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Return of Manteca Waterslides?
Water park could go next to BLD
BLD-Hawaiian Falls-03 2
The Hawaiian Falls water park is next to the Big League Dreams sports complex in Mansfield, Texas. - photo by Photo Contributed

The next big thing in Manteca to attract visitors could make a big splash.

The Manteca Redevelopment Agency – if it secures the blessing of the City Council – could undertake a feasibility study that is the first step in the process to shop Manteca to waterpark developers as the site for their next investment. The council sitting as the RDA commission on Tuesday is being asked to approve spending $27,700 in agency funds to retain AECOM to perform the study. The council meets at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.

Possible sites are on city owned property adjacent to the Big League Dreams sports complex or next to a hotel that the city is seeking a developer to build directly across from the BLD complex on the northwest corner of Airport Way and Daniels Street. That location is adjacent to the site the Board of Supervisors has approved for a future South County administrative center for county services.

A similar BLD-water park project in Mansfield, Texas has proven to be a winning combination. It too was built in a private/public partnership.

City leaders believe building a water park is a perfect fit with the Hook, Wine & Sneakers theme based on outdoor sports, wine tasting, and recreation sports that the Manteca Convention & Visitors Bureau is using to lure people to Manteca.

Bass Pro Shops had 2.7 million visitors in 2009 and the BLD complex 400,000 thanks to tournaments every weekend of the year. The upscale outlet malls now under construction at The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley that Bass Pro Shops anchors is expected to even attract more visitors.

The original Manteca Waterslides was located on the western end of Woodward Avenue. For years it was Manteca’s biggest drawing card. The waterslides closed in 2004 and was torn down to make room for the gated lake community dubbed Oakwood Shores that went into foreclosure after about a dozen homes were built.

Almost anyone who lived in Manteca during the 30 years the Brown family’s venture was making a big splash has a story to tell of running into people while traveling – whether in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, or even Paris - who had heard of Manteca due to the waterslides.

It was a popular stop in the summer for those traveling to and from Yosemite to San Francisco for domestic and foreign tourists alike did more to promote Manteca and leave an impression with people from throughout Northern California except for one man – the late Bobby Davis.

Davis is the man that made Manteca famous with his signature cigar tipping sign-off for Manteca RV & Trailer while shouting the words “Maaan-teee-kaa!”

Even with Bass Pro Shops and Big League Dreams it is arguable that there are a lot more people who think “waterslides” when you say Manteca than anything else.

Manteca was actually the birthplace of waterslides in California. The original ones were poured from concrete and were inspired during a trip to Hawaii the Brown family made why trying to figure out what to do with the huge hole in the ground on their property created by the use of dirt to build up travel lanes on Interstate 5 through Lathrop.