The Manteca Chamber of Commerce is hoping to jump start efforts to erect new welcome signs at key entrances to the city.
A chamber committee led by businessman Marvin Brocchini is exploring possible designs and locations.
Chamber Chief Operating Officer Debby Moorhead noted once those questions are answered and the cost determined plans are to launch a fundraising campaign to get the signs in place.
The last of the three original welcome to Manteca signs the chamber erected in the 1980s was removed from its location along Moffat Boulevard last month. Like the signs that were located at one time on East Highway 120 and West Yosemite Avenue just west of Winters Drive, it had fallen into disrepair.
The city had budgeted $200,000 in Manteca Redevelopment Agency funds back in 2011 to cover wayfaring signs and an electronic display/welcome sign proposed in front of the South San Joaquin Irrigation District office on East Highway 120.
The City of Manteca at that time devised a conceptual design for a 20-foot high, 8½-foot wide sign with an electronic display sign.
‘The demise of redevelopment agencies ordered a year ago by the California Legislature as a partial solution to the state’s perennial budget deficits eliminated RDA funding.
The city, however, has about $40 million in unspent RDA bond proceeds it is expected to receive back from the state. It can only use that money on projects identified in the issuance of bonds. The signs would have been paid from tax increment collections that were not needed to pay back the RDA bonds.
Moorhead, who is also a City Council member, understands the city doesn’t have the funding for the signs. She would, though, like to see consideration for funding at such time the city is in position to do so.
City Manager Karen McLaughlin confirmed there is no money for signs.
McLaughlin noted a lot of effort and thought from community groups went into the wayfaring sign design as well as the potential locations. . The 44 signs were expected to cost $40,000 in 2011.
The goal of the wayfaring signs is to get visitors, who often stay overnight in motels, easy directions to reach other places in town where they may be willing to spend money.
The destinations that signs would list include downtown, the civic center, library, golf course, Big League Dreams, courthouse, BMX, historical museum, Chamber of Commerce, lifestyle outlets, post office, skate park, hospital, ACE train station, Woodward Park, Highway 120, Manteca Visitors Center, and Delicato Vineyards wine tasting room. Specific names of a private business such as Delicato won’t be used, though. Instead the signs would simply say “winery” accompanied by a directional arrow.