Our Opinion: A good scrubbing

May 31, 2002

Revitalization" is the term being bandied about in regard to downtown Calexico.

Actually, downtown Calexico has plenty of vitality. Unless things in Mexico or the United States are abnormal, there are plenty of shoppers in downtown Calexico almost every day.

What the downtown shopping district needs, as much as anything, is a good scrubbing.

We are glad the Calexico City Council is paying attention to downtown, which needs to become a better place to reach the potential it has in bordering Mexicali, a city of nearly 1 million people, many of whom are anxious for American goods.

Downtown Calexico has its assets, including pedestrian access from Mexicali, plenty of stores offering a wide variety of reasonably priced goods, places to park, places to eat, places to rest and places to get out of the sun.


The main problem in downtown Calexico is a general feeling of grime and too much wear and tear overall. Some of the downtown storefronts are nice — we would put Ritmo Latino toward the top of the list — but many need a lot of work, inside but particularly outside, to draw even more customers.

One suggestion was that a city fire truck be brought in with a high-powered hose to spray off the years of dirt from some of the buildings. That seems like a fine idea, and one the Calexico Fire Department seems willing to do, but we would suggest it also be aimed at some of the sidewalks, which need both cleaning and concrete repair in many places.

The city also needs an effective storefront facade rehabilitation program that will not be abused. If merchants can get a nice supplement to make their businesses more attractive, the smart ones will jump at it. People are attracted to better-looking stores.

People crossing from Mexicali into downtown Calexico would appreciate experiencing an area significantly different from downtown Mexicali. Now, other than the tunnel and the crossing area between the cities, the two downtowns are too close to being indistinguishable. Calexicans, other Imperial Valley shoppers and other visitors to the area probably would appreciate a cleaner, neater downtown Calexico that maintains its retail variety, its hustle and bustle and its border area charm.

Calexico politicians are talking about making downtown Calexico a better place, but politicians often say a lot and don't get anything done. It was Calexico politicians who let the city's downtown reach its rundown state.

It's time for real action regarding Calexico's downtown, and it should start with a good scrubbing.

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