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Elementary school for 200 proposed
The Gordon property at 1085 South Union Road. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

One of Manteca’s biggest eyesores — and once a major enclave for illegal homeless encampments — could end up as a school campus.

The troubled Gordon Research property on South Union Road at its intersection with Mission Ridge Drive may be purchased by the Islamic Center of Manteca. They are looking for additional parking for their nearby place of worship with the ultimate goal of building a school.

Genesis Engineering & Redevelopment — a Lodi firm hired by the Islamic Center — circulated a letter in the neighborhood earlier this week describing plans for the property. They want to hear neighbors’ opinions, concerns or if they support the endeavor to purchase the property, clean it up and build a school.

The envisioned elementary school would serve about 200 students. It would consist of three buildings, playing fields, and a parking lot. The school would employ about 25 teachers and staff.

The property has been blighted since the mid-1980s. There have been a number of fires over the years with the most recent in June of 2013 that threatened nearby homes. The remaining structures were razed at that time to severely reduce the problem of illegal homeless camping. Officials believe the fires on the property were inadvertently started by homeless individuals either trying to stay warm or cooking food.

The property was once used to operate a chemical reformulation and repackaging business. Although leftover chemicals were removed, an investigation noted 13 areas that are contaminated with lead, arsenic, and cadmium, PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls, dioxins, and petroleum hydrocarbons. The California Environmental Protection Agency determined there was no imminent threat to the ground water so the risk wasn’t high enough for the agency to fund the cleanup.

The Islamic Center, if they buy the property, would pay for the cleanup.

The property has been for sale for 15 years.


14 non-profits win

fireworks sale lottery

Fourteen Manteca non-profits won the lottery to be able to sell safe and sane fireworks this year.

City Clerk Joann Tilton and Aimee Rubio from Fire Administration drew numbers from a bingo cage with numbered balls that had been assigned to the various non-profits that applied to sell fireworks.

The 14 winners were Agape Villages Foster Family Agency, Love INC, Walter Woodward Elementary Parent Teacher Community, Prayer Valley Family Worship Church, Not Forgotten, Freedom Christian Center, Manteca Seniors Helping Area Residents & Police unit, Crossroads Grace Community Church, Manteca Moose Lodge 1815, East Union Band Boosters, Manteca Jaguars Youth Football & Cheer, Calvary Community Church, Sequoia Heights Baptist Church, and Manteca Presbyterian Church. The first alternate in the event some non-profit opts not to sell fireworks is American Legion/McFall-Grisham Post 249. The second alternate is Love Reaches Out Food Bank.