By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
The ‘woe is me’ moaning over Great Wolf access
Dennis Wyatt

Let’s be clear what those earth movers are doing on 30 acres west of Costco that was purchased from the City of Manteca.

They are not doing the ground work for a water park that will be open for less than five months a year employing 120 people part-time where you can drop your kids off for the day. They are building a $180 million year-round destination resort built around a massive indoor water park that will provide 250 full-time and 250 part-time jobs year round.

And assuming voters pass Measure J on Nov. 6, that resort will generate $1.9 million a year in room tax alone starting in the 2020-21 fiscal year that the city will be able to spend on services for Manteca residents who may never step inside the Great Wolf Resort. After 10 years that goes up to $2.5 million annually until 25 years out when the city will be pocketing $5.6 million in room tax receipts in constant 2018 dollars.

Manteca Waterslides never helped pay for city services mainly because they weren’t located in the City of Manteca. They also never came close to the projected payroll in salary alone that’s in excess of $12 million that Great Wolf will provide of which the majority will likely make it into the pockets of Manteca residents.

Yet all some are focused on is how they can’t simply one day drive down Daniels Street past Costco, give their kid $30, and drop them off for the day.

If there is one thing you can count on Great Wolf will have no problem catering to Manteca residents if they pay the price of admission which is booking a room for the night. Given how it works at other Great Wolf Resorts, the odds are you can do so during a weekday during a slow period for $260 or so for a room that can accommodate six persons. That comes to $43.33 per person. Given you get access to the indoor water park for two days that’s $21.66 a person or just a little less than open admission at a Raging Waters.

If you have an issue with that, look at it this way: The $260 is the price of admission. You don’t have to use the hotel room. Rest assured if you wanted to use the swimming pool at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim and pay $388 for a room — the cheapest price for next week on the hotel site — they probably could care less if you use the room.

What allows Great Wolf to attract the clientele that allows it to provide 500 jobs and send $1.9 million a year in room tax to the City of Manteca to help fund day-to-day municipal services for residents is the fact it is a resort and not your run-of-the-mill outdoor water slides.

In the world of the “Manteca-is-rotten-to-the-core” crowd they will never get it let alone see how the deal that landed Manteca a 500-room hotel resort is borderline genius.

First of all the city made the prerequisite decisions that significantly boosted the value of land that was originally destined to be spray fields to dispose of treated wastewater.

They have landed the biggest hotel ever to be built in the Central Valley from Redding to Bakersfield. And that hotel will be located with a commanding view of the wastewater treatment facility.

The $8 million being invested in infrastructure and such along with the extension of Daniels Street to McKinley Avenue will also open up more than 120 acres the city owns for development. The $8 million is part of the residual redevelopment agency bond that is leveraging an upfront economic impact on Manteca in excess of $15 million annually in terms of wages from 500 new jobs and the room tax that is collected that will pay for additional municipal services that we will all benefit from without paying more in property or sales tax.

You could make a case that over 10 years that $8 million investment will have a $150 million positive impact on Manteca’s economic well-being before you start counting the residual effect of consumer dollars being spent from paychecks or even Great Wolf tapping into local concerns to supply its needs.

The economic impact will be even greater as the envisioned family entertainment zone is developed.

And the part of the room tax that Manteca is giving up over 25 years never ever would have been collected if a Great Wolf Resort was not built here.

Great Wolf could have built just about any place in the region. It is also true Manteca specifically went on the hunt for an indoor water park resort and made investments and did work that greatly enhanced its ability to land one.

As former Councilman Vince Hernandez observed, after realizing what major positive impacts a Great Wolf Resort could have on the city and its residents as opposed to a traditional water park, the council decided to pursue one as a major economic strategy.

To recap, there are those slamming the city for landing a resort where you have to rent a room to use an indoor water park by engineering the transforming of land that was once worth less than $300,000 because it was attached to a wastewater treatment plant into something that will have an immediate $15 million annual economic impact via employee wages and city revenues.

 If that is something that justifies the “woe is me” gnashing of teeth over having to pay for a room to access the water park then we’ve lost our collective minds.