Editor, Manteca Bulletin
There is an important element missing from the discussion of whether or not the Manteca City Council should contribute additional monies to the Veterans of Foreign Wars project on Moffat Boulevard. But, before I express my opinion on the subject, let me dig up some history.
Thirty-five years ago the local railroad historical society approached the then city council with the concept of building a railroad museum on surplus city property located on Wetmore Avenue. Management and the Council were favorable to the concept particularly since the railroad society would fund, construct, and maintain the building, and would long-term lease back from the city for a dollar per year. During a following council meeting however the “community” expressed their displeasure with the concept of the City “giving” public property to an organization — “What about the other groups and clubs in town.” The proposal was voted down.
Since the Council has already committed public property and funds specifically to the VFW project, it has essentially breached a previous decision of not funding singular community organizations. In this regard, I recommend the City Council consider using the $50,000 in bonus bucks to fund (loan) American Legion Post 249’s project to bring their historic building up-to-date with current ADA access requirements.
Some will argue that the new VFW building is a “community center”, city “owned” and under city control, so it is a different situation. Maybe; time will tell. Historically, however, as time goes on, any stipulations will go by the way side, and the facility will become Manteca’s VFW Hall.
The community should be commended for coming together to assist our Veterans groups in there time of need. I have no issue with our Veterans (Thank you for your service!) or the VFW or public assistance to the local VFW; I simply raise the point that our local American Legion veterans’ organization needs assistance as well. City hall and the City Council should consider the same “creative” financing effort in support of American Legion Post 249.