Calexico to pay for road improvements near theater complex

January 16, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — The City Council here voted unanimously to pay $450,000 for custom improvements to a pair of dead-end roads near the Calexico 10 Theater complex.

Extensions to Fiesta and Robinson roads will be used by future patrons of an Applebee's Neighborhood Grill and Bar and a Holiday Inn Express, according to developers.

Custom improvements include a fountain and a wide landscaped thoroughfare, as per specifications submitted by a Calexico landowner hoping to finalize a deal with developers.

Before the council voted to allocate the cash, City Manager Richard Inman said the $450,000 would be mixed like a cocktail of city funds. Part of the sum would be covered by Measure D funds and the rest would be reimbursed by future developers in the area.


Mayor Pro Tem John Renison asked Inman, "What happened to CDBG?"

At a December meeting, Inman proposed applying for a Community Development Block Grant to pay for improvements to the lot on which Applebee's would build.

At that meeting, owners of the Hometown Buffet and Denny's Restaurant, both near the site, asked the city not to "subsidize" potential competition by paying for improvements to Fiesta and Robinson.

After Inman said the city would apply for a CDBG grant, discussion on the issue died.

An owner of a Cole Road restaurant sitting in the council chambers asked Renison, "What just happened?"

Renison told him, "We're going to apply for state money. We won't be using city funds."

A CDBG grant is federal money divvied up by the state for specific civic projects, including economic development.

According to recent comments by Inman and the council's action at Tuesday's meeting, the city will improve two roads to the specifications of a local landowner and apply for a CDBG grant on behalf of Applebee's.

Before Tuesday night's vote, Renison said he wouldn't vote "yes" after finding out the city would be paying for the improvements.

Councilman Javier Alatorre asked Inman, "If this is going to be an investment in our economic development, do we have any guarantee that they will proceed with their projects?"

Inman said he would negotiate something of a development agreement to ensure improvements to the roads would be contingent on development of the property.

Renison then said he supported the expenditure. He had been concerned about the city paying for street improvements that would drive up the cost of the property and allow the landowner to sell it for a higher price.

City Public Works Director Mariano Martinez assured the council the improvements would proceed through city channels like any other public works project.

Mayor Victor Carrillo told Inman, "Well done."

The lawyer for the landowner and the man looking to build the Holiday Inn Express didn't speak at the meeting; nor did anyone opposed to the city's expenditure.

Earlier in Tuesday's meeting, the council signed a resolution in support of Proposition 42.

The March 5 ballot proposition would allow the state to set aside more than a billion dollars in gasoline tax money for public transportation infrastructure. Part of the money would be returned to cities to fund street improvements. Other cities in California have passed resolutions in support of the proposition.

At the end of meeting, the council signed a memorandum of understanding with La Familia Mariachi del Valle Imperial.

In May Calexico will host the Valley's annual mariachi festival. Previously the festival has been staged in Brawley and El Centro.

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or

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