Mayor Ben Cantu envisions a Manteca Bronze Age.
It’s a goal shared by Councilman Gary Singh.
Cantu would like to see the city create a unique entrance to Manteca at East Yosemite Avenue just off Highway 99 by placing a bronze statue of a family of either four or five in the existing landscaped median along with a sign welcoming people to “The Family City.”
The mayor brought up the idea of purchasing the bronze family statue and installing it during Tuesday’s special budget review session. Funding for the endeavor isn’t being included in the proposed municipal spending plan for the fiscal year starting July 1. Instead he would like it to be brought up in the midyear budget review that typically occurs in February to see if the city is in a position to fund the project at that time. The mayor estimates it will cost between $50,000 and $60,000.
It is an extension of Cantu’s previously expressed desire not to have what has been described as “run-of-the-mill” welcome signs installed.
“I think it (the family statue) symbolizes the community,” Cantu said.
Singh believes the city could expand on public art and amenities by possibly requiring other bronze statues or sculptures to be placed by developers in the center of future roundabouts instead of just simple landscaping.
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 a 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.
Staff said the owner of the property indicated they might be willing to sell a part — but not all — of the former site of a Chevron gas station to allow the city to create a high profile veterans plaza to complement the veterans mural project.
As far as the median on Yosemite Avenue, while the city maintains the landscaping it is within Caltrans right of way.
Caltrans regulations squashed an effort led by former Mayor Willie Weatherford when the previous 1955 era interchange was being replaced to make a grand entrance statement for Manteca by incorporating a water feature similar to what is at the entrance to Del Webb at Woodbridge in the median. At the time Caltrans nixed the idea out of concern moving water would be a distraction for motorists.
Cantu and Singh saw examples of the bronze statues that some municipalities have employed as public art at various locations such as in parks and outside of libraries and city halls while they were attending the International Shopping Center Conference in Las Vegas last month.
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