Calexico City Council sets priorities for coming year

April 07, 2001|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — For the first time in this city's history, the City Council and department heads of various city agencies got together in a workshop setting Saturday morning to prioritize projects they will undertake in the coming fiscal year and beyond.

Projects planned and discussed at the workshop included the need for more police substations, a revitalized downtown, more sports programs for city youth, improved traffic circulation and a city-run family health care center.

One of the most pressing needs addressed at the workshop was police protection and Fire Department coverage for hundreds of new homes being built in the northeastern portion of the city.

Calexico Police Chief Tommy Tunson agreed with a recommendation by City Councilman Gilbert Grijalva to add more than one police substation in areas of town that aren't seeing as much coverage, such as the west side of Calexico.


"A lot of people from the west end of town have told me that they need police presence at a substation because at certain times of the day there is no access over there," Grijalva said.

Tunson said in addition to the west side there needs to be a plan to build a substation on the northeast side of town because of the large number of housing developments.

Another issue discussed was the downtown area of Calexico.

Juan Verdugo, Calexico economic and community development director, said there is a serious problem with the piecemeal approach the city has undertaken to improving the storefronts of the area.

Verdugo said the 16-year-old storefront rebate program designed to improve the image and cleanliness of the downtown isn't working because some business owners, "don't give a damn," he said.

"They throw grease on the sidewalks and fight with our cleaners," Verdugo added.

Councilman Javier Alatorre said all downtown businesses need to be contacted and pressed to work together.

One of Grijalva's recommendations was to close off First Street to traffic and focus efforts there with cooperative business owners.

"Let's make that a tourist attraction and the cornerstone of our downtown improvement," Grijalva said.

Councilman John Renison agreed, saying a public hearing should be held so the council can hear from all concerned citizens on such a plan.

He also advocated building of shade structures for shoppers and those waiting at area bus stops. "This could be one of the legacies we leave," Renison said.

Mayor Victor Carrillo proposed workshops such as Saturday's should become a quarterly event so the council can analyze the results and make changes or modifications if need be, a point reinforced by Alatorre.

Alatorre said that often a project, such as the plan for entry monuments outside city limits or the construction of Nosotros Park, gets started and ends up in a limbo that drags on for months.

"Make it personal," he said to the assembled department heads.

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

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