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Seeks to build second skate park next to Spreckels BMX
Manteca skate park
This 2018 file photo shows the Manteca skate park.

The Manteca Skate Park is easily the most under used and least accessible recreation amenity in the city.

Mayor Gary Singh wants to change that by starting work on a second skate park facility next to the Spreckels BMX course.

“It is a much more accessible location,” Singh said earlier this month.

Gary Singh

Singh earmarked $100,000 of the city’s federal COVID relief leftover funds he was allocated to assign to city projects to go toward the second skate park.

The overall cost is pegged at $200,000.

Singh is hopeful the city can tap into recreation growth fees or secure other funding to make the project happen sooner than  later.

Singh noted the Spreckels Park BMX location offers:

*A facility visible from the street.

*Access via the Tidewater Bikeway.

*A natural fit with the existing BMX course and the opportunity to create a skate/bike park.

*Existing parking.

It is in stark contrast with the existing skate park built more than 20 years ago next to the railroad tracks tucked behind a PG&E substation and the equivalent of almost two blocks from the nearest street which is Center Street.

And like many city projects of the past, it was never finished.

The original plan called for additional skating areas, restrooms,  a grass area, and trees.

It opened without even a water fountain in place. That was added later after parents complained.

Perhaps the biggest oversight was the lack of safety concerns on the part of the council at the time.

It was built adjacent to the railroad tracks with no fencing separating the two.

As a result, kids used to cut across the railroads tracks to reach the skate park.

The city was forced to rectify that problem a number of years after it opened by installing wrought iron fencing along the Union Pacific Railroad right-of-way.

It also was not visible from the street.

That means citizens — or police — could not see what was happening.

The second day the skate park was in use, a SHARP volunteer alerted police of a drug deal going down.

The city quickly responded to plug that lapse in thinking by installing the city’s first remote camera mounted on a pole that provide live feeds to the dispatch center.

The skate park is probably the ultimate monument to Manteca’s revenge politics of past years.

The council at the time begrudgingly supported the skate park.

It was pushed by the late  council member Wayne Flores, who was not liked by the council majority at the time.

The council majority gave into pressure Flores applied via youth and parents alike who petitioned and appeared at council meeting after council meeting for a safe place for skaters to go.

It also was designed to try and reduce damage that skaters were causing to concrete improvements elsewhere in a bit to do tricks.

The preferred site was across the tennis courts in a grassy and heavily-shaded area north of the entrance road to the golf course.

The council majority nixed that as being disrespectful to those attending services at the funeral home across Union Road, although they didn’t feel the same about people playing tennis.

The area today is only used by the homeless.

The second location was along Moffat Boulevard near where the city ended up building the Manteca Community Center that is being used as the home of the Manteca Veterans of Foreign Wars post.

That was nixed by the council majority, because they thought it would be an inappropriate use near a high school.

They took that stance despite the fact there were several rundown motels nearby at the time that were well known for the number of police calls for drug-related issues.

No one objected to the third site, except a few parents.

They pointed out in Modesto skate parks were located in city parks where grandparents often took their grandchildren to skate.

The majority of the City Council’s ears at the time were bent heavily by those in town that viewed skate boarding as a hoodlum activity.

That council’s behavior was in vast contrast with the era when Willie Weatherford was mayor a decade later when the city actively worked with local BMX enthusiasts to develop a BMX course in the Spreckels Park drainage basin at Moffat Boulevard and Spreckels Avenue.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email