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Mayor points to economic gains, green initiatives & homeless effort
Manteca Mayor Steve DeBrum, right, is greeted by Mike Anderson who serves as an aide with Congressman Jeff Denham during Wednesdays inaugural State of the City program for Manteca. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

It was one of the biggest applause lines of Mayor Steve DeBrum’s State of the City address and it spoke volumes about Manteca.
Sixty-two homeless individuals have been reunited with their families or have been placed in rehabilitation programs since July.
The point underscored the assertion by elected leaders that “The Family City” is more than just a brand dreamed up by a committee or a consultant. Instead it goes directly to the root of Manteca’s appeal for employers seeking to locate operations in communities where they can rely on a solid and content workforce. Creating a community conducive to all families being able to live, work and play is just as important to Manteca’s elected leaders as landing another 2.2 million acre feet of business park space.
DeBrum, speaking before nearly 200 Wednesday morning at Manteca’s first ever State of the City program at the Transit Center, doesn’t just talk — he does the walk. His long list of hands-on volunteer community endeavors over the years that ranges from chairing the Sunrise Kiwanis Pumpkin Fair and serving in various capacities supporting the Boys & Girls Club to being a past president of both the Manteca Chamber of Commerce and Manteca Convention and Visitors Bureau backs that up.
But as DeBrum himself said this isn’t about him or his four fellow council members that craft and adopt policies that make Manteca work and move forward. It is about 75,000 people who call Manteca home.
It is why Manteca has hired two community resource officers for the Manteca Police Department to try and deal with the growing issue of homelessness when it comes to both those individuals’ future and quality of life issues for the community.
It is a challenge to find any other community Manteca’s size in the mega-region that orbits around San Jose and San Francisco that has taken such a pro-active and focused approach to the homeless.
To be clear, the address DeBrum delivered would be the envy of any mayor of a community under 120,000 residents when it comes to economic progress and innovative municipal strides at keeping the cost of government down while deploying cutting edge green initiatives.
The mayor made two significant announcements during his address. One is the fact Poag & McEwen is preparing to sell The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley to allow other shopping center operators the opportunity to move the complex forward.
The other is news that the adding of an additional merge lane from eastbound 120 Bypass to southbound Highway 99 and associated upgrades is being fast tracked. The interchange that plays a critical role in the Northern San Joaquin Valley economy also lays claim to having the most deadly stretch of freeway in the 209 feeding into it along the 120 Bypass due to the existing traffic flow.
Caltrans goal is to start physical work in late 2018 or early 2019 or more than two years in advance of what regional leaders hoped for just a year ago. The project wasn’t even on the 15-years list until DeBrum and other Manteca leaders started working with elected leaders throughout the region stressing that most of the deaths, injuries, and traffic delays were impacting residents from throughout Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties.
The list of city accomplishments of the past year and what is in play for the near future that were pointed out by DeBrum:
u551 Tactical broke ground Monday on a new 404,657-square-foot distribution center at CenterPoint Business Park with a possible second phase of 123,450 square feet for expansion.
uCenterPoint is also moving forward with a 600,000-square-foot distribution center adjacent to the 5.11 Tactical site that includes a 552,000-square-foot expansion.
uPacific Business Park is processing plans for an 890,000-square-foot distribution center at its location immediately west of the Manteca Unified School District office complex on Louise Avenue.
uManteca has just opened its first dog park.
uThe city partnered with the Manteca Chamber of Commerce to roll out the two-day Christmas in the Park that included an ice rink at Library Park.
uThe city is in the process of building a cutting edge facility that will take food waste collected from schools, restaurants, hospitals and residents and convert it into bio-fuel to power the city’s fleet of nearly two dozen solid waste trucks.
uManteca has reduced water use 25 percent over the last three years despite adding more than 3,000 residents.
uManteca is moving forward with a one-megawatt solar farm at the wastewater treatment plant that while provide more than a third of the power the city needs to buy from PG&E cutting the $1.3 million annual power bill by 35 percent and positioning the city to have “free” electricity” within seven years.
uManteca has 25 percent general fund reserves reflecting fiscal stability.
uA number of restaurants and concerns such as ice cream shops have opened — almost a dozen — during the past year including Coldstone, Sizzlers, 5 Guys, and Tato’s Mexican Grill.
uMichelson Dairy Lab has expanded by 7,500 square feet.
uGround will break this year on a diverging diamond interchange — the first such design in California — at Union Road and the 120 Bypass to move more traffic  with less stops and improved safety as well as enhance pedestrian and bicyclist safety.
uWork is moving forward on building an interchange at McKinley Avenue and the 120 Bypass to serve the 200-plus acre family entertainment zone being developed by the city, to allow Daniels Street to be extended to McKinley Avenue and to help move forward development south of the 120 Bypass as well as an adjoining major employment center in Lathrop.
uManteca has added six firefighters to fully staff the Lathrop Road station and is now working on building the fifth and sixth stations and manning them as well.
uWork will start on major reconstruction this year of Yosemite Avenue from Main Street to Cottage Avenue while also bringing up all sidewalks to American with Disabilities Act compliance.
DeBrum vowed the city will work with Manteca Unified School District, San Joaquin County and neighboring cities to strengthen not just Manteca but the region as well.
The mayor noted that Manteca is at the hub of the 209 region situated along Highway99 and the 120 Bypass that is a short connector to Interstate 5. The city borders the Union Pacific Railroad intermodal facility while the Santa Fe Railroad intermodal facility is 15 miles northwest of Manteca.
Manteca is also less than 15 minutes from Stockton Metro Airport and within a half hour of the Port of Stockton.
DeBrum said the city must continue to support agriculture and work closely with Kaiser and Doctors Hospital to expand the strong base of healthcare offices and services that included the opening of a major cancer treatment center as well as an imaging center in the past year.
He lauded Manteca Unified noting the schools are strong and includes among its campuses a California gold Ribbon School — Brock Elliott School.
That said he reminded the gathering of challenges facing the city including unfunded pension liability, the 200-year flood control mandates, and other issues as Manteca moves closer to its 100th anniversary in 2018.
The State of the City was co-sponsored by the Manteca Chamber of Commerce and the City of Manteca. Event sponsors were PG&E, F&M Bank, KB Home, Oak Valley Community Bank,  J&J Printing, Doctors Hospital of Manteca, Mountain Valley Express, and Delicato Family Vineyard Wines.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email