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Tracy waterpark won’t impact Great Wolf
Rendering of the aquatics center/waterpark being built in Tracy.

Tracy is getting a $45 million hybrid aquatics center/waterpark in exchange for allowing a developer to build 2,250 homes.

The aquatics center/waterpark won’t impact Great Wolf Lodge that has started work on a 500-room hotel, indoor waterpark, conference center, and family entertainment complex in Manteca on 30 acres west of Costco along the 120 Bypass. That’s because Great Wolf is a destination resort tied into room rentals. The complex being built by Ellis Development on Corral Hollow Road and then being turned over to that city will consist of an outdoor competition swimming pool and an indoor warm water pool as well as a whirlpool spa. It will also include features you’d find at outdoor waterparks such as waterslides, water play features, play lagoon and 1,000 linear feet of moving water for a river experience.

Ground is expected to break on the Tracy project next summer with a targeted opening in 2021. Great Wolf will open in mid-2020.

Manteca Mayor Steve DeBrum said the Tracy project could impact how extensive of an aquatics center Manteca ultimately pursues.

An aquatics center along with a community gym and additional sports fields have been identified as the top three priorities in the City of Manteca’s recently adopted Parks and Recreation master plan. Those facilities will have a price tag in excess of $40 million.

DeBrum favors having Manteca look at all options — especially a joint facility with Manteca Unified at Manteca High — that would serve both the school district and the city. DeBrum noted it makes no sense that the same taxpayers would essentially be hit twice to build duplicate facilities that have no overlap in use. Swimming pools are not used in the summer by the high schools nor are they used during the school year by city recreation programs.

A consultant has placed a preliminary price tag of $12 million on a basic aquatics center for Manteca.

The city has had inquiries in the past from firms interested in building a Raging Waters style outdoor waterpark adjacent to the Big League Dreams complex.

Such a combination in Mansfield, Texas — a BLD sports complex paired with a Hawaiian Falls water park — has been enjoying substantial success.

It is not unusual once a major destination water park such as Great Wolf locates in an area that similar resorts as well as more traditional outdoor water parks follow.

The Dells in Wisconsin, as an example, has four massive indoor water parks and five outdoor water parks.

The agreement with Great Wolf prohibits Manteca for the next 25 years from providing financial incentives for any development that includes more than 5,000 square feet of indoor water park space. It does not restrict other waterparks such as a Raging Waters or even one of its destination business competitors such as Kalahari Waterparks that was at one time in negotiations for more than 30 acres from the city to build in Manteca.

Tracy plans to use revenue from the water park being built along the Corral Hollow Road to help offset some of the costs of running the auqatics center.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email