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Upgrading from waterslides to waterpark
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A Great Wolf Resort guest in Garden Grove is shown starting her journey from the launch pod of the Wolfs Tail. Once the floor drops out from under you, youre hurled into a nearly vertical, 20-foot free fall, followed immediately by a 360-degree, high-speed loop. - photo by Photo courtesy Great Wolf

Manteca’s reputation as being the waterslides capital of Northern California has been slip sliding away since before 2004 when the Manteca Waterslides closed after a 30-year run.
Manteca may have been the first full-scale waterslide park in the north state but the thrills of more cutting edge water parks started diluting the regional drawing power of the seasonal operation on the western end of Woodward Avenue
That said many Manteca residents including Mayor Steve DeBrum still come across people in their travels that once they find out they are from Manteca will say “I know where that is, you’ve got the waterslides.” That name recognition went way beyond Northern California TV and radio advertising given many world visitors to Yosemite Park would pencil in a stop at the Manteca Waterslides in the summer for a respite from the valley heat.
But now Manteca’s reputation as the Northern California family water play land is about to come back and be even stronger than the late Budge Brown who founded Manteca Waterslides could ever have imagined.
On Tuesday, the City Council performed the legally required second reading of various actions to set the stage for a 500-room Great Wolf Lodge with a 109,767-square-foot indoor water park to be built on 29 acres owned by the city west of Costco. Included in the actions was the approval of a development agreement spelling out timelines, contractual obligations for the city and Great Wolf as well as details needed to set in motion the sale of land.  Once the agreement is signed by both parties the deal is officially a go.
“For a longtime we were the home of the Manteca Waterslides,” DeBrum said.  “Now we can say (we’re the home) of the waterpark.”
Great Wolf plans to spend millions of dollars of a year once the resort opens promoting the lodge and its Manteca location.
Councilman Richard Silverman used the final vote that reaffirms council approval of the project last month to point out the Great Wolf deal is likely to be even better for Manteca than was projected.
“The assumptions we made with finances were all very conservative,” Silverman said.
The analysis of the project took conservative room occupancy numbers putting the Manteca resort at 70 percent capacity that is lower than the existing Great Wolf properties. That means the $99 million Manteca expects to “net” in general fund revenue primarily from Great Wolf room taxes over the course of the first 30 years is likely to be significantly higher.
City Manager Tom Ogden during his recap of the development agreement pointed out the only risk Manteca incurs going forward is the infrastructure work required to extend Daniels Street from its current terminus by Costco and Big League Dreams to McKinley Avenue.
The city agreed to have the extension in place by the time Great Wolf is expected to open in 2020.
Should Great Wolf not open the $7 million that Manteca is investing that may include a large chunk of the remaining receipts from the redevelopment agency bond sale would result in making improvements that would likely take a long time to be justified. That’s because the water park is designed as the catalyst needed to develop 180 acres of surrounding city-owned land being pursued as a family entertainment zone.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email