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New home for Manteca VFW
Community center may cost less to build
VFW SITE2 9-18-14
The Manteca Community Center serving as a Veterans of Foreign Wars post hall is planned for land immediately west of the Moffat Boulevard Park. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

Manteca’s Veterans of Foreign Wars post may have a home after all.

And it arguably will be in a better location and will cost significantly less to build.

The City Council this week instructed staff to proceed with plans for a 3,000-sqquare foot building dubbed the “Moffat Community Center” that will serve as a long-term home for the VFW Post.

The new site is on Moffat Boulevard immediately west of the small park/storm drain across the street from Eckert’s Cold Storage.

Mayor Willie Weatherford indicated staff is working with American Modular, the Manteca-based firm on Spreckels Avenue that provides pre-fabricated solutions as well as portable classrooms for schools and businesses throughout the state.

“It (the building) will help support Manteca jobs and it will require significantly less money,” said Weatherford, who expects the project to be brought back to the council in a little over 30 days to get construction rolling.

The mayor noted the building could employ cutting edge Gen 7 “net zero” technology that American Modular uses to build strictures that essentially do not require the purchase of electricity to operate most of the time. It is accomplished through roof-mounted solar panels and passive design features.

The city had planned on building a more traditional structure on the southeast corner of the Moffat Boulevard and Industrial Park Drive/Spreckels Avenue intersection. Staff estimated the costs at under $1 million. Bids came back at nearly $2 million due to the fact construction has picked up and there were other costs related to the site including storm drains, extending sewer and water lines, sidewalks, curbs, gutters, and even power lines that needed to be put in place.

Weatherford noted the new site already has storm drains, sidewalks, curbs, and gutters in place along with being a matter of connecting to power, water, and sewer lines. The site is also deeper.

Those existing improvements in themselves will save hundreds of thousands of dollars off the cost and could get the project below $800,000. The funding sources are bonus bucks collected for sewer allocation certainty from new home builders.

Besides having adequate space for off-street parking, there is also on-street parking available which would not be the case at the original site.

The building will include an office, restrooms, dining area, bar, kitchen, assembly area, and storage.

The mayor noted the park/storm basin could be used to tie into events at the community hall.

The park/storm retention basin is on a list of locations being considered for a dog park that the council has promised to move forward in the coming year. The other locations are the unimproved storm basin non Commerce Court behind Home Depot and next to the Ford small parts distribution center and the northeast corner of Woodward Park.

Community hall would

push city investment

along Moffat to $9M

The community hall is being developed on land leftover after development of the bikeway on right of way the city purchased 20 years ago from the now defunct Tidewater Southern Railway that served Manteca for years along with the Southern Pacific that was taken over years ago by the Union Pacific.

It will push Manteca’s investment in revitalizing the Moffat Boulevard corridor over the past decade to nearly $9 million. The former southern Highway 99 entrance to Manteca at one time was viewed as the city’s seediest section. The investment includes a transit station, the BMX track, sidewalks with curbs and gutters, storm system upgrades complete with a retention basin that doubles as a mini-park, and overlaying the street.

The project is not replacing the community center that civic leaders have addressed as a long-term municipal project for Manteca. Nor will the building be for the exclusive use of the VFW.

The lease the City Council executed with the Jimmie Connors VFW Post notes the structure will be a public building. It will be available for rent by the public when it is not being used for its primary purpose of serving veterans groups and veterans events.

The lease is for $1 a year for 20 years. There are two 10-pyear options for renewal. The VFW will have first right of refusal to purchase the building and property if the city should decide at the end of the lease to sell.

The VFW will be responsible for all insurance, utilities, maintenance and operations connected with the building and the site as a whole.

It will mark the first time the VFW Post has had its own building to serve as its home. The VFW current shares space with the American Legion at that organization’s building next to PG&E in the 200 block of East Yosemite Avenue.