Manteca dipped into its special funds “savings” and used stimulus funds to go on a $20.1 million investment spree during 2011.
It included building a new animal shelter ($2.1 million), starting work on a new vehicle maintenance building ($4.7 million), launching the 2.5-mile long Woodward Avenue sewer pipeline and street project ($9 million), expanding Library Park ($894,000), and completing the HOPE Family Shelter upgrade and renovation ($1.2 million).
The city also secured $2.3 million in federal stimulus funds that can only go toward highway landscaping to spruce up the 120 Bypass and Highway 99 corridors. Work on that effort is now under way.
That brings the total of major Manteca public works endeavors completed or that got underway in 2011 to $20.2 million.
The batch of projects is the result of a directive of the City Council to take advantage of low construction costs, create needed jobs, and to stretch money as far as possible.
All of the projects were funded with money that would be illegal to use to soften the cushion of the economic turn and foreclosure mess on the general fund that provides the means to run day-to-day municipal operations such as public safety, parks, and streets.
There were cases where the primary funding source didn’t have all of the necessary money in the account. When that happened the city borrowed money within legal constraints in other special funds such as redevelopment that will be paid back with interest from growth fees.
Manteca isn’t out of major public improvement projects it can roll out and pay for without borrowing.
The City Council set the stage in 2011 for finally starting actual construction of the $7.3 million transit station at Moffat Boulevard and South Main Street.
When all is said and done, Manteca will have invested $27.5 million in 2011 and 2012 in public works improvements. Of that, more than half or $16.5 million will have been poured into the central district within a nine block area.
The section process is now under way for the firms that will oversee the final drafting of plans and construction. A contract is expected to be awarded before February.
It will encompasses a traditional look with brick veneer as a primary building component.
The design is an effort to blend into the more traditional downtown buildings as well as to draw the Moffat Boulevard corridor and the central district together. The city has a long-range goal of upgrading Moffat as a small business park/retail corridor connecting with Spreckels Park and development planned further to the south such as Oak Valley Community Bank’s envisioned six-story office tower.
The station includes meeting rooms and public plaza in an effort to stimulate more activity downtown. The rooms will be available for rent to the general public. The structure will also house administrative offices for the Manteca Transit system.
Should future rail service include a stop in Manteca, the project is being designed to allow the addition of a passenger platform.
The odds are nil that California High Speed Rail or Amtrak would ever stop in Manteca but the chances are good that ACE trains will use the station when service is extended to Modesto and Merced.
What transit station design will entail
The $7.3 million for the project consists of restricted transit related funds including $4.5 million in federal stimulus money, plus $1.8 million in state bond money and $1 million in Measure K transit taxes.
The 7,000-square-foot station will be accompanied by a 100-space parking lot on 3.1 acres. The plan also calls for allowing on-street parking along Moffat.
The site plan calls for a public plaza to the west and north of the actual transit station. There will be a separate entrance near Grant Street for dropping off passengers that includes a roundabout for turning around. Once past the roundabout commuters can access the parking lot. The same parking can be accessed from the eastern edge of the transit site.
Busses will enter directly across from Grant Street and then loop back to Lincoln Avenue. In between there will be space for five buses to load and unload.
Federal stimulus funds will be used to install a fiber optic cable to run from the transit station to the Civic Center at a cost of $300,000.
The fiber optic cable will provide the backbone for park security cameras that are going in at Southside and Library parks as well as to connect with safety cameras that will be put in place at various bus stops along the city’s transit system for improved security at a cost of $133,400. The security cameras for bus stops as well as the ability to build 10 to 15 bus shelters complete with benches, trash receptacles, and improved signage at most Manteca Transit stops at a cost of $1,353,798 is also being funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.