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Calexico RDA to decide fate of jeopardized incubator

May 14, 2001|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — The interest in an "incubator" in Calexico to cultivate American technology for use in Mexican maquiladoras has waned, according to a letter sent to the city by Leonard Smith, regional director of the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

"The proposed high-technology manufacturing and information incubator now would be speculative," Smith's letter reads.

He adds: "Because we have been advised that the project is no longer feasible, EDA is returning the application materials to you."

EDA was advised the project is no longer considered feasible by Brad Ward, president of the Small Manufacturers Association of California.

The project would have been a partnership between the city of Calexico, Imperial County, the SMAC and the Department of Commerce and dependent on the success of an application to the department for funding.

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The EDA in previous correspondence had informed Ward the application for funding had deficiencies that needed to be corrected.

Instead of working with the city and the county to correct the deficiencies, Ward and the SMAC pulled out of the project.

County Board of Supervisors Chairman Tony Tirado said over the weekend the county is concerned the project won't be coming to the Imperial Valley.

Calexico's City Council, seated as the city Redevelopment Agency board, will decide what to do about the scuttled project when it meets at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in City Hall at 608 Heber Ave. Afterward, the regular City Council meeting will be conducted.

In addition to the incubator issue, the RDA board will hear a presentation by Luis Estrada concerning the New River lining project.

Estrada will give the board a brief overview of the New River Project as designed by RW Beck Inc. of Seattle.

Beck has put together a comprehensive plan to line the New River and possibly force large sections of the river, classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a "hazardous area," into channels that would keep hazardous material from seeping into the water supply.

The City Council will vote to approve budget numbers for April.

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

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