Manteca needs to ‘renew’ city library
Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
Manteca does not need a new library; Manteca needs a “renewed” library. According to the Oxford Dictionaries, “renew” is defined as “re-establish (a relationship) and give fresh life or strength to.” Yup, my plan for the Manteca Library is to establish a new relationship with the community, to refresh and to give new life to what we currently have.
How will it take place brings into play two important factors, my background and my inherent ability to work with what is available; new construction is not always the best approach. First, my background,
I am a building designer by education and practice so I know the anatomy and integral workings of buildings and the utilization of existing space. Second, I support salvaging aged building for they can provide the basic framework upon which to “renew” and maintain the character of a neighborhood.
The library is part of my greater plan for revitalizing Downtown. My Plan involves three phased elements — one, move City Hall back to downtown; two, modernize and expand the library within the same footprint; and three, convert the existing city hall complex (on West Center Street) into a Cultural/ Arts Community Center.
Manteca does not need a 52,000 square foot, two-story library at a cost of $21 million, as considered in 2003. The existing library (within its existing footprint) can be expanded and modernized today for less than $5 million.
Frankly, if the conversation about a new library has been going on for 41 years, the problem is not the cost; the problem is focus and a desire to really get it done. I think the City Council needs to ask itself, why in 41 years has there been a lack of funds; for clearly the community has expressed the need for decades. As Mayor I will meet that need in less than three years. Benjamin Cantu Manteca