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Sacramento vote may trip up Great Wolf plans
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A vote in Sacramento today could hamper efforts to bring a major resort to Manteca.

The California Legislature is tentatively scheduled to vote on Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget plan that includes killing 400-plus redevelopment agencies - including ones serving Manteca and Ripon - and shifting the funds to Sacramento to help cover a $26 billion budget gap expected for the fiscal year starting July 1.

The California Redevelopment Association has been advocating several alternatives that would keep redevelopment agencies in place but would divert partial funds to the state. The association contends their proposals would be legal under Proposition 26 while Brown’s plan wouldn’t. Proposition 26 was passed by the voters and was designed to block the state from seizing local funds to balcony the state budget.

Manteca City Manager Steve Pinkerton noted the vote today could impact efforts to secure Great Wolf Resort on city-owned property. While he didn’t elaborate, the city is considering using RDA funds to help make the project possible with the most likely scenario being investment in infrastructure - street, sewer and water - that would also open another 100 acres of city-owned property to development as a family entertainment center.

The proposal as outlined by Great Wolf Resorts involves a two-phase development on city-owned land immediately west of Costco along the Highway 120 Bypass that would see a six-story, 600-room hotel, the water park expanded to 110,000 square feet making it just smaller than the Manteca Target Store, and a 60,000-quare-foot conference center. The project could ultimately represent a $200 million investment in Manteca, add 500 permanent jobs, draw 400,000 visitors annually, create 1,000 construction jobs, and cement Manteca as a legitimate tourist attraction.

Manteca could see the opening of a first phase project consisting of a 70,000-square-foot indoor water park, a 400-room resort hotel, and a conference center that ultimately will rival Modesto’s in size by as early as late 2012. The complex would be for guests only although Great Wolf makes accommodations for local access in each of their markets.

And if the numbers don’t work out, there are at least two other firms that want to build standard water parks similar to Raging Waters at Cal Expo in Sacramento who are interested in partnering with the RDA to construct a complex adjacent to the BLD facility.