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Cantu: Dump Moffat name to honor Vick
walker vick
Walker Vick

Manteca Mayor Ben Cantu wants the city to consider renaming Moffat Boulevard in honor of the late Walker Vick.

Vick — a legendary Manteca High coach who taught at the high school for over 40 years — passed away last month at age 85.

Cantu asked the municipal staff to look at the possibility of the name change during council comments at Tuesday’s council meeting.

The mayor made his request after Councilman Dave Breitenbucher requested that the meeting be closed in honor of Vick. Both Cantu and Breitenbucher were students at Manteca High when Vick was teaching.

Moffat Boulevard passes along the southern edge of the Manteca High campus. Upgrades and growth-related improvements have reorientated the front of the campus to Moffat Boulevard.

The idea of renaming Moffat Boulevard Walker Vick Parkway was suggested in a letter to the Bulletin several weeks ago by former Manteca resident Jeff Tilton who served as an assistant Buffalo football coach under Vick.

The city has an honorary street name policy where a secondary street sign is placed below a street’s actual name at the cost of people who sponsor an honorary street name request providing it is approved by the City Council.

But Cantu and Vick made it clear they’d like to see the Moffat Boulevard name jettisoned and replaced with a name that incudes Walker Vick.

Renaming a street is a more complicated process.

Assuming Walker Vick Parkway or whatever label such as street,  avenue, and such may be proposed is a name that the City wants to run with passes muster with emergency services review to make sure it doesn’t sound too much like any other street names in the area to assure police and fire responses aren’t compromised by confusing like sounding names, there are two big issues that need to be addressed.

The first is whether those with Moffat Boulevard addresses want the name change.

For businesses, it can create a lot of expense in changing advertising, letterheads, and such to a new name a few items. The same goes for residences.

Manteca Commerce Park has a number of businesses using Moffat in their address. There are about a dozen other businesses as well as Crossroads Community Church. There is also a mobile home park that would be impacted.

Then there is the cost of replacing actual street signs. There would be no less than eight sign changes involved.

Some objection may come from people who dislike the fact the city changing the name would be tossing away part of Manteca’s history.

Moffat Boulevard at one time was the Highway 99 route through Manteca.

In the 1940s and 1950s it was where the massive Moffat Feed Lot was located behind Spreckels Sugar.

Due to the usual cow smells made somewhat more obvious by the fact they were fatten with sugar beet pulp it created an odor that travelers on Highway 99 associated with Manteca.

It is credited for football rivals  from Tracy High nicknaming Manteca as “Manstinka.”

It was the less than rosy smelling past of Moffat and the connotation the name somewhat represented a dumpier era along Moffat Boulevard that prompted the late Fred Millner to suggest a name change in 2013.

Mllner, who lived two blocks off of Moffat in Powers Tract, suggested renaming Moffat as Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. His rationale was the city had as of 2013  transformed Moffat from an ugly, rundown corridor with almost $12 million in improvements including the transit station, curbs, gutters, sidewalks, Tidewater Bikeway, Spreckels Park BMX course, the Industrial Park Drive extension, and repaving the roadway.  

The suggestion was opposed by some who felt it would eliminate a connection with Manteca history.

The city has two honorary streets already in place — one in front of Sierra High and another on a section  of Powers Avenue.

The council more than a year ago voted to allow the southern end of Garfield Avenue cut off from the expansion of the Manteca High campus to be renamed Buffalo Way.

The change impacted no one given there are no homes or businesses along the road segment that now flows into the new student parking lot and drop in zone.

The one street sign has yet to be changed given the school district or high school supporters would need to pay for it.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email