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Turning blight into senior housing
Mayor Willie Weatherford and Councilwoman Debby Moorhead turn over the ceremonial first shovel of dirt to mark the groundbreaking for the Magnolia Court affordable senior housing project. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL

Six months ago, the only shelter that the 1.4-acre parcel wedged between Grant Avenue and the back of Dribbles’ Car Wash and Burger King provided was for a homeless encampment amid rubbish and weeds.

Today, work is well underway to convert the long-standing eye-sore into an affordable haven of low-income senior housing.

Affirmed Housing representatives along with other partners plus City of Manteca officials gathered Monday morning to “break ground” to signal the start of actual work on a 52-unit apartment complex where the rents won’t exceed 30 percent of the income of struggling senior citizens.

Earth moving equipment being used to grade and put in place infrastructure such as a unique underground storm retention basin provided the background for the ceremonies taking place off North Grant Avenue just a few hundred feet from North Main Street.

Chris Westbank, Affirmed’s deputy director of community affairs, noted construction of actual building will start as soon as site preparation is completed.

 “It’s important that we never lose sight of why we’re here,” Mayor Willie Weatherford said. “Our main goal is provide for our (low-income) seniors.”

Community Development Director Mark Nelson said it’ll only be a matter of time before the Affirmed project prompts other improvements in the neighborhood and nearby commercial district

“This is one of our parcels along the Main Street thoroughfare, and we definitely wanted to do everything possible to make it into what you’ll see next year,” Nelson said. “It’s going to be an amazing project.”

The city put up $2 million in redevelopment funds to make the project possible.

It will consist of studios as well as one and two-bedroom apartments. Onsite amenities include a recreation room, onsite management office, laundry facilities, an outdoor garden area, and owner-provided high-speed internet in each unit. A solar water heating system will supplement two ultra-high efficiency hot water heaters providing solar heated hot water for the entire development, and a photovoltaic system will supply electricity for the common areas.

Magnolia Court is located within walking distance of grocery stores, retail, restaurants, medical offices, entertainment and the Manteca Library.

The courtyards will provide community gathering areas with outdoor barbecues, quiet areas of respite, and an interactive gardening area for resident’s enjoyment. On the outside, the street front includes unit entries and private porches similar to those of neighboring single family residences.

To contact Jason Campbell, e-mail, or call (209) 249-3544.