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RDA may expand into newer neighborhoods
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Six years ago “McMansions” – 3,800-square-foot-plus tract homes – were selling for over $680,000 in the new neighborhoods on the southeast quadrant of the Airport Way and Highway 120 Bypass interchange.

Many were sold with virtually every possible architectural gingerbread add on. The landscaping was lush as well.

Today, many of those homes have fallen into disrepair thanks to the foreclosure crisis. The landscaping - including the grass - is often dead and sometimes poses serious fire hazards. The homes across the board are selling for 50 to 60 percent less than they were at the market’s peak.

It is here among streets named for birds and flowers that one of California’s first redevelopment areas to rise from the residential foreclosure crisis may be put in place.

The city’s goal is to harness RDA to fight residential blight similar to a program Stockton has launched to revitalize neighborhoods via street upgrades, park renovation and other projects aimed at reversing deterioration and pumping up economic development.

The Manteca Planning Commission is considering that neighborhood and 10 others for inclusion in the city’s third redevelopment project when they meet Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.

The 11 neighborhoods are where more than 700 foreclosures occurred in 2008 and 2009.

Several of the neighborhoods were developed in the past 10 years.

Redevelopment agencies are allowed under state law established in the 1950s to fight blight and spur economic development. They work by capturing a set percentage of revenue from property tax increments the year they are formed. State laws require a chunk of the RDA property taxes to go to school districts with the state making sure school districts are kept whole.

The city has used the economic clout of the RDA for a wide repertoire of things from helping convert the shuttered Spreckels Sugar plant into a teeming 362-acre multi-use development dubbed as Spreckels Park to assisting in the development of subsidized housing for low-income seniors.

The general definitions of the areas being studied are as follows:

•The neighborhoods southeast of the Highway 120 Bypass and Airport Way interchange.

•The area where the 300-unit Tesoro apartments have been approved for construction on the northeast corner of Van Ryn Avenue and Atherton Drive.

•The neighborhood on the east side of North Main Street between the Highway 99 off ramp and Lathrop Road.

•Homes surrounding Calvary Community Church on the north side of Lathrop Road.

•Neighborhoods bounded on the west by the railroad tracks, on the south by Alameda Street, on the north of Louise Avenue, and the east of Main Street including Mayors Park as well as portions of the neighborhoods immediately north of Louise Avenue between the railroad tracks and Main Street.

•The neighborhood bounded on the west by the Tidewater Bikeway, on the north by Lathrop Road, the east by Main Street, and the south by Joseph Road.

•The neighborhood on the northeast quadrant of the Louise Avenue crossing of Highway 99.

•The neighborhood bounded by Main Street, Yosemite Avenue, Lincoln School, and Moffat Boulevard.

•The eastern half of the Magna Terra neighborhood behind Doctors Hospital bounded by Cottage Avenue, Highway 99, and North Street.

•A rural area along South Austin Road.

There are other neighborhoods with extensive foreclosures but they are already within the established RDA project area boundaries.