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Some positive suggestions for downtown
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Editor, Manteca Bulletin,

(This is a copy of an e-mail I sent to Mayor Willie Weatherford regarding downtown.)

I’ve always liked the look of the old town areas of many cities. Pleasanton and Hanford are good examples of what can be done when local government and the city’s residents decide to make a commitment to the older downtown area. I see no reason why Manteca can’t do the same thing. One advantage that Manteca has is that the downtown area is smaller.

If I had all the money in the world, I would pass a city ordinance to restore and maintain the original brick store fronts, and any other originally brick surface. No more stucco! ( I was stunned when I saw the museum. Before, it looked like a nice old church, now it’s a hideous eyesore.) Perhaps the city could work out a deal with the property owners to blast off the paint from the painted-over brick surfaces and, if possible, from the stucco over brick.  

Maybe the newer buildings that obviously don’t fit the older look of the downtown area could be given a retro-facelift. Awnings on the store fronts would be a nice touch. Put bricks in place of asphalt in the crosswalks. Library Park could be enlarged, and the Tidewater bike path around the downtown area has the potential to be turned into a nice park as well. The murals are wonderful, and the rest of the area should enhance them. I wouldn’t worry about anymore parking in the area. I’d buy some non-polluting shuttle buses, like the buses in the Yosemite Valley, and bring folks in from points all around the city.

The first shuttle that I would run would be from the Del Webb community. Retired people have the time and the money, and they probably have the inclination, to take a shuttle downtown to have a nice, leisurely lunch or dinner, or to visit some cutesy specialty stores, or even a great ice cream parlor. Woodbridge is a gold mine, in that respect. I would make the downtown area bicycle friendly, and create bike paths to the area, so that families might ride there as a destination, and be able to lock their bikes to bike stands, and secure them while they wandered around. (I would like to see the city require the developers to put more emphasis on bicycle friendliness, in general.) I realize that all that my vision requires is money, something that the City doesn’t have much of right now. Perhaps there’s some stimulus money floating around out there. My idea is a long term vision of what the city center could look like. Thanks for your time and attention. Keep up the good work.
Stephen Breacain
June 22, 2010