Man­teca needs to ‘re­new’ city li­brary

Ripon Bulletin - - Local / State -

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

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