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Bigger vision for Moffat community center possible
Veterans in the VFW Post 6311 honor guard and the East Union High JROTC color guard prepare to raise the flag Wednesday for the first time in 2015 at Mantecas new Veterans Center. A Legion Hall is planned to be built nearby. - photo by GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

Mayor Gary Singh wants to use the opportunity presented with $850,000 in federal funds for a new Legion Hall secured by Congressman Josh Harder to explore other community amenities at the proposed site on Moffat Boulevard.

It could include expanding the footprint of the size of the Legion Hall the city will be able to build with the federal funds to possibly building a community gym/recreation complex.

“The site is right by Manteca High and by two older neighborhoods that don’t have a lot of new amenities.” Singh said.

The census data of the neighborhoods could open the door to secure grants for projects for underserved communities. It is also walkable to downtown where the city is pushing for new projects that include housing option above commercial space.

“The ACE (train) stop will also be nearby,” Singh said.

Singh noted steel constructed gyms such as those on River Islands have a somewhat lower construction cost.

Singh said it would be building on what was put in place by efforts headed by past Mayor Willie Weatherford and the council that served with him.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post leases the Moffat Community Center the city built at 580 Moffat Boulevard.

Plans for a Legion Hall to the east on an area that is partially where a billboard is now as well as part of a temporary storm retention basin  that may no longer be needed due to other improvements that have been made, would require the basin to be filled in.

In doing so it could allow for a bigger Legion Hall or placement of a community gym/recreation center as part of the Moffat Community Center complex and still possible have areas for outside events.

Singh also said he wants to explore the feasibility of expanding the parking area to the west of the VFW hall.

As such, it would complete the entire site as well as significantly increase amenities at the center of the city.

And while the exploration of possibilities may not lead to anything else at this time, Singh says it is an opportune time to lookl at options given site work that will need to be done to accommodate the Legion Hall.

If nothing else works out, Singh said the city will still build the Legion Hall..

The idea of a new home for the Legion is part of a vision Singh has been pursuing.

The mayor’s ability to network with other elected leaders — in this case Harder — and effectively  make the case for Manteca backed up by staff efforts to shape appropriation requests has proven beneficial to the community.

Singh’s lead in working with State Senator Susan Talamantes Eggman enabled Manteca to secure a $15 million state grant to build a homeless navigation center.

The federal funds secured from Harder may be able to be wedded with nearly $800,000 San Joaquín County Supervisor Tom Patti secured in pass through federal COVID funds to bring the existing Legion Hall up to ADA standards and make other remodeling to make the building more functional.

The city, after building the existing Moffat Community Center, entered into a 50-year lease with the VFW for use of the building that also still can be used for other events by working with the post.

A similar arrangement would be likely for the new community center to allow the American Legion to call it their home.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email