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Another city investment gets OK to build Manteca as visitor destination
This is the approved final design of wayfinding signs that will appear at key Manteca intersections later this year.

Do you know the way to Big League Dreams, the golf course, Bass Pro Shops or downtown for that matter?

Directions to places in the city is a question visitors unfamiliar with Manteca often ask people they come across at gas stations and stores. A surprising number of times clerks often don’t know the answer.

By the fall they’ll be directional signs for those attractions and more.

The Manteca City Council gave the final blessing to an endeavor that will place 46 wayfinding signs at key intersections throughout the city. The cost for the signs and poles comes to $51,910.

It was a project originally started in 2011 but then stalled. It was revived last year when Great Wolf — in a bid not just to direct guests to their 500-room indoor water park resort now under construction but also to help their guests find other Manteca attractions — said such signs were critical to the success of drawing visitors.

BLD currently brings in 400,000 plus people a year to Manteca, primarily through weekend tournaments that attract people from throughout Northern California and sometimes Nevada on the weekend. Bass Pro Shops draws over 2 million vistors a year from a 100-mile radius with more than 98 percent of their customers from out-of-town. When Great Wolf Resort opens in late spring of 2020 they will lure a projected 500,000 people to Manteca.

Between those three attractions alone, Manteca will have 3 million people annually driving to the city with the intent to spend money, have fun or do both. The $51,910 is not only an investment in making sure they can reach their destinations as easily as possible but to also potentially get those visitors to seek out other attractions.

The signs will be red white and blue made of 80 mil aluminum placed on black poles designed to duplicate the look of the decorative downtown street lights. The letters will be 3 inches high for better visibility. Due to the need to reduce the size of the signs from what was initially envisioned due to wind concerns, there will be no imagery on the back signs nor will the city logo be placed there.

Manteca is on the verge of becoming the largest year-round regional draw for “tourist dollars” in the Northern San Joaquin Valley. The opening of the Great Wolf Resort indoor waterpark with the largest hotel ever built in the Central Valley will mean even more visitors than what they draw if what has happened near other resorts the firm has built elsewhere is repeated in Manteca.

Manteca has long sought to develop a strong tourism segment the economy that centers on “staycations” that are short-vacations within a region where people live that requires overnight stays. Most of the teams that play in BLD tournaments fill up hotels in Manteca and adjoining communities. A small number of Bass Pro Shops guests overnight. Great Wolf will have its own hotel. Company representatives have made it clear that a large number of their guests at other resorts they operate tend to access other attractions in the area during their stay whether its golf courses, wineries, theaters, bowling alleys, shopping or other dining options than the resort offers.

The conference center that Great Wolf is planning with an outdoor pavilion for events such as cheer competitions doesn’t require booking a room at the resort to use. It is why other hotels often are built near a Great Wolf after they are up and running.

Great Wolf alone will create 500 tourism related jobs including 250 that are fulltime. A 101-room Staybridge Suites is now being pursued near Great Wolf at Daniels Street and Fishback Road.

Overnight tourism dollars are a significant source of revenue for the city’s general fund that covers the cost of day-to-day municipal operations. 

Hotel room taxes collected by the City of Manteca are expected to grow 30.7 percent from $1,321,000 this year to $1,726,770 in the fiscal year starting July 1

The boost is almost all attributable to a decision by voters in November 2018 to increase the city’s room tax for the first time in 27 years from 9 to 12 percent. The estimated $1,321,000 the city expects to receive in room taxes in the current year ending June 30 reflects only three months of the higher tax.

Room tax receipts have been growing by double digits for the past five years prior to the increased rate due to increased occupancy and higher room rate charges. The room tax receipts totaled $912,685 in the 2015-2016 fiscal year.

The opening of Great Wolf in mid-2020 will bring a significant increase in room tax revenue for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. Based on historic 70 percent occupancy figures for its resorts Great Wolf expected to collect $4,237,000 in annual room taxes at the previous 9 percent rate. The additional 3 percent tax will generate $1,412,333 more in room taxes.

All of the increase from the taking the tax from 9 to 12 percent will go to the city

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email