Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
The Manteca City Council’s move towards review of present and future community library facility needs is a good thing, a smoldering ember of change and focus. Let’s hope it develops into a warming fire rather than a political smoke screen that eventually puts off another community need.
As I have noted on occasion, I support development of a strategically located system of branch libraries. However, I am concerned that Council continues to rely on the developers as an integral component for moving forward, funding, siting and timing. While Council has the “power” to require a site from any developer for a price or “free”, the decision to move forward on a community need should not be contingent upon the timing and the location of new development. For this reason, Manteca has been without many community amenities for decades while residents wait for the Council to awaken and/or a developer to be cooperative. In this regard and to be fair, developers have stepped up a number of times to aid the City Council.
As for addressing the library need in Manteca, a more fiscally prudent approach would be to reconfigure, modernize, and technologically expand the existing library building on Center Street within the same footprint. Doing so will be far less costly (than a new site and building), it will serve as the centrally located branch as the community continues to expand outward, it can be integral to revitalization of downtown, and it is within walking distance of many of our aging residents. A second branch library (similar in size to the current library) should be constructed at Woodward Park to serve the needs of the residents south of Highway 120. The Woodward Park site is “free” and some parking is already developed. And, for those long-range planners, a third branch library (planned for some time into the future) could be located on Lovelace Road to serve residents north of Lathrop Road.
Addressing such community amenities as the library requires a new multi-facetted and out-of-the-box approach. Unfortunately, the City’s present budgeting practice and management has not been able to get us there for decades.
Resident and Businessman