Manteca Mayor Ben Cantu and Councilman Gary Singh are getting plummeted on social media by those that take issue with their suggestion for the city to invest in bronze statues.
Cantu’s idea is to spend perhaps $50,000 to $60,000 to upgrade the landscaped median to the main entrance of Manteca on East Yosemite Avenue just off Highway 99 to create a strong image of what Manteca stands for as a welcome sign. It would include a bronze statue of a family of four walking briskly along with the municipal motto “The Family City.”
Singh suggested the city could require developers paying for bronze statues on major roundabouts as a departure from simply having landscaping. Potential candidates could be roundabouts planned along the four-lane extension of Main Street from Woodward Avenue to Sedan Avenue Ripon, as an example, has a large clock tower in the middle of a roundabout where Wilma Avenue meets Fulton Avenue and Werner Drive just north of Ripon City Hall.
Cantu also would like to see a bronze sculpture honoring those who have served as part of a veterans plaza/mini-park the council is considering pursuing on segment of the paved area on the northwest corner of Yosemite Avenue and Main Street where the five murals honoring those who served in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Global War on Terror grace the side of the Manteca Bedquarters building.
The city has promoted public art with tax dollars with the most notable being the downtown mural project. About a quarter of the $125,000 it took to commission the five murals honoring veterans was covered by the city while the rest was raised through private donations. The proposed budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 includes $15,000 in city funds to help restore some of the murals.
The debate over public art aside, if the city goes through with the family bronze statue they might want to consider something a bit different. That’s because it conjures up images of the running family signs put up along Interstate 5 near the San Ysidro point of entry along the Mexican border to warn motorists of undocumented immigrants running across the freeway.
The sign depicts a man, woman, and child with pigtails running. The signs were erected in response to over 100 undocumented immigrant pedestrian deaths due to traffic collisions from 1987 to 1990.
New entry sign
The new “Manteca” welcome sign facing northbound Highway 99 traffic is in place in the northwest quadrant of the interchange although plastic sheeting has yet to be removed.
The sign was one of three options Caltrans gave the city to pick from. The monument style sign meets Caltrans safety requirements not to distract drivers.