By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Three artists selected to help develop murals
Foreman Cando Lario, right, of Suarez Munoz Construction keeps an eye on Rafa Chavez while working on the rebar for a 260-foor section of sidewalk that the city is dubbing “The Mural Walk” that’s part of the Library Park expansion. - photo by HIME ROMERO
Library Park could be the pièce de résistance for the Manteca Mural Society.

The expansion now under way will incorporate five 8-foot-high murals with the longest being 105 feet wide. When completed visitors will be able to view six of the Manteca Historical Society’s murals by walking around Library Park including “Manteca Snow” depicting the almond blossom season located on the backside of a building directly across Manteca Avenue.

Tom Wilson of the Mural Society noted three of the artists have already been selected including two Manteca residents - Jessie Marinas and Kari Pasquini. The third artist is Dave Gordon of Santa Rosa who has served as technical advisor to the group since its formation. Among murals in Manteca that Gordon designed and was the primary artist on are the society’s original mural “Crossroads” depicting Manteca in 1917 on the eastern facing wall of Century Furniture in the 100 block of South Main Street and the “Cruising” mural in the 100 block of North Main Street on the northern facing wall of Accent Carpets.

Gordon will do the largest of the murals that is being developed as a salute to Manteca baseball history since at one time a ball field was located where Library Park is today.

A 260-foot long sidewalk is going in on the western edge of the park is dubbed “The Mural Walk.” Four 35-foot long murals depicting four subject areas - the Yokuts Indians, Manteca pioneers, Manteca industry, and Manteca agriculture - will go along a masonry wall that is already in place. Landscaping designed to help cover the gaps in the wall between the murals will be planted as well.

“Library Park will be the showcase of downtown,” Wilson said not just in reference to the mural portion but the overall project.

The baseball history plaza just off the Tidewater Bike Path and directly behind Verizon will contain three benches with the seating surface consisting of custom tiles the city hopes to have images of old photographs of teams and games at the baseball field etched into them.  That is where the mural Gordon is designing will be placed

A new gazebo will also go along the Tidewater just west of the interactive water play feature that was installed two years ago. It will include amphitheatre-style seating for about 80 people with additional seating on the grass.

Where the previous gazebo stage was located a bocce ball court and additional open space will be created.

Additional children’s playground equipment will be added plus additional “box car” benches that play off the water feature’s theme plus 12 new round picnic tables.

Work is expected to be completed by September.

Funding is from three sources - redevelopment agency funds, park fees paid by new growth, and federal Community Development Grant Block funds since the park serves nearby low-income neighborhoods as well as doubling as a community plaza.

The city has pumped more than $2 million into the park over the past eight years including the water feature, the land swamp and utility relocation that allowed the park to double to 1.33 acres, restrooms, and the playground equipment and lighting.

The design of the park and the elements included was the result of several years of input from the neighborhood, downtown merchants, and the community at large.