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Sidewalks repaired on Heffernan

June 04, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE

Staff Writer

CALEXICO — Over the last 13 years, Joe Vindiola of Heffernan Avenue here has seen numerous people fall on the cracked and warped sidewalk fronting his house.

Vindiola said he had told various city officials the sidewalk is dangerous. He said the city could be liable in a lawsuit. Something needed to be done, and soon, he told city officials.

For years, nothing was done … until today.

This morning a city public works crew and employees of Heber-based Gibson and Schaefer Inc. poured the concrete for new sidewalks. Those sidewalks will be trod upon by senior citizens living on Heffernan and kids walking to Rockwood School, among others.

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Last week, while shopping at a local market, Vindiola ran into City Councilman David Ouzan. During their ensuing chat, Vindiola mentioned the shoddy sidewalks on his street.

"He asked me, ‘What is your address, Joe?'" Vindiola said.

The next morning Ouzan showed up at Vindiola's house to inspect the scene. After Ouzan made a few calls, later that morning a city crew started breaking up the old sidewalk to make way for the new.

Vindiola said, "How strange that a total stranger, not a native of Calexico, was able to get some things done. This man got things done. It might not be a big issue but he is showing that he cares."

At a recent City Council meeting, City Councilman Alex Perrone said something needed to be done about the town's hazardous sidewalks because the city was at risk of lawsuits. The rest of the council pledged to work toward fixing the problem.

Ouzan said there is money in next year's budget to fix a good percentage of the city's sidewalks but he thought it was necessary to spur the Heffernan project now, before the annual budget process was finalized sometime next month.

"There are some emergencies that need to be done right away," he said.

Standing in the front yard of Vindiola's house this morning, Ouzan said, "Please don't give up. If you have any problem, come to David Ouzan. They can come to my store. They can come to the City Council.

"We need to take care of the existing Calexico and that's what I want to do," he said.

For those with a problem, Ouzan owns Max's 99 Cents Store on Second Street downtown and Hungry Howie's Pizza at the corner of Highway 98 and Meadows Road. He can be reached at either establishment.

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or aclaverie@aol.com.

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