The 33.4 acres that the South San Joaquin Irrigation District purchased in 2012 as the future headquarters site once they enter the retail electric business is available for short-term leasing to grow crops.
The existing lease on the land on the northwest corner of Louise Avenue and Austin Road expires Dec. 31. Pumpkins were grown most recently at the location.
Growers interested need to submit bids for one to three years for use of the acreage by Friday, Dec. 20, at 10 a.m.
The site is about a mile from its existing office location on busy East Highway 120 just east of Austin Road.
The existing headquarters is too small for current operations. District officials in 2012 were are also concerned about SSJID trucks and heavy equipment having to run across heavily traveled Highway 120.
Should the SSJID get the go ahead to enter the retail power business in its bid to reduce rates by 15 percent across the board within its service territory, a combined retail and water corporation yard and support staff would require a more expansive complex as opposed to one just serving irrigation needs.
The board at the time also talked about building a new headquarters at the site even if they did not end up in the retail power business due to safety issues with the current complex along Highway 120.
Whatever is developed, the district plans to provide an earthen berm with extensive landscaping to block view of the structures and the maintenance year from the view of nearby homes.
After buying the site, the district said part of it could be used for demonstration projects for the efficient application of water for various crops and orchards.
The actual yard where trucks and other equipment and parked was envisioned to be tucked away in the far northeast corner of the parcel where it borders orchards. The main access to the yard would be along the northern and eastern edge of the parcel. On the east the road would go atop a buried pipeline that replaced an open canal to the east of a fenced off pump station for the surface water system that delivers water to Manteca, Tracy, and Lathrop.
The proposed site has a four-way stop at the corner. The yard driveway would not have to deal with heavy commute traffic nor traffic moving at 55 mph or faster such as in front of the existing SSJID headquarters.
If the district does locate on the 33.4-acre site, they would add the proper turning lanes as part of the project.
The actual headquarters would be closer to the corner with a public parking lot. Currently the district doesn’t get that many people who come by the SSJID office. If the district does enter the retail power business, they plan to place customer service centers in Manteca, Ripon, and Escalon where the bulk of the population they would serve is located
Based on current and short-term needs, the district needs 17 acres. The site is almost twice that size of the current location. That means there is room for growth.
The SSJID originally made an offer to buy the land due to large amounts of dirt they had left on it after working on converting the nearby water canal to a buried pipeline.
The site is central to the SSJID service area.
You can reach it from the Ripon area via Austin Road or Manteca and Escalon via Louise Avenue. It works well for water customers who are primarily farmers as well as future retail power customers.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org