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Our Opinion: Big rec news

March 06, 2001

It was noteworthy that Jacques 'n Jills Health Club in El Centro has been sold, but related news is equally exciting. The buyer of the facility is Fred Kim, who leads a group of investors called El Centro Sports Complex LLC. According to Kim, there are some plans for the area around Jacques 'n Jills that could add quite a bit to recreation options for the entire family, and that is good news.

Kim said in a story published Friday that the plans call for building a skate park, a water park and a bowling alley, all forms of recreation much needed in the Imperial Valley. Kim said there is not much family amusement in this area. That point is hard to argue.

We urge Kim and his fellow investors to follow through with their plans. We have seen developers present grandiose plans for local recreational facilities but there has been little movement on any of those projects. We think Kim could see a great deal of profit from the venture.

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The people of the Imperial Valley deserve more family-style recreation. A bowling alley could be a big draw for families looking to do something together and a good place for kids to spend the day rather than out on the streets, although we realize bowling can be a costly activity for those families trying to stretch a buck.

A skate park may be one of the most crucial recreation needs in the Imperial Valley as in-line skating and skateboarding continue to grow in popularity. When driving through the Valley, one sees kids practicing their sports in areas that are unsafe for themselves and for motorists. Officials around the Imperial Valley continue to talk about building skate parks, but there has been little concrete action, with the exception of a park in Calipatria. A private venture might come to fruition a bit faster than the slow wheels of the municipal and governmental process.

Finally, we like the idea of a water park. Summers are rough here in the Valley. It is great that cities have public pools but kids deserve at least as much summer recreation as young people in other areas. Plenty of Valley residents go to the water park in Palm Springs during the summer months. How much better it would be for all of us if such a facility existed here?

We hope Kim and his fellow investors are serious about their plans. It could mean life getting more than a little bit better for much of the Imperial Valley.

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