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Brawley readies for 100th anniversary

June 17, 2002|By DARREN SIMON

Staff Writer

BRAWLEY — In 1902, as people made their way to the recently irrigated Desert Southwest to try to carve lives out of a stretch of inhospitable land, the town of Brawley was founded.

More people made their way to the North County town, building farms and homes and opening shops, churches and a school until 1908, when Brawley was incorporated into a city.

This year the Brawley Chamber of Commerce and the Brawley Economic Development Commission will be organizing a 100-year celebration.

On Tuesday, the chamber and BEDC will give a presentation before the Brawley City Council regarding planning for the celebration, which will be in October. The meeting is set for 7 p.m. in the council chambers, 225 A St.


Tim Kelley, executive director of the BEDC, said his agency and the chamber will be looking for community volunteers to help with planning the event.

"We want this to be pretty big," he said, adding the 100-year celebration in October will lead into Cattle Call Rodeo week in November.

He said between the two events, activity in the city, particularly along Main Street, should be "pretty much nonstop."

Kelley said the celebration is expected to include a parade, a car show and other activities in the Plaza Park areas along Main.

One goal is to have four murals showcasing the history and culture of the city ready to unveil by the October celebration. One of the murals would be painted on D and Eight streets, a second would be in the plaza area, and two others would be along Main Street. The celebration should coincide with the placing of benches and planters along Main, Kelley said.

City Manager Jerry Santillan said the city will be involved in organizing the celebration with the chamber, BEDC and any other local agency that gets involved. He said as part of the celebration the city will open a time capsule that has been locked away in the city's vault.

Santillan added while the celebration will be staged to honor the 100 years since the town of Brawley was founded, there will be a celebration in 2008 to honor the incorporation of the city of Brawley.

Kelley said the event this year is geared partly toward the effort to upgrade the downtown and increase community activities there. He said in the next year more events will be planned to bring together the community.

The city is working to obtain a California Main Street Program designation from the state that would help Brawley city tap into state resources and guide the effort to upgrade Main Street. Kelley said it likely will be a year before the city is ready to present an application to the state seeking the designation.

As part of that effort, committees have been formed to plan for the upgrade of Main. Those committees are dealing with issues such as ways to renovate the area, economic restructuring downtown to promote business growth and promoting the area. Such events as the 100-year celebration are key to promoting more activity in the area.

Brawley officials involved in the California Main Street Program have said they can foresee when community events are conducted in the area each month and when Main Street will be a tourist stop.

Kelley said he would like anyone with information about pioneers or with memorabilia from the city's history to come forward. He said anyone with information or who wants to take part in organizing the event can contact the chamber and BEDC at 344-3160.

>> Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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