Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
Reading much of the rhetoric from the prospective city council candidates about how to create a viable downtown, most of them fail to get what it takes to create a downtown.
It takes foot traffic made by bold moves on the part of the City Council to use the clout of the RDA and rezone the surrounding area to a higher density with home owner’s condominiums. If the area surrounding downtown was rezoned to higher density we might have attracted some of Del Webb’s residences closer. One person running for city council wants to have the future of downtown put on the ballot. This shows that he does not have any vision at all as to what we need in order to revitalize the city center. One city council person has an office next to houses on West Yosemite that has abandoned autos and trailers on the front lawns which is by city ordinance illegal and obviously it does not bother her. Is this what she envisions what Manteca should look like?
The only way a landlord or shop owner can make large investments in their property is for the council to make the initial step in increasing a higher density residential base for the surrounding area.
If they increased the density it would make development feasible. With the infusion of homes and foot traffic to support the downtown, businesses will begin to survive and thrive.
I am tired of hearing all the negative comments attributed to downtown landlords and merchants not appreciating what the city has already done for them. You can change traffic patterns, crosswalks, light poles and planters but until you create the possibility for more people to live in the surrounding areas the downtown is going nowhere. We do not need people living in substandard housing above places of business either.
When doing surveys of the downtown business and landowners it would be appropriate if they did not always consult the same people. We own buildings that house fourteen local businesses and none of our tenants, or we, have ever been consulted for our input on revitalizing the downtown.
Manteca is a great place to live and all it needs at this time is new and far-sighted leadership.
Aug. 5, 2010