By DENNIS WYATT
Some people see simply a nondescript, 37-foot high and 150-foot in diameter water tank going up within view of Highway 99 in southeast Manteca.
Manteca Councilman Vince Hernandez sees a canvas to tell the world about Manteca, give the city an identity, and create a lasting legacy at the same time.
“If we’re going to do something we need to do it right,” Hernandez said of a staff proposal suggesting the council may want to dress up the tank given its location.
Hernandez thought one of the best local resources for converting the tank into a billboard of sorts was the Manteca Mural Society. He added they might want to include a mural on the tank with city assistance.
The general public will get a chance to give their input about what — if any — graphic design will go on the side of the 3.7 million gallon tank now going up on Atherton Drive just north of Woodward Avenue. The council voted Tuesday night to create a citizens committee with one council representative to come up with two ideas for the council ultimately to decide between. The committee will have four weeks to come up with the ideas.
Councilman Steve DeBrum agreed with Hernandez but wanted to make sure the tank is made as graffiti proof as possible, DeBrum believes the city will save money in the long run by making sure at least the lower portion of the tank is covered with a coating that makes graffiti difficult to put in place and easy to remove.
“Security and keeping if free of graffiti (are the big things for me),” DeBrum said.
Public Works Director Mark Houghton indicated he’ll look into coatings designed to fight graffiti. He also noted there will be a 13-foot high sound wall along the track portion that will be coated for graffiti protection as well as six-foot sound walls to the north and south. The side facing Atherton Drive will have a wrought iron fence with landscaping. There also will be security cameras as there are at all municipal water facilities.
The surrounding fences means the only portion of the tank that will be visible to motorists will be the top 17 feet or so.
While the cost of the paint is included in the project a graphic design isn’t. Houghton said “it wouldn’t be cheap” and noted the cost of a graphic design could range from “$50,000 to $100,000” when asked about price by Councilman John Harris.
Houghton added that was a “ballpark” estimate as actual cost estimations had not been retained.
Several months ago during a Lathrop City Council discussion about placing a flag along their water tank visible from Interstate 5, staff supplied a cost estimate from a design firm of $15,000.
Harris commented that the higher numbers were “a little bit out of my ballpark.”
The cost of any graphic design on the Manteca tank would be covered from fees collected from growth and through water maintenance and operation fees.
The council is also considering placing graphics of some type on top of the tank making it visible for Internet users of services such as Google Maps or people flying over.
By DENNIS WYATT