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Calexico RDA: Board clears way for CCAC to run Hotel De Anza, but asks it clean up its property

May 10, 2001|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — Two girls walked carefully through shards of broken glass and the remains of drug paraphernalia strewn all over the dirt lot behind their house.

The girls, who live on a cul-de-sac near the Alejandro Rivera senior housing complex, joined two friends underneath a light pole.

The kids didn't know that the lot they played in and the light that illuminated their way is a source of contention for the Calexico Redevelopment Agency.

At Tuesday's RDA meeting, Steve Rivera, a board member of the non-profit Calexico Community Action Council, heard the RDA board vote unanimously to release land as collateral so the CCAC can secure a loan and take over management of the historic Hotel De Anza.


Rivera thanked the councilmen, seated as the RDA board, and got up to leave.

Mayor Pro Tem John Renison leaned into his microphone, "Before you go, Steve …"

Rivera sat back down.

Renison asked him what was happening with the dirt lot behind the Rivera complex.

Rivera said there hasn't been any action on that lot by the CCAC board in awhile.

"We deeded that land back to you years ago and you said you were going to put in a park. We put in lights and everything," Renison said.

The lights he referred to are the same lights the children played under later that night.

In the dirt lot behind the senior housing complex, there are 10 light poles encircling the lot and a few concrete paths.

The rest of the lot is a collection of cigarette butts, bottle caps, broken glass and drug paraphernalia.

Renison continued: "I've heard reports of hypodermic needles and vials lying around."

According to Mayor Victor Carrillo and Renison, the land was deeded to CCAC because it was going to put in a park for the senior citizens who live in the neighboring complex.

That was more than five years ago.

Rivera, former president of the CCAC, told the board he will put the item on the board's next agenda.

The RDA board also discussed the city's upcoming projects with Kent Hems, of HMC Architecture, and talked about the status of future projects with Juan Verdugo, the city's community economic development director.

Hems told the board he has prioritized the list of jobs his firm will tackle:

1. The reroofing of Camarena Memorial Library.

2. The construction of monuments at the four points of entry into Calexico.

3. The purchase of ramps for the Nosotros Park skate park.

4. The renovation and retrofitting of old City Hall to accommodate the Mexican consulate and the Calexico Arts Commission.

Verdugo gave the RDA board a quick re-cap of the recent projects.

He said city staff is in negotiation with developers who want to build a hotel and an Applebee's Restaurant on the plot of land near the Calexico 10 theater.

Verdugo mentioned the efforts of city staff to secure a marketing firm to promote the city. He said the staff has interviewed four firms but one, Sanchez and Treviño of Mexicali, has "broken up."

The three final applicants will get a chance to make presentations before the RDA board in the near future.

Whichever firm is hired will be charged with putting together a multi-media presentation for the city and working on a booth taken to trade shows.

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

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