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RDA key to major retail, employment growth
Big League Dreams would not have been built without redevelopment agency funds. - photo by HIME ROMERO/ The Bulletin
 Big League Dreams, Bass Pro Shops, and Costco all top the list of recent projects that wouldn’t have been possible without the assistance of infrastructure funding from the Manteca Redevelopment Agency.

Nor would Spreckels Park - a 362-acre mixed-use development built on the site of the former Spreckels Sugar plant- have happened. It was made possible by a $1 million RDA investment and more than $5 million in loans that was repaid early to cover the costs of the new necessary infrastructure.

 “When you look at what RDA has done, you can count Spreckels Park, Big League Dreams and the stadium center, and the Bass Pro Shops – a major tool in the arsenal of any city,” Manteca Planning Commissioner Bobby Shaw said at Tuesday’s meeting.

Tuesday’s meeting was part of an ongoing grassroots effort by redevelopment agencies to both educate the public and enlist support in fighting Sacramento’s attempt at raiding RDA funds to help offset the massive budget deficit. This has been the ninth time since 1992 that the state has dipped into the funding in order to help regulate its financial mess.

Originally designed to fight problems of urban decay in areas that were considered “blighted,” RDA in recent years has been used for a variety of construction projects that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.

And according to City Manager Steve Pinkerton, the system is now being looked at as a way of targeting new neighborhoods that were hit hard by the foreclosure crisis and have yet to recover.

“I think that it’s the single biggest influx into the city budget outside of the general fund,” Pinkerton said. “All of these jobs – dollars – could be somewhere else if it weren’t for this program.

“Right now it’s about considering which neighborhoods to include in the next round by the committee. We’ve had huge portions of our neighborhoods hit hard by the foreclosure crisis, and since we’ve had investors come in and buy up the property. Hopefully this will put some more money into the programs that need money, because everything costs money and there are people out there who need to be helped out.”