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Our Opinion: Fulfilling a need

June 05, 2002

Two cities and the county government have been awarded competitive grants under a state park bond approved by California voters in 2000.

Brawley and El Centro and the county government deserve plaudits for the efforts to obtain such funding to add or improve recreational opportunities available for youth.

Brawley received $385,000 to upgrade its public swimming pool, El Centro $275,000 to do work on McGee Park and the county $490,000 for Ocotillo Community Park.

We continue to be impressed by what seems to be an increasing effort by local agencies to improve recreational outlets for youths. There is a serious need for more recreation for young people in the Imperial Valley and it is an issue that needs to be addressed by every city.


We realize that it is no easy task when you consider we do not live in a wealthy area where communities have excess dollars available to spend on recreational opportunities. At times it is all communities can do to offer even the barest recreational services with the money they have available. But that shouldn't count as an excuse.

There are federal and state grant programs that can help and because we are a relatively poor community, we are particularly eligible for some programs. All a city or community needs to do is apply. Even a few thousand dollars can make a difference in a young person's life when they are looking for activities after school, and — more important perhaps — during the long, hot summer months here.

Communities in areas such as the Imperial Valley must depend on grants to help make recreation possible for youths. Community leaders are showing they understand that by going after such funding. Still, we want to see more activities available for our young people— programs that can keep kids of all ages occupied during the summer months.

We could use more public swimming pools, more park space, more indoor facilities. Maybe local cities and county could work together toward having a water park built in the Imperial Valley. But there are other needs such as more day-camp services throughout the Imperial Valley.

Remember, the more kids who are off the streets and in positive programs means more kids will have a chance to see people care about them and want to make a difference in their lives.

That can mean more young people will stay on the right path, which is the main goal of recreational programs in the long run.

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