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Sign program before council snubs Bass Pro
gateway sign.jpg

It will cost $6,125 to make sure anyone entering Manteca from seven different major entry points will know that they are welcome in The Family City.

The Manteca City Council on Tuesday is being asked to approve the phase one of a plan to erect entry signs to the city that will dovetail into the design and placement of three dozen wayfaring signs at key intersections directing motorists to various attractions and points of interests.

They also will discuss more elaborate signs along the freeway and on East Highway 120 for possible funding at a future date.

The staff advanced seven locations suggested by a committee back in 2011 as well as two other possible alternatives. Surprisingly none of the locations includes Union Road south of the 120 Bypass that serves as the main access point to Manteca’s biggest draw of out-of-town visitors — The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley anchored by Bass Pro Shops. Two year ago store officials indicated Bass Pro Shops draws 2.1 million to 2.4 million people annually to the Manteca store from within a 100-mile radius with more than 98 percent of the customers being non-Manteca residents.

The gateway signs will be similar in size to those erected in Ripon facing northbound Highway 99 traffic at the Main Street exist and in Lathrop for traffic turning off Interstate 5 and heading east on Louise Avenue and Lathrop Road.

The committee recommended locations are facing:

uAirport Way northbound just off the 120 Bypass westbound off ramp.

uUnion Road northbound in front of the headquarters fire station.

uMain Street northbound just off the 120 westbound off ramp in front of U-Haul.

uYosemite Avenue westbound in the median planter across from In-n-Out Burger and Best Western.

uNorth Main Street southbound in the median near Kia Country.

uLathrop Road eastbound just past Airport Way.

uLouise Avenue eastbound just after crossing the railroad tracks into the city from Lathrop.

uYosemite Avenue eastbound just after crossing the railroad tracks across from Sunnyvalley Meats.

Suggested alternate locations are facing:

uMain Street headed north just past Industrial Park Drive next to the existing wedge sign for the Manteca Industrial Park.

uNorth Main Street southbound just after turning off Lathrop Road.

The entry signs as presented are in red, white and blue based on the colors of the municipal seal. The signs read “Welcome to Manteca” with the city’s motto “The Family City” below.

The council also will be shown the design they already approved for the freeway off ramp sign facing southbound Highway 99 at the Lathrop Road interchange. It is being constructed as part of the landscaping project now underway for the interchange using Measure K and state funds. Staff is recommending the sign be duplicated for eastbound 120 Bypass traffic when the McKinley Avenue interchange is built.

Staff did not recommend a similar sign for northbound Highway 99 when the work is done on the new Austin Road overcrossing that’s part of the initial phase of a three-phase project to improve safety and traffic flow at the 120 Bypass and Highway 99 interchange and ultimately provide enhanced access to southeast Manteca.

Staff also will show the city gateway sign for westbound traffic in East Highway 120 that a committee recommended in 2011. That high profile sign that was over two stories and would be located in front of the South San Joaquin Irrigation District office has an estimated $60,000 cost.

A power point presentation prepared for Tuesday’s meeting also points out other low cost alternatives the city could pursue.

One would be to remove an evergreen tree in a city park that is blocking “Manteca” on the freeway off ramp sign along the westbound 120 Bypass that holds signs for Sizzler, McDonald’s Arco, and Taco Bell.

Another is to ask permission from Stadium Retail Center owners to add letters spelling out “Manteca” on the brick veneer of their sign along the westbound 120 Bypass west of Airport Way.

The last suggestion is to add the word “Manteca” across the two supporting legs of the Spreckels Park sign along southbound Highway 99 between the 120 Bypass connector and Yosemite Avenue.

More than 15 years ago the sign held one of the first electronic billboards in the region with the city, in exchange for allowing it to go in place, being allowed to have electronic advertising promoting Manteca and community events included in the advertising rotation.

The sign was controversial due to the now old school technology that gave off much brighter light creating issues for residents of El Rancho Mobile Home Park across the freeway that said it interfered with their sleep.

The electronic billboard that cost nearly $1 million to install at the time was eventually removed and replaced with Spreckels Park concerns catering to freeway travelers when it did not generate sufficient paid advertising.

The City Council meets at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email