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Calexico seeking grant for road work benefiting proposed eatery

December 20, 2001|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — The City Council here neatly sidestepped a potential controversy by directing City Manager Richard Inman to seek a Community Development Block Grant to pay for the construction of two roads near the Calexico 10 theaters.

The grant would be from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development filtered through the state, according to Inman.

Last week a representative for an Applebee's Neighborhood Grill and Bar franchisee asked the City Council, seated as the city Redevelopment Agency board, to consider paying for the infrastructure costs associated with working on the Fiesta and Robinson roads.

Customers of the Applebee's and two proposed nearby hotels would account for a vast majority of the potential traffic on the new stretch of the roads.

At Tuesday's RDA board meeting, the board heard from business owners during the public comments portion of the meeting. Two local businessmen said building the roads with RDA funds would be akin to "subsidizing" private business interests.

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The board then heard from an attorney representing the owners of the land on which Applebee's is looking to build.

The lawyer, John McClendon of Orange, said the costs of building the roads would be more than paid back by sales tax revenue taken in by the projects.

After a long RDA meeting featuring a number of other items, the board addressed the item regarding Applebee's.

Inman recommended applying for a CDBG grant. The council jumped at the idea and approved the motion unanimously.

One of the business owners in the audience asked the council to explain what had just happened.

Mayor Pro Tem John Renison said the city was going to apply for a grant.

"We're not using city money," he said.

After the meeting, Inman explained how a CDBG grant application works.

If the city is awarded the grant the City Council would have to decide how to use the money.

The council could use it to build the roads near the theaters but that has not been "fully negotiated" with Applebee's or the landowner, Inman said.

He said the council could use the money for another project.

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

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