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Park on the grow
Library Park expansion almost complete
A member of the crew working on the Library Park expansion and improvement project is framed by one of the circular entrances on this domed play equipment. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO

Four-year-old Madison Ford had the playground at Library Park to herself during the noon hour on Friday.

Up she went on the steps in the colorful jungle gym in the middle of the bark-filled play area, and down she went on the yellow slides under the watchful eye of her sister Haley sitting on one of the metal benches in this corner of the Library Park.

The only other people seen around at the park across from the Manteca Public Library were some half-dozen men working behind the cyclone fence enclosures. Their work is the ongoing expansion and improvement of the Library Park to the tune of $1.6 million. The park expansion was made possible by ripping out a segment of Poplar Avenue and a property swap with Verizon.

Much of the work involved is done or almost done. The new concrete and metal gazebo next to the amphitheater portion of the project is complete. It replaces the wooden structure that was built in honor of the late Manteca developer and philanthropist Antone Raymus next to the library parking lot along Poplar Avenue.

Additional metal benches also are already in place, along with the colorful domed play area next to the jungle gym. This domed unit, while it’s in place, is still off limits to the public with several orange notices hanging on its sides that read, “DANGER – Keep Off.”

On Friday, a truck-load of rolled sod was delivered at the park. Some of the grass is already in place. The new delivery was going to the areas on the north side of the water feature under the canopy of the majestic sycamore trees.

The project, which is funded by redevelopment money plus park fees paid by developers when they are issued permits to build new homes, is targeted for completion and opening by the time the popular annual Pumpkin Fair in downtown Manteca rolls around in early October.

The new attractions at the improved and expanded Library Park – which include the closed-off portion of Poplar Avenue on the south side of Center Street – will also include the following:

•a baseball plaza with commemorative tiles and seats next to the 28-foot-wide gazebo,

•a bocce ball court,

•a tot lot,

•a history walkway on the west side of the park where a series of murals by local artists will be displayed, plus,

•another playground for older children.