At first glance it looks like just any other field of corn you’ll find around Manteca.
But the 56 acres On Tinnin Road might hold the key to significant improvements to both community recreation offerings and the education of students.
Interviews with various top management and elected officials with the City of Manteca as well as the Manteca Unified School District provided insight on how the land could be leveraged to set in motion solutions for both city and school needs.
With very little committed to paper, the engagement between both sides of the possibility of legal horse trades and/or purchases of properties to maximize expenditure of limited tax dollars to reach goals of both the school district and city can be traced back to March 2020. That’s when representatives of the two agencies first met after the school district made an inquiry about the possibility of obtaining the 4-acre Lincoln Park.
City officials have
toured Calla High site
as part of considerations
The district has indicated If a trade wasn’t to the city’s liking they’d be willing to buy the park outright. In doing so they’d takeover maintenance while allowing the city to use the facilities for recreation programs until such time the site was needed to expand education offerings.
The park is wedged between Lincoln School and the land challenged Manteca High campus that needs to expand to accommodate a large chunk of 11,245 housing units the city has already approved or is in the process of doing so.
The latest face-to-face was several months ago when a group of city officials along with district leadership toured the Calla High campus at Austin Road and East Highway 120.
The Calla High site came into play in a land swap scenario involving Lincoln Park. The district needs to spend $13.6 million to bRing the campus up to educational standards unless it can find a site where they can build from scratch for less or relocate it elsewhere such as the former Yosemite School that now houses the Manteca Unified Online Academy.
This is where the Tinnin Road property has come into various scenarios.
Some city leaders see
part of Tinnin Road as
possible soccer complex
Some city officials sees it as a solid option for a possible soccer complex or even a third community park that the Parks & Recreation master plan Manteca had conducted three years ago identified as a pressing need to serve anticipated growth. At 56 acres, it is four acres larger than Woodward Park.
The site purchased nearly two decades ago for a high school site is currently being utilized as part of the district’s high school agricultural program.
Since then a lot has changed.
The 200-year flood protection mandate by the state makes development further south extremely unlikely for urbanozation. That’s because to take the area out of the 200-year flood zone it would require massive investments in levees along the San Joaquin and Stanislaus rivers some have put in excess of $250 million.
State funding assistance for new schools has dropped significantly forcing districts to find ways to leverage growth fees collected on new construction and community facility district taxes more effectively to house students that growth generates.
The reason is simple. To build a school for 800 students from the ground up is $140 million based on the price tag of River Islands High that will break ground next year.
The Manteca Unified opted two years ago to leverage what money they collect on growth to eventually increase the program enrollments eventually for Sierra, East Union, Manteca and Lathrop High schools for 1,600 to 2,200.
Between Sierra, East Union and Manteca high schools that would create the equivalent of another existing high school.
The district is using part of the $260 million in bonds approved by voters in November 2020 to modernize the oldest high school campuses — Manteca and East Union.
In doing so, they are also structuring the campuses so additional permanent classrooms can be added in the future using the bonding capacity of community facilities districts.
Building large high
school at Tinnin Road
may no longer make sense
The district can’t simply sell the 56 acres and use the proceeds for school construction or to buy another parcel for an elementary school site. If they sold the land state law requires the proceeds to be sent to Sacramento.
At the same time building another large high school campus in 20 years or so from now when Manteca, East Union, and Sierra reach or exceed 2,200 students won’t make sense at the southern edge of the city.
By then based on proposed reserves for future land use depicted in the City of Manteca’s general plan update beyond 2030, most residential growth will take place as Manteca expands to the north or to the east.
This opens up several possibilities for the Tinnin Road site.
It could be split into three parcels — two of 20 acres and one of 16 acres as one example. Under such a scenario the two 20-acre parcels could be used as a land swap with developers to secure future elementary school sites in growth areas. The remaining 16 acres may be something the city might want to secure for a soccer complex.
The district could come up with a deal that would give the city part of the site for recreation use such as possibly for an aquatics center and community center that they’ve identified a need for as well as soccer fields.
The district could use the balance of the site fir a smaller high school that could possibly be a magnet school for academics or career technical education. In such a scenario the district and city could share facilities.
The district could also relocate Calla High — its Manteca area continuation high school campus — to the site. That would allow for a larger city recreation footprint for the city.
In such cases it is theoretically possible some or all of the land wouldn’t have to exchange hands as long as there was an agreement that satisfied state law if the city developed recreational uses the district would have access for use by students.
If any city use of the Tinnin site makes sense, it is likely a process that would have to start in the near future as the district embarks on a phased approach to spend the $260 million to upgrade and position current campuses.
City has asked for a
formal written proposal
regarding Lincoln Park
It is likely that some of that money will go to moving Calla High to another site where a new campus may have to be built such as at Tinnin Road if existing locations such as the old Yosemite School is not available.
The district also could opt to relocate its school farm to the Tinnin Road site wedded with other career education or by itself. In such a scenario the city could still possibly secure use of part of the site.
The district clearly is interested in Lincoln Park.
In a Sept. 9, 2021 letter sent to the district by the interim City manager Mike Harden the city requested “that if MUSD wishes to further pursue and property swap and/or land acquisitions that a formal proposal be submitted in writing for consideration with all the relevant details.”
Among those details is how the city would be able to continue to use the swimming pool and other facilities at Lincoln Prk until such time the land is needed by the school district as part of its plan for Manteca High and Lincoln School.
The district has already had an appraisal done on the park to get an idea of what dollar values they are looking at. There has been no recent appraisal done of the Tinnin Road site.
60-year-old plus Lincoln Pool
would cost city at least
$2 million to simply more viable
The City of Manteca in 2018 commissioned a study that indicated it would cost $2 million to make the 60-year plus pool more viable without enlarging its footprint.
A replacement pool roughly the same size would cost at least $4 million.
The study was part of the preliminary work that led to the proposal for the city to spend $81.4 million investing in an aquatics center, a 72,000-square-foot community gym/recreation center and possibly nine additional soccer fields.
The city was moving toward a one cent sales tax proposal to put before the voters when municipal management — unsure of the city’s financial outlook when they came across $60 million in accounting discrepancies — convinced the council instead to pursue an unrestricted general tax increase to bolster the general fund.
Voters rejected the measure. Opposition was led by community members who indicated they would have been more receptive to supporting a tax hike if how the funds could be used was restricted and went toward specific amenities such as youth recreation facilities and public safety.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email firstname.lastname@example.org