By Mario Conde
An item brought by BID member Eduardo Lopez he said that he took a walk around downtown Calexico and counted 16 empty buildings. Lopez suggested having the BID work with Economic Development director, Francisco Gutierrez, and work to attract new business to fill those empty spaces. Lopez also suggested working closely with Code Enforcement in regards to downtown.
RDA Director Rosalind Guerrero informed the BID that Kids Center will be leaving but the property owner will revitalize the frontage of the building. Economic Development Director Francisco Gutierrez said that his office has been promoting City incentives going door-to-door speaking with downtown merchants that include the façade program that the Redevelopment Agency provides to improve their frontage. The BID discussed several options to help local downtown merchants improve their façade and look for new ways to expedite City business licenses and permits when investors want to open a business in downtown.
City Manager Victor Carrillo told the BID that the City will hire two new employees. One will work solely on graffiti clean-up and the other will sweep downtown. Mayor David Ouzan suggested the BID to hire and executive director. He said that the City Manager has a lot of work to do in the City and it would be better if the BID hires an Executive Director that works downtown full time and reports to the City Manager. The BID currently has $18,000 in budget but RDA could give them more funding for this position.
In other items, the BID approved to hire Spectrum Advertising to develop and run the BID website as well as the monthly news letter. The other two bidders were Converyor Group and Envision. BID member Eduardo Lopez suggested working with Envison and other companies to support local companies. The BID also discussed the possibility of advertising 10 businesses on Hi-vision and local cable programming. The District has a $1,500 monthly budget for this.
City Manager Victor Carrillo informed that second street will be a two-way street for six months as part of a pilot program. Carrillo said that there is a concern that local residents don’t shop downtown since they don’t find parking. The City Manager will be talking to the merchants on a monthly basis and said that a couple of parking meters will be lost for every block. “I prefer to lose 15 cents on parking meter than lose $50 spent on a store.” Carillo said.