Following a one-cent municipal sales tax being placed on the November 3 ballot, Manteca, Calif. Mayor Ben Cantu stressed his desire to spend any money raised on improving the Manteca Park Golf Course and clubhouse in hopes of attracting executive-style events.
Manteca, Calif. Mayor Ben Cantu believes the city needs to make its municipal golf course look more like a country club, The Manteca Bulletin reported. He and his colleagues placed a one-cent municipal sales tax on the November 3 ballot and gave a glimpse at how he’d like to see any new money raised possibly spent.
The mayor believes if the city invests some money into the Manteca Park Golf Course and clubhouse, it could attract executive-style events, The Bulletin reported. He indicated the course and clubhouse needed to look like 2020 and not 1956.
Going back 30 years ago, Manteca’s elected leaders were being slammed for building a clubhouse that critics panned at the time as a “Taj Mahal,” The Bulletin reported. The council back then directed staff to come up with a country-club-style clubhouse which, for the record, sits atop the old city dump. It’s an apropos past given 9 holes of the 18-hole course is on land where the city’s wastewater treatment plant was once located.
The clubhouse replaced a low-key snack bar and small pro shop that had been in place at the time, The Bulletin reported. The two-story clubhouse went for almost a decade before living up to its promise and that’s only after the late Frank Guinta stepped in to take over the restaurant and snack bar.
The clubhouse has a checkered and costly past, The Bulletin reported. Besides being a reason why the golf course enterprise fund bled red ink for years, the 1990 council’s dream of having a clubhouse with a high-profile restaurant was criticized out of the gate by opponents who brought in a commercial real estate broker who said it would never work as it couldn’t snag necessary high-volume business due to its location and parking. The second floor sat vacant for years.
The initial city effort to secure a restaurant contractor ended with that individual pocketing money the city issued checks for various pieces of restaurant equipment which led to criminal charges and a successful prosecution, The Bulletin reported. The second restaurant contractor left the city saddled with close to $30,000 in unpaid bills before walking away.
It wasn’t until Guinta took over the food services both in the snack bar and on the second floor that has a full-service bar that the city had a reliable partner plus one that was able to provide food and service that attracted patrons despite the golf course being off the beaten path in terms of accessibility and traffic, The Bulletin reported.
The rest of the council on August 4 was quick to say there were other pressing needs and that this wasn’t the right time, The Bulletin reported. Cantu responded by saying the pandemic was becoming the latest city excuse for not getting things done. He added, “it never costs any to talk or make a plan.”
Initially Cantu wanted it brought back at the next council meeting. When council members balked, he suggested the first meeting in November that based on normal scheduling happens to fall on Election Day the sales tax measure is being decided, The Bulletin reported. Any possible council discussion of Cantu’s idea was then shelved until January.