The Heart of California: Manteca, One of the State’s Fastest Growing Cities
Business View explores Manteca’s journey from a small community to a thriving and growing city in the heart of California, highlighting its commitment to infrastructure development, community engagement, and fostering a sense of pride among residents.
California may lay claim to some of the most desirable cities to live in, as well as continue to represent a tourist mecca. Standing out from its neighboring communities, nestled in a beautiful part of the state lies a true city gem that provides the perfect place to call home; Manteca, California.
Located at the heart of the state’s agricultural landscape, Manteca, known as the “family city,” thrives just 70 miles east of San Francisco. In recent years, this city has experienced considerable, dynamic growth, which has cemented its place as a magnet for those in pursuit of affordable housing and an enriched quality of life, far from the bustling Bay Area.
The city’s appeal extends beyond just affordable housing. Manteca is the sixth fastest-growing city in California, and its neighboring city holds the title of the fastest-growing. This rapid growth has spurred development, ushering in a new era of transformation and progress for the community.
Tradition Meets Progress
Manteca prides itself on seamlessly blending small-town charm with an increasing energy that propels it into the future. This unique quality showcases the city’s ability to expand while preserving a strong sense of community and active civic engagement. The streets still come alive with parades, and volunteerism is a cornerstone of Manteca’s way of life. The city specializes in honoring its seniors and veterans, reflecting its deep-rooted values. With several council members boasting extensive backgrounds in public service, Manteca is well-equipped to navigate growth and innovation challenges.
Barbara Harb the city’s Economic Development Manager, aptly puts it, “I think the value in communities like Manteca is that we have that small-town feel we are working to maintain as we balance the growth and innovation that we are working towards from an infrastructure perspective.” This harmonious coexistence of tradition and progress ensures that Manteca remains a community where residents can cherish its rich heritage while embracing a future filled with opportunities and promise.
An Evolving Destination
Gary Singh, Manteca’s Mayor, speaks passionately about the city’s evolution, from its origins as a central hub during the Gold Rush era, to its transformation into a destination for those seeking a more affordable and balanced lifestyle. Manteca’s strategic location, equidistant from the ocean and the mountains, has made it an attractive option for Bay Area residents looking to escape high living costs.
The city’s infrastructure has not been overlooked during this period of growth. Manteca is committed to improving its infrastructure to accommodate its expanding population. They have updated their solid waste program, expanded sewer trunks, and developed water and sewer treatment plant expansion plans. Roads, a common challenge for many cities, are also receiving attention, with a well-defined plan for improvement. The city is taking a proactive approach by allocating funds and prioritizing road maintenance based on need.
One of Manteca’s most exciting initiatives is revitalizing its downtown area. Amendments to ordinances, changes in building standards, and strategic property acquisitions are all part of the plan to transform the city’s core. A satellite office downtown will enhance accessibility for residents and further promote the area’s development.
Singh stresses the importance of infrastructure and accountability for developers. They understand that with growth comes the responsibility to ensure that the city’s foundational elements are prepared for the future. By taking a measured, long-term approach, Manteca aims to future-proof its infrastructure and minimize disruptions for its residents.
Infrastructure for Tomorrow
Situated at the crossroads of highways 5, 99, and 120, Manteca has emerged as a vital transportation hub and a prime target for infrastructure enhancement. Singh points out the significance of these highways, serving as vital connectors between Canada and Mexico while weaving through the heart of Manteca. This distinctive position places the city in the midst of managing its local traffic issues and handling the influx of regional and state traffic coursing through its thoroughfares.
Manteca has consistently pursued various funding sources to address these challenges, including federal grants, state funding, county support, and local contributions. Among the significant projects, the 99-120 interchange infrastructure is a substantial long-term endeavor, with a price tag exceeding $160 million. This ambitious project primarily aims to alleviate chronic congestion and enhance safety on this notorious stretch of highway, which has sadly earned the moniker of the “death mile” due to frequent accidents.
Singh shares his fulfillment with securing sufficient funding to initiate the first phase of this critical project next summer. This development represents a significant win for Manteca and the entire region. He emphasizes their comprehensive approach, stating, “We’re looking at federal grants and federal funding, state funding, county funding, local mass shares to ensure we catch up on all of our infrastructure when it comes to regional highways.” This collective effort ensures that Manteca’s infrastructure keeps pace with the region’s growth, benefiting residents and commuters alike.
The city’s leadership understands the paramount significance of planning for traffic mitigation and the smooth flow of people and goods as Manteca undergoes rapid expansion. They take proactive measures to tackle these challenges head-on, aiming to provide residents and commuters with reduced congestion and safer roadways.
Creating a Vibrant Community
Harb highlights the importance of Manteca’s unique ownership of significant property. This strategic advantage allows the city to enter partnerships with businesses, such as the Great Wolf Lodge, which has proven successful. Known for its family-friendly water park resorts, The Great Wolf Lodge has been an excellent partner for Manteca. This collaboration has generated economic benefits for the city and created opportunities for job growth.
Located on 140 acres of land near the Great Wolf Lodge, Manteca is evaluating an update to the Family Entertainment Zone master plan that will enable new developments to adapt to evolving community needs, particularly considering the post-COVID landscape. The city is dedicated to leveraging its resources for economic prosperity while enriching residents’ quality of life through various retail, entertainment, and commercial amenities.
Manteca’s economy thrives on a diverse array of businesses that play roles in job creation. The city proudly hosts major industry giants such as the Ford Motor Company, Frito Lay, Medline Industries, and Amazon, all of which contribute to the local economy, providing employment opportunities and economic stability.
Healthcare is another influential sector in Manteca’s job market, with two prominent hospitals, Doctors Hospital of Manteca and Kaiser Permanente, serving as major job generators. These healthcare facilities ensure residents have access to quality medical care and offer a substantial number of jobs to healthcare professionals, further bolstering the local job market.
In addition to the hospital facilities, Manteca is fostering a growing medical office cluster, with plans to develop additional medical office buildings. This strategic initiative enhances the city’s healthcare infrastructure and creates employment opportunities for healthcare administrators, nurses, physicians, and other healthcare professionals.
A Five-Year Vision and Beyond
Manteca provides an array of amenities, entertainment options, and opportunities, making it an exceptional place to live and an inviting destination. City Manager Toni Lundgren says, “We’re putting in the infrastructure and laying a lot of the groundwork for where we will be in five years. We want to make sure that residents come home to a high-quality, family city.” This collective effort ensures that Manteca’s future is bright, promising, and firmly rooted in its commitment to becoming a cherished home for its residents and an attractive destination for visitors.
While Manteca continues to grow in population and economic development, it remains true to its small-town roots, fostering a strong connection between the government, elected officials, local businesses, and its residents. Singh and his team are dedicated to laying down the tracks for a great Manteca of the future, where residents are proud to call it home, work, and a destination spot.
Singh proudly states, “I love that we’re the heart of California.” The community commitment to fiscal responsibility, efficiency, and innovation ensures that Manteca’s future generations will inherit a city that continues to flourish.
As Manteca evolves, it does so to maintain its small-town charm and foster a sense of belonging among its residents. With its leadership’s dedication and community involvement, Manteca is set to realize its vision of becoming a remarkable place where people live, work, and play with pride.
AT A GLANCE
What: Manteca’s transformation from a small community to a thriving hub of growth, innovation, and community spirit in the heart of California.
Where: Manteca, California
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