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January 23, 2001|Staff Writer

WESTMORLAND — The city Redevelopment Agency board appointed three people to spearhead research into a proposal to build a 25-bed alcohol- and drug- rehabilitation facility to house non-violent women in this city.

The RDA board nominated City Councilman Rumaldo Marquez, resident Martha Cruz and Mike Gaston, executive director of the Holt Group of El Centro, to research the project further. The Holt Group provides engineering services to the city.

The decision came after Gaston went before the RDA board seeking funding for a committee selected from the community to take a trip to a similar facility in Desert Hot Springs.

RDA chairman John Makin wasn't pleased with the request, saying it should be the facility enticing the city, not the city enticing the facility.


Halcon argued the city has to attract a firm to build in Westmorland. Makin said he isn't against the project but isn't pleased with how the committee was organized.

Mayor Thomas Marquez said both Makin and Halcon had good points.

Thomas Marquez said city officials need to take the lead but more people from the community should be involved. That is when the decision was made to appoint Marquez, Cruz and Gaston to research the project.

After the RDA meeting the RDA members, who are also city councilmen, moved on to City Council matters.

The council unanimously voted to award a contract to Richard Medina Construction of Calipatria for the rehabilitation of residences at 560 W. 8th St. and 393 E. 6h St.

The rehabilitation is part of the Community Development Block Grant, aimed at helping low-income households bring their homes up to modern standards.

Richard Ransdell of the Holt Group said two companies put in bids for the contracts.

The contract for the residence on Eighth Street is for $19,500 while the contract for the home on Sixth Street is for $38,500.

In a separate matter, City Councilman Lawrence Ritchie said he hopes the city will take measures to reduce energy consumption in city facilities by 7 percent.

The suggestion was related to a plan from Gov. Gray Davis' office and the League of California Cities.

"We feel strongly that it is in the best interest of our city and its citizens to make every effort possible to comply with the governor's request. Doing so will ensure that public safety is maintained and the impact of outages on our citizens is minimized," said Ritchie.

Mario Rentería can be reached at 370-8549.

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