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Finally, a home for VFW Post
Groundbreaking for $1.16M community center/post Dec. 2
The site plan for the new Manteca Community Center/VFW Post Hall. - photo by Rendering contributed

After 70 years Manteca’s Jimmie Connors Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6311 is going to finally have a home.

The City Council Tuesday night approved a $1,160,000 design and build contract with Diede Construction to build the 3,600-square-foot Moffat Community Center that will serve as the post’s home at 560 Moffat Boulevard.

The completion date is July 3, 2015 to allow for a Fourth of July dedication. A ground breaking is tentatively set for Monday, Dec. 1, at 3 p.m.

“For 70 years we’ve never had a home of our own,” VFW Commander Carlon Perry told the council.

The post has been using the American Legion Post in the 200 block of East Yosemite Avenue.

Perry noted that it means veterans will be able to go to one location for everything from health services to socializing.

“For what you (the veterans) did, you deserve it,” Councilwoman Debby Moorhead said.

The center will be built on city-owned land sandwiched between the arsenic treatment plant built last year and the storm retention basin/mini park that are across the street from the trailer park adjacent to the Manteca High athletic fields. The new home of the VFW post will back up to the Tidewater Bikeway.

The work includes the building, a parking lot and some landscaping. The balance of the property will be landscaped at a future date.

The city has entered into a 20-year lease with Jimmie Connors VFW Post 6311 for use of the Moffat Community Center. 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-year 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.

• • •

Center will push city investment along Moffat close to $13M

The community center is the latest in a Moffat transformation that started in earnest 10 years ago.

Moffat Boulevard just over 19 years ago was one of the last few left exits for northbound traffic traveling Highway 99 through the Central Valley.

Once motorists crossed over southbound traffic on an arching bridge they were dumped onto Moffat that ran past tumbleweed infested fields, an aging cattle feed lot, the back entrance to Spreckels Sugar, shuttered businesses, inexpensive motels, abandoned gas stations, recycling centers and not much more until they reached South Main Street.

Among the municipal investments:

• The Spreckels Park BMX Park.

• Extending Industrial Park Drive across the railroad tracks to Moffat where it intersects with Spreckels Avenue.

• A landscaped storm basin complete with trees.

• More than 250 trees planted along the Tidewater Bikeway’s Moffat leg.

• A new water treatment plant.

• Repaving and the installation of curbs, gutter, and sidewalk as correction of storm drain problems from Spreckels to Main.

• Tidewater-style traffic signals at Spreckels/Industrial and Moffat.

• The transit station.

When the community center is completed it will bring the city’s investment to almost $13 million in the corridor during the past decade.

Among the private sector investments:

• The Crossroads Community Church complete with its JFK Airport-style canopy accent to a fountain featuring a massive stone sphere of the earth.

• The Manteca Business Park.

• The southern portion of Spreckels Park including Frito-Lay Distribution and in-line warehouses owned by Hunsaker.

• The first new building on Moffat in more than 20 years opened in 2004 to house Honest Automotive.

• The new California Welding building on Moffat near Woodward and the tearing down of the old welding firm’s structure and an adjoining nightclub that had become blighted.

• A security/safety fence installed between the tracks and the Tidewater Bikeway by Union Pacific Railroad.

Equally important are things that are no longer on Moffat.

• The old Moffat Feed Lot where market cattle were fed sugar beet pulp to produce the odor that hung Manteca with the moniker “Manstinka” for decades.

• Elimination of overnight truck parking on city property in the heart of the Moffat corridor, trucks. 

• A successful effort to stop illegal dumping on city property that parallels the Tidewater Bikeway.

• The razing and removal of several abandoned buildings and other structures gutted by fire.