Allowing the sale of marijuana in commercial zones is one of four policy shifts the council-appointed Manteca Millennial Advisory Committee wants to see happen to spur economic growth in The Family City.
They also want to see the City Council:
*Establish a city funded credit union to assist the financing of small businesses under the California Public Banking Act.
*Defer development fees for green industry manufacturing and recycling to encourage investment.
*Allow the cultivation of marijuana outside of residentially zoned areas as well as allow the transportation of marijuana to and from a place of business.
*Expand the maximum dwelling unit per acre for commercially mixed use zones to allow lower startup costs for local entrepreneurs and shared workplaces.
The group presented a status report of their efforts to date during Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
The City Council — led by Mayor Ben Cantu and Councilman Gary Singh who first advanced the idea — formed the Manteca Millennial Advisory Committee. In doing so, Manteca has become one of the smallest cities to appoint such an advisory committee to join the ranks of places such as Houston, Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Miami Beach among others.
The impetus behind such advisory committees are that millennials — those born between 1981 and 1996 and are now ages 24 to 40 — represent the bulk of the workforce that are key to the economic, cultural, and social expansion of a community.
The council wanted input as to what would best serve the needs of the millennials in a bid to make Manteca a more appealing place for them to reside and to work.
Critics have argued that the city doesn’t need a specific advisory committee to address the needs for millennials. The council has argued that given only one council member — Singh — falls into that growing demographic that the city may not necessarily be attuned to what would attract innovators and businesses owned by people in that age group to Manteca to help build the economy and community for the next 25 years.
“We understand the past and we understand the now, but now it is up to what the future generation wants and what we need for our kids, it’s the future vision,” Singh said. “That’s what the committee is working on today. This is not saying we are forgetting the past. We need to embrace the past and build the future. It encompasses everything.”
The MMAC, for its part, is working in some endeavors related to pumping up the local economy.
They are working on:
*A “Friday Feature” highlighting local businesses through the group’s social media pages.
*Pursuing a “Manteca Restaurant Week” encouraging locally owned restaurants to come together to provide a week of events and specials that encourages community involvement.
*Expanding opportunities for technological innovations through events such as a “hackathon.”
The MMAC members also want to see improved access and amenities downtown to encourage its growth as a community gathering place.
To that end they’d like the City Council to:
*Allow brew pubs, nightclubs and tasting rooms within the core zones of the Central Business District that is generally traditional downtown and nearby commercial streets.
*Convert West Yosemite Avenue from Library Park to Main Street to a one-way street to discourage travel through downtown. That would allow for expanded sidewalks for outdoor dining and such as well as shifting the emphasis to traveling to downtown and not through it.
*Expanding bicycle officers to including full-time police patrols. The focus would be securing downtown for pedestrians and bicyclists.
*City adoption of shipping containers renovated into small makerspaces for local entrepreneurs and artists.
*City adoption of community gardens in underutilized lots.
The MMAC plans to work with Parks & Recreation on implementing community gardens and developing downtown engagement campaigns such as scavenger hunts and cleanups utilizing social media pages.
Celebrating Manteca’s diversity
& empowering minorities
In terms of celebrating Manteca’s diversity as well as empowering minorities, the MMAC would like to see the council pursue the following:
*Connect generations and cultures through multicultural fairs.
*Celebrate inclusive holiday such as Cesar Chavez Day, Diwali, Eid al-Fetr, and Juneteenth among others.
*City adopted financial literacy.
*Establishing a cultural center where residents can access information for resources, discuss social reform, and host cultural events.
The MMAC is working on:
*Creating social media pages aimed at greater exposure of the community to local information and events.
*Intergenerational and multicultural dialogue panels and focus groups.
*Working with the Manteca Advocacy Group on projects celebrating Manteca’s diversity.
*Increased millennial participation in civic leadership and elections.
*Scavenger hunts aimed at the city as a whole.
Encouraging more artistic &
To promote more artistic and entertainment options in Manteca, the MMAC is suggesting the city council:
*Establish art walls on city buildings.
*Creation of youth art exhibits.
*Allow for the use of electrical boxes for artwork.
*Adopt spaces for the day-use of artists and other creative options such as the use of shipping containers for art studios.
*A place for performing arts and entertainment.
The advisory committee also wants to:
*Work with the Manteca Advocacy Group on the design of a mural.
*Work with Parks & Recreation on implementation of art-walls and electric box painting projects.
*Examine the success and failures of other cities in respect to arts and entertainment.
*Utilizing social media pages to communicate events and opportunities for local artists.
Easing impacts of land
usage & transportation
The millennial committee is also seeking to address growth-related issues.
They would like the council to consider:
*Destigmatize the growing of habitats and crops in front yards while working with home owners associations to reduce the size of lawns.
*Increase the minimum density of dwelling units per acre for residential zones to reduce environmental impacts.
*Plant more shade trees along public roads,
*Continued expansion of bicycle lanes and bicycle parking.
*Reduction of the minimum automobile parking requirements for commercial developments.
*Adding improvements to parks such as corn hole, disc golf and ladder gold facilities.
The committee plans to work on establishing a monthly critical-mass bike tour, alternative transportation awareness through social media pages, and participation in community environmental improvements such as Love Manteca.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email email@example.com