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Here’s the solution to whiners: Go get a room
Dennis Wyatt

What’s in it for me?

That’s the knee jerk reaction a few people have about Great Wolf Resort that’s now on track to open a 500-room hotel and indoor water lake resort in Manteca by mid-2020.

That attitude is summed up in the most ludicrous assertion that somehow Great Wolf is “locking out locals.”

Au contraire. Great Wolf isn’t in the business of locking anyone out — local, foreign or domestic — if they pay for a room.

What the naysayers are really saying is why aren’t they getting preferred treatment?

Let’s start with the assertion that Great Wolf is bad for Manteca because parents can’t hand their kids a $10 bill and drop them off for 12 hours like they could at the old Manteca Waterslides.

The business model Great Wolf and their competitors use is much different than Raging Waters, Splash Land, or the long defunct Manteca Waterslides. And because it is they can offer more than just seasonal jobs.

In the case of Great Wolf in Manteca that’s 500 year round jobs with 350 full time and 150 par-time positions. I bet the 500 people who will hold those jobs won’t mind that a family of four from San Jose staying in Room 345 is making it possible for them to have a steady paycheck.

And why a family of four from San Jose, Monterey, Roseville, Marin, or Manteca would be willing to pay $300 for a hotel room and two days access to a temperature controlled indoor water park with cutting edge systems for miserly water use and assurance of high quality water should be obvious.

They won’t be fighting massive crowds at the water park with long lines, fellow guests won’t consist primarily of a horde of teens on their own, and the overall Great Wolf experience of which the water park is the main but not the only aspect by far.

Given all of that depending upon the suite and number in a group the daily per person cost is the same or less than that of a conventional water park.

This is where the real truth lies.

Manteca Waterslides is out of business. Why is that? The family said it was skyrocketing workmen’s compensation costs as well as increased competition that prompted them to pull the plug on their final season in 2004.

Do you think that would have happened if they had a large number of people using the waterslides that were willing to pay more to cover increasing costs and to foot the bill for upgrades?

The closure of Manteca Waterslides came two years after Manteca Skate shut down.

What does an outdoor water park have in common with an indoor skate park? The answer is “what’s in it for me” critics.

For years a certain group of naysayers would use pre-social media forums to slam the city for not taking steps to secure things for youth and families to do together such as a skating rink. The lack of a skating rink became the mantra for everything supposedly wrong with Manteca. The whining went like this: Its the fault of the city I have to drive my kids to Modesto to skate. If there was a skating rink in Manteca it would be much better.

When an entrepreneur approached the city about converting the former Manteca Honda dealership where NAPA auto parts is now located the city worked with them to accommodate a skating rink where it shouldn’t have been allowed due to extremely limited parking.

So do you think they patronized the skating rink in large enough numbers to support it? They did not. 

And what was their overwhelming No. 1 excuse for not doing so? It cost, on average, a dollar more to go to Manteca Skate than the Modesto competitor. By the time you factored in the mileage and gas consumption it was actually cheaper to skate in Manteca plus it saved a lot of travel time.

The entire episode exposed such whiners for what they really are which is malcontents.

Great Wolf will do something else Manteca Waterslides never did for Manteca and that is collect taxes for city services. Not only does it seem that most of the “what’s in it for me” crowd seems to forget is the Manteca Waterslides were in the county and not the city.

Even if it were in the city the way property and sales taxes are Manteca would have only received a sliver. Great Wolf is a different animal thanks to room taxes and its sheer size.

Great Wolf will initially generate $1.7 million plus a year for Manteca municipal services. Given 63 percent of the general fund goes to cover police and fire costs that’s $1.07 million annually for public safety or enough to hire seven more police officers and/or firefighters.

It’s a win-win. Everyone wants more police officers but don’t want to pay for them.

That said how can you object to the idea of a Great Wolf in Manteca if it creates 500 jobs for your neighbors and can fund as many as seven more police officers and/or firefighters on the dime of people who don’t live in Manteca?


This column is the opinion of executive editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.  He can be contacted at or 209.249.3519.