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Manteca leaders take plunge to obtain water park feasibility study
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Steve DeBrum sees the revival of the Manteca water slides in a newer and more high profile venue as yet another bold - yet conservative move - by municipal leadership to pump up the city’s economy by snaring visitors’ dollars.

DeBrum’s council colleague John Harris considers it “the third leg of the triad” which includes mega-draws in the form of Bass Pro Shops and Big League Dreams.

Councilwoman Debby Moorhead views it as a major drawing card noting it is what first brought her to first visit Manteca when her now adult son was 4 years old.

Perennial council critic Richard Hansen sees something else - a boondoggle. And he can’t understand why the city thinks they can make it work when the Brown family had to pull the plug on the original Manteca Water Slides - California’s first water play park - after a 30-year run.

Mayor Willie Weatherford answered Hansen by noting the Browns were forced out of business by a state requirement that was mandating they add a water treatment facility to clean the ground water they used in the water park despite going 30 years without a major problem. The cost was in the millions of dollars. It also didn’t help that the state’s workmen’s compensation costs were hitting them in the pocketbook as well.

The council - acknowledging many people still identify Manteca by the water slides that no longer exist - agreed Tuesday night to spend up to $27,700 in Manteca Redevelopment Agency funds to hire AECOM to perform a water park feasibility study. They also hired AKF Development - with no cost upfront - to try and market municipal property saddling the future extension of Daniels Street immediately west of Costco and Big League Dreams for both a water park and a hotel.

The funds being expended can’t legally be used to balance the general fund that is expected to have a $3.8 million deficit when July 1 rolls around. RDA funds can be used to fight blight and promote economic development under state law.

The goal is to have AKF use the study to try and lure a developer who would buy the municipal land and build a water park.