By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
City buying parcel for homeless effort; possible police use
map south main
The large brown area is the 8.04 acres the city wants to use part of for a homeless navigation center.

Manteca is buying 8 acres on South Main Street for $1.7 million for a homeless navigation center.

And if council members Charlie Halford and Gary Singh prevail, it will also be home to a new police station.

Halford — a retired city police chief who was serving roughly 20 years ago when elected leaders first determined the existing police station was woefully inadequate and had security issues — wants to see a police station on the front half of the property facing South Main Street.

Behind it would be the homeless navigation center accessed only via Carnegie Court.

 Halford noted the city via the now defunct Manteca Redevelopment Agency originally bought the property 18 years ago for the expressed purpose of building a new police station  along with a South County court complex.

In stressing it would be appropriate to use a portion of the property for what it was originally purchased for, Halford pointed out the location of the police station adjacent to the homeless navigation center would likely see a robust enforcement of issues in the immediate vicinity regarding homeless that don’t follow the rules.

Singh echoed Halford’s vision.

“I’d like to see a police station front and center on Main Street and near downtown,” Singh said of the highly visible site.

Councilman Jose Nuno, while not objecting to switching out the front part of the land the city is purchasing for the originally envisioned affordable housing to a police station, said it was still important that the city pursue an affordable housing project at some location in the city.

Both Singh and Halford agreed.

The vote was 5-0 to buy the property.

It included Councilman Dave Britenbucher who vowed to work diligently as a member of the city council homeless subcommittee to make the back half of the site work as a homeless navigation center.

He made that statement despite his belief the city would still be better off taking an existing building elsewhere to roll out a navigation center.

He supports the need for such a center as reflected in his voluntary efforts to help Inner City Action get homeless off the streets including five they got this week to return to hometowns where they had family support. But he believes as envisioned by consultants that the proposed navigation center is larger than what may be actually  needed.

“I will help make it workable,”: Britenbucher said while adding he still believes the city should look for an alternative site just in case.

Nine people — primarily residents in the neighborhood immediately west of the South Main Street site — spoke out against the city acquiring the site for a homeless navigation center and transitional housing.

They called the navigation center an experiment and believed it would further exacerbate homeless issues they are now dealing with in their neighborhood. They also pointed to social media polls they conducted that were overwhelming against the idea of a navigation  center anywhere in Manteca.

One speaker indicated that she believes most people in Manteca want the city to pursue such an endeavor to help get people off the streets that want to so the city could step up efforts to go after those homeless that  create problems and have no apparent desire to change their lifestyle.

 

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com