Ron Laffranchi was a youngster in the mid-1960s when he learned to swim at the Lincoln Pool.
That was back when Manteca had just under 15,000 residents.
Laffranchi, 57, thinks Manteca is long overdue to build a modern replacement swimming pool considering the Lincoln Pool is older than him and hasn’t been expanded even though the city is rapidly closing in on 80,000 residents.
The majority of the City Council apparently agrees with Laffranchi who serves on the Friends of the Manteca Parks & Recreation foundation board that raises funds every year so low-income children can participate in municipal recreation programs.
Three council members indicated that implementing a strategy to develop a new swimming pool, a community gym/recreation center, and additional sports fields was a priority for them during Tuesday’s workshop to set goals and priorities for the city budget for the upcoming 2018-2019 fiscal year that starting July 1.
The City Council 15 months ago approved the first ever Parks and Recreation Master Plan. A swimming pool, gym/recreation center and more sports fields were identified as top tier priorities in the document.
A proposal to work toward a 2020 vote on taxes to fund the plan was a top priority for at least one council member.
The reason a tax of some type is necessary is due to the sheer cost of what was outlined in the masterplan as well as state laws that limit charging fees om new growth to the cost of facilities they generate a need for a city to build. Increased fees on new housing to help pay for the lion’s share of the projected $75 million tab were put in place in December of 2016.
If all goes according to plan, new housing that will add 44,000 residents by 2036 to push the city’s population to 120,000 will cover $52.1 million of the tab. The $25.7 million question is where will the rest of the money come to cover the balance of the tab. That is where some type of tax — sales, parcel or a property tax to fund a bond — comes into play.
The three top tier projects have an overall cost that could go as high as $43.1 million when the dust settles. Just how much the city would need depends upon various options for projects, penciling out more precise costs, and how much of the overall masterplan for swimming pools and sports fields the City Council might eventually seek to go forward with initially.
The swimming pool is one example of how the costs could vary greatly. It also reflects the array of decisions that the council will need to make in the coming months to allow staff to devise an implementation strategy and determine how much the city would need to raise through a tax.
The plan indicated it would take $2 million to make the 60-year-old plus Lincoln Pool more viable that’s located across from the fire station on Powers Avenue. A replacement pool would cost $4.5 million. The cost of a full-blown aquatics center, the most expensive project in the master plan, was pegged at $11.6 million. The plan also states the city needs two additional swimming pools by 2036 in addition to the existing pool.
The question of whether to upgrade the Lincoln pool, build a replacement pool or go for an aquatics center isn’t the only one that needs to be explored and answered.
After the master plan was adopted council members said the city needed to explore other options connected with swimming pools. Those included whether smaller neighborhood style pools may be the best way to go to provide easier access and whether a joint partnership was feasible with Manteca Unified that may be looking to replace the Manteca High swimming pool that is less than two blocks away as part of modernization and growth plans for the 98-year-old campus.
David Breitenbucher who chairs the Manteca Parks & Recreation Commission and serves as a swim coach, noted the commission is supportive of an effort “to see if residents want — and will support — better recreation services.”
Breitenbucher referenced a number of studies that show community’s with vibrant recreation programs had strong economic vitality, strengthened health of the community, and improved social considerations.
Manteca Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Joanne Beattie noted that many employers rate recreational facilities a community offers as one of the top things they consider when relocating or expanding.
What the Master
Plan says about needs
The Parks & Recreation Master Plan adopted by the council states the city is currently short three soccer fields, 1.03 swimming pools, 0.4 tennis courts, and 2.35 indoor youth basketball courts.
Based on the current inventory of existing municipal recreation facilities, by 2036 Manteca will be short 3.9 softball fields, 11.2 baseball fields, 15.8 soccer fields, 2.02 swimming pools, 4.2 tennis courts, 4.15 indoor youth basketball courts, and 0.6 indoor adult basketball courts. The future facility needs includes school facilities currently available for city use.
The $75 million tab in 2016 dollars includes $15.7 million to upgrade existing facilities including $1 million for senior center renovations and a modest expansion, $11.6 million for an aquatics center, $7.1 million for a gym, $24.6 million for special use parks such as soccer and baseball as well as $15.7 million for community parks.
By the time neighborhood parks that the developers are required to put in place are factored in, a typical new home buyer on Manteca will have the equivalent of $7,164 in park fees collapsed into the price of a home. That includes community park fee for new housing was established at $3,740 for a single family dwelling and $2,612 for every housing unit in multiple-family structures such as apartment complexes or duplexes.
The overall park fee is slightly higher than Lodi at $7,103 and almost the same of Lathrop at $7,188. It is lower than Tracy at $7,557, Patterson at $7,805, and Ripon at $13,842.
The Manteca fee is higher than Modesto at $5,410, Stockton at $3,039, and Turlock at $2,984.