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New city hall not high on list
Mayor prefers projects that serve needs of citizens
Manteca Mayor Willie Weatherford is shown at a recent community event. - photo by HIME ROMERO/ The Bulletin

Mayor Willie Weatherford notes that some cities build grandiose city halls that conjure up images of the Taj Mahal.

But he notes that’s not the style of Manteca’s current or past city councils.

Instead, they see government as providing tangible services for citizens first and foremost.

It is why for the 17 years that he’s been on the council — including the past 11 years as mayor — that proposals to build a new city hall that could run in excess of $30 million have never advanced very far on the priority list.

That has allowed city’s capital money to be directed into projects that benefit people the most and enable the city employees to deliver the best possible services to city residents.

In the past year such projects have included a new public works vehicle maintenance shop to replace a 70-year plus dilapidated facility as well as the new transit station on Moffat Boulevard.

The list for recent years includes the Big League Dreams sports complex, Woodward Park improvements, the Library Park renovation and expansion, the new animal shelter, major sewer and storm line upgrades, road projects such as the Industrial Park Drive extension, renovation of the HOPE Family Shelter, updating the Moffat Boulevard corridor, and various park renovations.

In 2014, he expects another project — the conversion of Morenzone Field into a youth baseball complex to allow that facility to be utilized fully— to join the list.

And while it would be nice to have a new city hall, Weatherford noted there is a master plan for the existing site that should be revisited. He also noted that the city should also consider possible purchase of buildings they are now leasing near the 1001 West Center St. campus.

While the downsizing forced by the Great Recession took some pressure off space needs, Weatherford noted that changing technology has made it less critical to have all city employees in one big building.

He’d rather see the city continue to looking for ways to make the civic center serve a growing population while concentrating big expenditures on projects that improve the quality of life in Manteca.