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Manteca may get into swim of things in 2018
wolf top
Among the features of the Great Wolf in Southern California are water cannons.

The drive to incorporate Manteca a century ago this May was powered by the lack of a sewer system. The lack of a collective way to dispose of sewage was seen as a heath issue and a roadblock to economic growth for the fledging community.

It was also the year that Spreckels Sugar refinery opened in Manteca thanks in a large part to incentive packages involving land and waste water discharge the Board of Trade that was the predecessor to the City Council cobbled together along with the South San Joaquin Irrigation District. It was a deal many heralded at the time as a major economic boost for the soon-to-be-incorporated city. The next 78 years proved them correct.

Now, as Manteca nears its 100th birthday part of the land that once supported today’s wastewater treatment plant operations is key to a pending deal that could land the city its largest private sector employer with 500 jobs, barely eclipsing Doctors Hospital of Manteca.

The deal, if executed, would bring a Great Wolf Resort to Manteca on 30 acres currently owned by the city along the 120 Bypass just west of Costco.

It would involve a 500 room hotel, an indoor waterpark, a family entertainment area featuring everything from arcades to a rock climbing wall and a half dozen restaurants, and a conference center. The project would represent more than a $250 million investment in Manteca.

The deal involves a splitting of future room taxes collected by Great Wolf over a 25-year period. In the initial full year of operation Great Wolf would send $1.7 million to the City of Manteca general fund and have an annual payroll including benefits and related employee costs approaching $20 million. It also would support 1,500 construction jobs over the two years or so it would take to construct the destination resort.

Just like Spreckels did, city leaders expect the opening of a Great Wolf resort in Manteca will trigger economic growth.

The payroll and tax generation are significant, but the long-range benefits could even be more powerful.

The Great Wolf proposal has been described as a 5-story billboard advertising Manteca as a place to do business and to visit to all of Northern California. Great Wolf executives referenced a multi-million dollar annual media campaign built around the resort. It would be akin to the Manteca Waterslides TV and radio commercials of yesteryear that put the city on the map in the latter part of the 20th century except it would be on steroids.

The resort is the centerpiece of the 200 plus acres of city owned property that Manteca is working to convert into a family entertainment zone. Already Big League Dreams is looking at adding two more playing fields to the six-diamond sport park located across the future extension of Daniels Street from the proposed resort site.

The Great Wolf resort deal isn’t the big thing on the table for Manteca in 2018.

Road projects are

high on list for 2018

Decisions made by the City Council last year involving growth fees and prioritizing projects has cemented the timelines for four significant road projects.

uWork on the long awaited Atherton Drive extension to bridge the gap between Union Road and Airport Way will start in the next few months.

When completed, Atherton Drive will assume its intended role as the major east-west street south of the 120 Bypass. In doing so, it will take pressure off of Woodward Avenue as it slowly turns into a quasi-connector street for existing and future neighborhoods.

By the end of 2018 you will be able to take Woodward Avenue at Airport Way and travel just over three miles away to Woodward Avenue where Atherton T-intersects currently with Woodward an eighth of a mile west of Moffat Boulevard.

Ultimately, Atherton Drive will extend south of Woodward toward Ripon to serve future neighborhoods as well as extend west of Airport Way and cross a new alignment of McKinley Avenue before T-intersecting with Woodward at a point east of Oakwood Shores.

Building the gap is also expected to spur retail development along the 120 Bypass between Union Road and Airport Way.

uThe new Union Road interchange on the 120 Bypass will go to bid.

The interchange — designed as California’s first diverging diamond interchange — would eliminate the need for a number of traffic signals and enhance traffic flow and volume. Because the basic design would require pedestrians and bicyclists to cross Union Road twice due to the placement of traffic signals and the zig zagging of traffic lanes, the city also plans to build a separate bridge across the 120 Bypass at Union Road for pedestrians and bicyclists.

uUpgrading Main Street from Atherton Drive to Yosemite Avenue.

The days of severely cracked payment, rough driving surfaces and smaller operational issues involving the safety of those covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act maneuvering on sidewalks are numbered.

The paving project for the nearly 1.4 mile stretch is expected to start in the spring.

uUpgrading Yosemite Avenue from Main Street to Cottage Avenue/Spreckels Avenue.

The repaving of East Yosemite Avenue for a mile will address driving surface and ADA issues as well.

It also will see one of the city’s first 4-foot wide solid green bicycle lanes on both sides of the street that are designed to clearly establish paths for bicyclists sharing the street with cars.

The target is to start the work after the school year ends in late May to avoid creating major distributions on Yosemite near Manteca High when the school is in session with nearly 1,600 students.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email