still end up building in Manteca along the 120 Bypass west of Costco.

The $39,000

‘canopy’ project

What will the City of Manteca get for $39,000 to place a roof structure over the brick-walled trash enclosure at the Manteca Transit Center?

Basically it’s four steel poles anchoring a steel roof with an 8-inch gap above the existing trash enclosure brick work that will blend in with the architecture of the $7.1 million transit center at Moffat Boulevard and South Main Street.

Council members Mike Morowit and Richard Silverman along with Mayor Steve DeBrum were not thrilled about the price tag for what could be called an “aftermarket canopy.”

 All three ended up voting with the balance of the council to use federal funds restricted for the purpose of transit security and safety for the project but not before they made some fairly pointed observations at Tuesdays’ council meeting.

The enclosure happens to also house equipment tied into the solar panels atop the parking shade structures.

They all made trips to the site where staff pointed out safety issues. People — homeless looking to shift through dumpsters for food and recyclables or to bed down for the night — or others such as the night people that roam Manteca’s streets after midnight that appear often to have issues more related to substance use are jumping over the brick wall.

Since the transit center is being rented out more and more, the number of people who find themselves “surprised” when opening the trash enclosure either late at night or in the wee hours to dump garbage after cleaning up after an event is growing.

And while all three saw the need, they wanted to make sure such issues in the future are addressed when a project is being built so it can cost less.

The council members were also alarmed at the number of people who just hang around the transit center. They also were concerned about the high incidence of graffiti as well as insufficient security cameras.

DeBrum wants transit center security to be part of Thursday’s 1:30 p.m. council workshop on the mid-year budget review and goal setting that takes place at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.

The mayor is also interested in how much it is costing the city to clean up graffiti on a yearly basis at the transit center.

Truck parking

along Moffat

While on the subject of Moffat Boulevard, the council might want to ask someone why a no parking zone on Moffat exists along the storm drain retention basin and Moffat Community Center and nowhere else?

The no parking zone was put in to stop trucks from parking there given that at one point the adjoining city property was being used for overnight truck parking and dumping. When Moffat was improved with curbs, gutters and sidewalks a decade ago the no parking signs were left  to keep trucks from parking.

On Tuesday night after the council meeting, there were three trucks parked elsewhere along the south side of Moffat.

Shouldn’t truck parking especially overnight be prohibited everywhere along Moffat? If not, why is it still in place on the only section on the entire south side of Moffat where people would want or need to park as it is by the Moffat Community Center?

Resignation from water

conservation committee

over not ‘ruffling feathers’

Sandra Ahrens has resigned from the Citizens’ Water Conservation Committee but not before giving the Manteca City Council a piece of her mind during Tuesday’s meeting.

From her perspective the city’s main concern seems to be conserving water so the city can keep growing. That viewpoint dovetails into her belief that growth in Manteca is a “Ponzi scheme” meaning the city needs to keep growing in order to pay for its services.

Her observation on growth aside, she made two sharp points about water conservation.

First, she doesn’t think the city is taking it serious enough and is only willing to put in place basic measures “so as not to ruffle feathers.”

Second, she sees staff shooting down ideas such as cutting back allowed days of watering from three to two based on faulty logic.

“They (the staff) say it is a water pressure concern,” Ahrens related.

She pointed out that the same number of people would likely be watering two days a week that currently water three days if such a rule was in place.

“How does that impact water pressure?” she asked.