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Working on next library chapter
City still working toward expanding library
The city plans to continue working toward expanding the Manteca Library. - photo by Bulletin file photo
Manteca is getting ready for the next chapter in its epic journey to expand the library although it won’t be a quick read.

The City Council is being asked to authorize what staff characterizes as correcting “a bookkeeping oversight” to place the library expansion onto the five-year Capital Improvement Plan.

That doesn’t mean a library expansion will take place in five years. What it does mean is the council expects progress to be made toward that goal by 2015.

An error by staff when the capital improvement plan (CIP) was adopted for the council for the next five years in early July kept the project off the list but the leftover funds from the $946,000 land acquisition effort to expand both the library and adjoining park were left as part of the CIP funding through 2015.

The library expansion could cost as much as $33 million. It is the single most expensive major project on the municipal funding horizon. By comparison, the proposed performing visual arts center would cost a projected $18 million while a community center as well as an aquatics center would cost at least $16 million apiece. Those three projects have been identified as efforts the City Council doesn’t expect any further progress to be made toward making them a reality until sometime after 2015.

By taking it off the back burner, it means staff is under direction to move the library project forward in some fashion by 2015. It could include everything from developing a master plan to acquiring additional nearby property.

The original plan called for relocating the library temporarily, demolishing the existing structure, and then replacing it with a two-story building. The city-owned tennis courts and former Scout Hut on the north side of Center Street was proposed for parking.

The city failed twice to secure state bond funding for library construction although each time their application was rated within the next tier that would get funding if money were available.

In recent years the council has indicated they favor going back to the committee that helped with the proposed library design to see if there were other alternative building options that could reduce costs.

When the present library on Center Street was expanded in 1977, the prediction was that it would be adequate through1995 when Manteca was projected to have a population of 32,000. Manteca actually had 45,060 residents in 1995. The population is 69,000 today.

It was three “yes” votes on the last absentee ballots counted in 1960 that passed a $75,000 bond to build the initial portion of Manteca’s current public library that now stands on Center Street in the triangle formed with Manteca and Poplar avenues.

The site is the ninth home for Manteca branch library. It took three elections for the bond measure to pass. The first effort failed by four votes in April 1958. The bond was defeated again in November 1958 by 60 votes.

The council meets Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.