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Is a sports complex in Calexico's future?

July 31, 2001|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — While summertime tourists marveled at the breathtaking ocean views or the world-class aquarium, the Calexico City Council was collectively awed by something else it saw on a recent trip to Monterey.

"The Monterey Sports Center was a beautiful complex, complete with areas for physical conditioning and an aquatic center," said Calexico Mayor Victor Carrillo.

"I would like to see something like that brought to Calexico by this City Council," he said.

Last week Calexico's five city councilmen were in Monterey attending a League of California Cities' three-day workshop.

They networked and shared stories with city officials from all over the state and toured some of Monterey's public facilities.

The facility that most impressed Carrillo and Mayor Pro Tem John Renison was the sports complex.

"I'd like to expand the recreation offerings for Calexico. A complex like that would allow us to offer a pool for lessons but also for exercise; 10 to 15 lanes open during the day. The pool could be heated for senior citizens so that they could walk or jog," Carrillo said.

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Renison said, "It is a quality of life issue. We need some major recreation facelifts, including parks."

He said one of the seminars at the workshop dealt with ways other cities have secured funding for such projects.

"That seminar really broadened our horizons. We brought back innovative ways to fund the sports complex. We brought back material that would blow you out of your chair.

"The first step is that you would have to try to get land donated. I think a lot of people would get on board if we tried to bring something like this to Calexico," Renison said.

Carrillo said a Calexico sports complex might not be built in the magnitude or scope of the Monterey facility but would be, "something that contains a weight room, basketball court, lap tracks and a swimming pool under one roof."

He said the project would have to be fund by a combination of public and private funds.

Calexico's representatives attended seminars dealing with common problems throughout the state and how their peers are dealing with those issues.

A seminar Carrillo was impressed by was one that defined a healthy city manager/city council relationship.

Renison agreed and said the seminar caused him to "sit down and think about things such as the city's priorities and objectives and how not to fall into a micro-management syndrome."

He said it is important to let the city manager work and then evaluate him after a set amount of time.

Another seminar gave examples of how other cities have worked with Sacramento and Washington, D.C., and the different methods used to capture elected officials' attention.

"It opens your eyes to what other cities are doing. That seminar gave us an opportunity to expand our knowledge and learn about the mechanisms that are in place in order to use them the most effectively to enhance the quality of life for all of our citizens," Renison said.

In addition to the seminars, tours and handshaking/card-exchanging sessions, the council members had a chance to enjoy some of Monterey's unique charms.

"I'm not a fish eater but obviously you take advantage of that when you're here," Renison said.

Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or claverie7@hotmail.com

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