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Our Opinion: Big step for Westmorland

May 08, 2002

It seems ground-breakings are becoming a common occurrence around the Imperial Valley lately. We are pleased to see projects sprouting, particularly one in the tiny city of Westmorland.

A local doctor, Veerinder Anand, and his Las Vegas development partner are investing in the North County city to build a 50-unit Super 8 Motel complete with an indoor pool and Jacuzzi. They have chosen what might be considered the most unlikely spot for a new motel, but they are confident it can succeed.

When asked why the investors chose Westmorland, Anand answered the city is the many first travelers encounter in the Imperial Valley on Highway 86 and that it makes it an ideal spot. That makes sense, particularly considering all the truck traffic that passes through Westmorland and all the travelers who pass through the city on their way to the sand dunes or enjoy other outdoor activities in the Valley.

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Just as the Calipatria Inn has succeeded in that North County city, Anand's project has the potential to be a spark both for Westmorland and North County. For Westmorland, there is the potential to bring other growth and for increasing the city's tax revenue. And, as city officials have said, the motel project would put Westmorland on the map and get things rolling.

The motel project also is a victory for the city's Redevelopment Agency. Created in 1999, this is the first project to receive funding through the Westmorland RDA. And the agency has more money available, so we expect to see other projects aided by RDA. RDA activities can prove beneficial in cities by helping remove areas of blight and helping attract growth, and that is starting to happen.

The building of the motel is good news for the entire county. The Valley is starting to experience the kind of development that other areas of the state already have experienced. Finally developers are looking at the Valley as a fine resource. We have space for growth where other areas do not, and space alone is an important asset in crowded California these days.

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