State of the City: Calexico looks to construction projects to build its future

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Mayor Armando Real presenting new projects for city of Calexico at the 2017 State of the City Address. Photo by Daniella Rodiles.

CALEXICO — Residents of Calexico gathered at the Carmen Durazo Cultural Arts Center to attend the State of the City address Thursday afternoon, presented by Mayor Armando Real, where he delivered a his presentation entitled “A Year of Construction,” summarizing Calexico’s current and future projects intended to improve the city’s status.

The event was led by a patriotic presentation of colors by the Calexico Police Department Color Guard, the national anthem sang by Natalia Lozano, and an invocation by Pastor Frank Zazueta of Christ Community Church.

City Manager Armando G. Villa welcomed Real to the podium as attendees gave a gracious ovation.

“I’m very happy to bring you a message that does not have great lies that anyone can say, but good solid facts about our current situation,” said Real. “We do have a lot of work to do and by no means we’ve achieved greatness, but I know this city is capable.”

Real was optimistic about Calexico’s ability to address it’s major financial woes.

“It is now that we’re able to see the horizon and take ourselves out the hole we’ve got into and fix our financial situation,” he asserted.

Real supported this claim by presenting 2017 to be “A Year of Construction” for Calexico, featuring new projects going under construction.

Real pointed to the demolition of the National Guard Armory, which will make space for the expansion of Herber Park.

Herber Park, funded by the Department of Housing and Community Development, and Rockwood Park, funded by CCBG, has seen $331,000 in renovation, including automated irrigation systems, new park equipment, a canopy, safety surfacing, trash disposals, and benches.

To combat the high rate of diabetes in the Valley, Cordova Park and John F. Kennedy has also been reconstructed with exercise equipment to give accessible outdoors activity at no cost. Both projects resulted in a total cost of $165,000.

Real also stated that the city of Calexico transit needs an assessment study to evaluate the current transit system. The study will result in new recommendations and guidelines, and will modernize buses and taxis to improve the city’s mobilization and cost $95,000.

The immediate projects for 2017 will be the installation of Herber Park exercise equipment in collaboration with Hefferman Memorial District, the installation of basketball and picnic equipment in Miguel Cortez Park, and general street improvements. In addition, Real said that the construction of water and waste water treatment plants will be installed with a completely new electrical system contributing to energy generators that the city will providing from their water operating fund of $1.4 million dollars.

Real also highlighted private construction efforts in process, such as a 7-Eleven shop on Cole Road and Rockwood Avenue Plaza, Cardenas Market near Highway 111, and Las Palmas mobile home park. State construction is in progress expanding Highway 98, and federal construction is at work on new West Port of entry. The results of total cost of private construction will be $16,045,000.

Calexico is also working to establish new water lines on Highway 98, funded by the Department of Transportation.

Real concluded his presentation by displaying Calexico’s scheduled projects for this year, consisting of the New River parkway improvements, the 2015 Urban Water Plan, the Calexico Bicycle Master plan, and Seismic Bridge Evaluation study.

“Calexico is to be spent almost a quarter of a billion dollars on infrastructure and construction happening right here in our city and we are very proud of this accomplishment,” said Real.

“But I truly believe there is something else happening in our city. I think the city itself in under construction”, said Real, thanking his new elected council members for helping Real in the two years he’s been on council.

Real called the community to warmly welcome every business interested in coming to the city and to promote vendors, offering any help possible. The mayor also called on Calexico consumers to strive to shop locally.

“I think it’s a new day and a new generation for a great city. I have 100% faith and confidence that this a new Calexico, and the change that I have wanted to bring since the day I ran for council is happening in front of our very own eyes,” stated Real.

“This a new generation of Calexicans that we are paving the roads for and we will take this city from a small town in California into the future Calexico that will once again become a great economic power house.”