Overpass, business district sought for E.C.

January 16, 2002|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

El Centro Mayor Larry Grogan this morning laid out his vision for the city for the coming year, including the building of an Interstate 8 overpass on Imperial Avenue and the creation of a downtown business district.

He talked about the plans in a "state-of-the-city" address this morning. Grogan told community members gathered in the Old Post Office Pavilion that as mayor he will use the "pulpit" to voice his thoughts on regional issues such as the water transfer to San Diego.

In an address that tackled city and regional matters, Grogan said his tenure as mayor will have a theme of "responsibility to the future."

He said the I-8 overpass, which would bring traffic to the developing area south of the interstate, is a crucial project for the city's future.


Grogan pointed out the Imperial Valley Association of Governments has committed design funds totaling $6.5 million to the project but he added "we need to break ground on that now."

He said the city is talking with state authorities on whether it is possible to receive immediate advanced funding for such a project.

Grogan said the city in the last year invested $5 million to upgrade the downtown area. He said the city now needs to protect its investment.

To do that, he said a business district or lighting district must be created to maintain the work done and to increase lighting in the area.

Grogan advanced his desire to see a countywide quarter-cent sales tax increase that would focus on public safety.

He said the state is considering a half-cent sales tax increase for public safety. Grogan said Imperial Valley communities cannot wait for state officials to decide on the sales tax issue.

He urged all cities to join together to promote a quarter-cent sales tax measure for November. Such a measure, he said, would have to take note that if the state adopts its own tax increase, a local increase would not go into effect.

Grogan said he sees inequities in the deal that would move water from the Valley to San Diego. He said the Valley is being asked to sacrifice.

"Perhaps it's time for Congress to enact a luxury tax on any water that is transferred to mitigate the environmental damages caused by non-essential uses," he said.

>> Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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