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Council approves sale"

January 23, 2001|By RUDY YNIGUEZ

Staff Writer

The El Centro City Council unanimously approved the sale of land in the city's Centerpoint Business Park for the development of a 37,000 square-foot manufacturing facility.

The facility will be used by Rogar Manufacturing Inc. of San Jose for the custom manufacturing of cables and harnesses for the semiconductor industry.

Robert Garcia, Rogar president and general manager, said he's been working on the idea for about a year, that the company already has 40 to 45 people trained and the project is becoming bigger than planned. He said the new facility will likely allow for the hiring of as many as 200 employees.

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"It looks like we're pretty much bringing this to a point," he said.

Garcia said employees must have excellent motor skills and be bilingual, which is why he trained his own workforce.

"It was expensive but it was the right way to do it," he said. "Ours is not a monkey see, monkey do."

Rogar has a 10,000 square-foot manufacturing facility in Calexico that must be vacated by September. Garcia said he needs to move to a larger facility, one Rogar will build to suit.

Garcia said his Silicon Valley customers have visited the Imperial Valley and responded positively to his plans.

"We're hoping to break ground in the next 45 to 50 days … moving into the facility by this fall," Garcia said.

In other business, the City Council received a status report on the city's downtown parking revitalization program, including detailed information on what upgrades each city-owned or leased parking lot might receive.

The $300,000 upgrades would take almost all of the money the city has for the project. Improvements would include shaded parking spaces, lighting, landscaping, parking lot surfacing or resurfacing, better pedestrian access to the lots and businesses and new signs informing people of parking lot locations, among other improvements.

The City Council was prepared Wednesday to authorize the development of specifications and then put the project out to bid, but decided to see if the current downtown improvement contractor might be able to include the new work at a better price.

In a related matter, the council was updated on the city's storefront rebate program by Steve Hogan, city public works director.

He said four applications for the 400 block of Main Street have been approved, with one already submitted for reimbursement.

Under the rebate program, the city evaluates each application to modify the store front, and if approved, will reimburse out-of-pocket expenses up to 50 percent.

Hogan also said other applications have been submitted for the 700 block of Main Street, which are pending.

In other business, the council:

· received an update on the building of a skateboard park. A site selection report and estimated costs will be presented to the council in March. Additionally, city staff will provide the council with information for the hiring of a recreation department director.

· was presented with potential sources of income for maintenance of city parks, including user fees and the establishment of a park assessment district.

· approved seeking a $16,500 state grant to help pay for the building of new bus stops and shelters.

· approved submitting a $500,000 grant request to the state Department of Housing and Community Development to provide down-payment assistance to first-time homebuyers.

· approved a memorandum of understanding with the Imperial County Office of Education for the use of eight AmeriCorps members to work in the city's recreation center and community center.

· approved the Imperial County Overall Economic Development Commission's 2010 vision statement.

Staff writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.

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