Mayor Ben Cantu’s laundry list for downtown Manteca contains what could be the easiest and most effective starting point to attract more customers to businesses and dining spots in the town center — a website that serves as an information guide to all things downtown.
It’s an idea that has come up time and time again and has gone nowhere.
Cantu personally wants the council subcommittee that he is serving on with Councilwoman Debby Moorhead not only to recommend to the full council that they endorse a website for downtown but they fund its development and updating.
In the past such a website was considered to be something that the private sector should take care of funding and not the city.
Cantu disagrees given the history of endless false starts on efforts to pump new life into downtown.
A downtown website would provide one spot people could go to find out what shops, restaurants, services, and events are downtown.
There are a number of thriving businesses such as ethnic markets — both Indian and Mexican — that may not have universal exposure. There are dining options, services, and specialty stores.
By the city taking the lead and funding the website at least to get it off the ground, it could be made all-inclusive by listing all businesses available in the what is being identified as downtown as well as offering direct access to specific business websites. It would be a one-stop Internet-based site for all things downtown.
Based on what other cities such as Tracy, Turlock, Lodi, Pleasanton, and Livermore — all cities that people involved with trying to pump new life into Manteca’s central district say they’d like to emulate — such a site would list restaurants with a general overview of offerings and hours, location of public parking lots, a calendar of special events, information on renting space (similar to what the Pleasanton website offers), and various halls and space that can be rented for gatherings.
Given Manteca is the biggest property owner downtown — between the Manteca Transit Center, Manteca Library, and Library Park — it could include information on reserving and renting community rooms. It also could list the fledging food truck court, the fact you can charge electric vehicles at the transit station as you shop/dine plus list special events such as the Christmas parade.
As with other cities, cultural and arts attractions could be listed. In Manteca’s case that would include the downtown mural project. There could also be a link to Manteca Transit and San Joaquin Regional Transit that use the Manteca Transit Center as their primary transfer point in Manteca.
It could not only list available non-profit space to rent for events such as the MRPS, FESM, and Legion halls with contact information but it could also list community events being staged at those locations.
Out-of-town visitors typically search such sites to see if they may be interested in exploring downtown areas of communities they are visiting. Concerns such as German Glas Werks and various collectable businesses would likely interest some out of towners as well as the mural project that could allow for a walking tour to be combined with lunch.
Cantu believes that such marketing — that would also reach local residents that may not know what downtown already has to offer — is key to moving the town center forward.
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