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State funds sought to finish building Nosotros Park

March 23, 2001|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — Poles for the basketball court at the future site of Nosotros Park are up but there are neither backboards nor hoops.

Gazebos have been built for shade but there are no picnic tables underneath.

The site for Nosotros Park, or "Our Park," in the southwest corner of the city near the New River has been under construction since late last year but will not be completed unless $774,751 is spent to finish the project, according to Jack Anderson, a Calexico parks and recreation commissioner.

The project was started with $750,000 Calexico received from the state Legislature over the past three years.

Last week Anderson and Calexico City Councilman Gilbert Grijalva took a trip to Sacramento to personally ask state officials for more money.

Anderson and Grijalva met with Assemblyman David Kelley, state Sen. Jim Battin, both of whom represent Imperial County, state Sen. Steve Peace of San Diego, who formerly represented Imperial County, and Assemblyman James Cardeñas of the San Fernando Valley.

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Peace and Cardeñas are the chairmen of their respective budget committees.

Anderson said they all expressed support for the park but said money could be tight this year because of the energy crisis.

Bob Ham, Imperial Valley representative for Kelley, said Thursday there is a possibility state money could be made available for the park.

"There is reason for cautious optimism because there has been considerable investment in the project in the past and the city can make a good case for finishing it," Ham said.

He said the park has always been a high priority for Kelley but everything is different this fiscal year because the state is spending "$50 million a day" to buy electricity.

Ham said if Kelley is unable to secure funding for the park in the 2002 budget there could be money available from the state's Parks and Recreation Department.

"In the March election of 2000 a parks bond was passed but the city would have to competitively apply for that money," he said.

Construction began on Nosotros Park after Calexico received $250,000 from the state in 1998 and $500,000 in 1999.

The project originally was budgeted at $1.2 million but has mushroomed to $1.5 million.

In addition to hoops and tables, the park needs $774,751 to build restrooms and put in all of the landscaping, according to a letter sent to Kelley by Calexico City Manager Richard Inman.

On Thursday electricians installed wiring for lighting at the park site. Crew members said the lights will be turned on near the end of April.

Anderson said the lights are a godsend because graffiti sprayers have descended on the site recently.

He said the parks commission has requested security for the parks but the City Council has taken no action.

Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419.

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