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Manteca needs big splash with water tank color & graphic design
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Sacramento has Sleep Train Arena.

San Francisco has AT&T Park.

Manteca could have Oreo Water Tank.

Manteca’s elected city leaders are being asked Tuesday to provide  direction to city staff on the color scheme and graphic design for the 37-foot high, 150-foot in diameter water tank now going up on Atherton Drive just north of Woodward Avenue. Staff noted the tank will be visible to Highway 99 traffic and Moffat Boulevard as well as Atherton Drive that is destined to become Manteca’s heaviest traveled thoroughfare.

Ever since municipal water tanks and towers have appeared on the American landscape there’s been a burning desire to put the name of the town on them. In recent years that has included pro sports team, city mottos, and municipal emblems. Manteca’s city staff believes the council should go one step further and put some type of identification on top that would be visible in aerial photos and on Internet sites such as Google Maps. Think Ripon and the big soccer ball atop the Mistlin Park water tower.

The city could step out of the box and sell naming rights. Proceeds could be used to keep water costs down.

Think of the possibilities. Besides pitching the idea to Nabisco to paint the tank to advertise the iconic cookie by stacking likeness of Oreos to Highway 99 travelers, the city might tap into the lucrative Indian gaming casino market. Imagine the tank with graphics applied to make it look like a stack of gaming chips with Jackson Ranchero or Black Oak Casino emblazoned across it.

Goodyear might be interested in applying graphic wrap around the tank to make it look like a gigantic tire on its side complete with tread marks as well as their name on top visible from 10,000 feet.

If the council doesn’t opt to find a way to squeeze money out of the tank via advertising they will surely want to give serious consideration to the color and any graphics.

Water towers for whatever reason tend to have sentimental value even if they simply have the name of a town on its side. Water tanks are more pedestrian. Save for a couple of logos of sports teams or city seals and such slapped on the side you rarely see much on them outside of a name of a community or — if it belongs to a firm —  a company. The colors are always nondescript shades of white, brown, or gray.

A 37-foot high water tank isn’t going to grab your attention like Twin Towers of 170 plus feet that are in Ripon. A little color will go a long way.

Manteca could paint the tank pumpkin orange and then place graphics on it of actual pumpkins with Manteca inscribed on it and a brief line noting more pumpkins are grown around Manteca than anywhere else in California.

While pumpkins aren’t the biggest crop for the Manteca area — that honor is owned by grapes, dairies, and almonds — it certainly generates the most draw for the city. They are also tied to the community’s signature event, the long running Manteca Pumpkin Fair.

And if you make the top to appear as if you’re peering down at a pumpkin the odds are it will grab a lot attention not just from those flying over but those accessing various mapping features on the Internet.

If the council wants to stick with Manteca and the city motto of “The Family City” along with municipal colors of red, white and blue that could be a winner too. Not only would it play off the city motto but it could touch on the Flags Across Manteca.

But instead of just doing it the ho-hum way, the city could go all out. For the two thirds of the tank visible from Highway 99 they could put in place huge photo graphics that illustrate the city such as a photo of youth playing at Big League Dreams, kids cooling off under a fire hose spray on the Fourth of July, and a family bicycling the Tidewater on a spring day. It would be a great way to sell the city as being friendly to families which in turn makes it appealing to employers. The top could be a gigantic city seal going from edge to edge. That would certainly catch people’s attention on Google Maps. The other side could be a flat American decal-style flag that goes from top to bottom and stretches proportionately as it wraps around the tank.

If the city wants to just have a flag adorn the tank it should be one that is impressive and not a small one.

Another option is to place gigantic graphics of the mascots of Manteca High, East Union High, and Sierra High along with a large city seal and large flag. You see small towns do that with one high school but never are they state-of-the-arts graphics and you never see towns with more than one high school do something on that order.

The council Tuesday could do what everyone else does on water tanks which means it won’t be eye catching at all making the entire undertaking rather dull and predictable.

Or they could do something that draws attention and makes a typically dull water tank into an attractive icon that sells 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.