The next chapter for Manteca Library may take it to the emerging population center of the city — the Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley.
Assistant City Manager Lisa Blackmon said Manteca has been working on a plan that could end up moving the library to empty in-line space between the AMC Showplace 16 Theater and JC Penney at the Union Road and 120 Bypass shopping and entertainment venue anchored by Bass Pro Shops.
Blackmon said talks with center owner Poag Development are going well. She added the city is now in discussions with the Stockton-San Joaquin County Library System about the potential move and are arranging to meet with the Friends of the Manteca Library.
The Stockton-San Joaquin County Library system covers staff and the costs of maintaining the collection at the city library at 320 W. Center St. Manteca provides the building and covers facility maintenance and upkeep costs. Should the city move the library council members have suggested repurposing the building as a community center or for use as a site for recreation programs.
By leasing space, Councilman Gary Singh noted in May it would be in a more user friendly location while at the same time the city could easily double the existing space and configure it for today’s needs. At the same time should the city’s needs shift in the coming decades, the library could be relocated to another site.
Leasing space would overcome the biggest roadblock that Manteca has failed to clear in the last drive to expand library facilities that ended after two unsuccessful tries to secure state funding with the last ending in 2004 — funding a new building.
The city spent more than $80,000 almost two decades on schematics and research for a two-story replacement building of more than 30,000 square feet where the current library now stands. That project entailed temporary facilities where the tennis courts are located across the street while construction was underway. After that the tennis courts were planned to be converted into parking.
The cost for the structure that was designed with a grand entrance lobby with extensive open space was pegged at $33 million. Manteca missed the cut twice for securing proceeds from a state library bond issue to build all or part of the facility.
Leasing eliminates the need to come up with $33 million upfront — or if the money was borrowed — an additional $6 million to $9 million in interest payments to build a library.
There is also no need to build parking spaces.
Given it is on private property with controlled public access homeless issues centered around sleeping or camping become non-existent as trespassing and anti-encampment ordinances can be enforced.
Studies conducted over a decade ago foresaw 60 percent of the city’s population being south of the 120 Bypass by 2040. Based on current development patterns, that is well on its way to happening.
Orchard Valley with shop space facing an interior street and not the freeway was designed to mimic a traditional downtown along with gathering places such as the plaza by the small manmade lake that has been used for farmers markets and various community events.
It is also on established city bus routes.
The original portion of the current library was built after three absentee “yes” votes approved a $75,000 bond in 1960.
The library was dedicated on Jan. 13, 1962. It was expanded in 1977 to its current configuration with the prediction it would be adequate for the city through 1995 when population was projected to reach 32,000. Manteca’s actual population in 1995 was 45,060 residents. Manteca now has 85,000 residents.
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