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Council considers seniors' requests

February 21, 2002|By RUDY YNIGUEZ

Staff Writer

A local seniors group convinced the El Centro City Council to consider its request to use city facilities as a gathering place and to consider its request for city-supplied transportation for certain senior events.

Willie Berryman, representing the El Centro Senior Club, asked the City Council on Wednesday to upgrade a house across the street from the Community Center at 336 S. 1st St.

The request came after the club's request was turned down by the city's Community Services Commission because of a lack of money to renovate the building and meet American with Disabilities Act requirements.


To upgrade the building would cost between $29,025 and $47,730, according to an internal city memorandum. Upgrades would have to include rest rooms, access for the disabled, the parking lot, the driveway, kitchen stove, the natural gas valve and other general maintenance.

Berryman said he felt sure the city has the money to pay for the renovation.

Albert Newton, also representing the club, and a retired Fire Department battalion chief, asked the city to continue providing the club with transportation and a driver to a casino of their choice once a year, and to the Hometown Buffet in Calexico.

"We're not asking for very much," he said, adding that 2001 was the last year in which such services were provided.

Council members agreed the building should be used for some community purpose, or sold. Besides serving as a meeting place for seniors, council members suggested it also be used as a teen center.

The council also agreed to consider the transportation requests but none came out in favor of supplying transportation to a casino.

Councilman Jack Dunnam said if the club wants to go to a casino, that's fine, but he is opposed to the city supplying the wheels.

"I don't think that's appropriate," he said.

It was reported to the council that some casinos will provide free transportation and gambling chips for interested groups.

Councilman Ray Castillo urged the council to help the seniors group with transportation if possible, but not to casinos.

In the end, the council directed staff to review the possibility of using the building in question for more than storage, and develop a policy for the use of city transportation of private groups.

>> Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.

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