From the daily archives: Monday, May 10, 2010

By Mario Conde

Downtown Calexico is back on business with 90% of its stores opened but there are buildings that still need to be repaired on some face condemnation.

Last Wednesday, the Calexico Business Improvement District heard a presentation from City Building Manager, Ralph Morales, about the state of the downtown area after the 7.2 magnitude earthquake last month. Morales said that he has spent most of his time on downtown after the earthquake due the damages. Morales said that after the earthquake 76 buildings were red tag in downtown from 1st to 3rd street. At this time, Morales said that 20 buildings are red tag now.  Almost 50% of buildings are red tag because buildings next to them are in highly damaged condition and not because they are condemned.  Nineteen buildings are yellow tagged meaning that contractors can now enter to start working on renovations.

Morales said that T.C. Worthy on Second Street will have to be demolished because of its condition but said the property owners have to make a decision if they will go forward and fix it or decide for condemnation. The stores next to T.C. Worthy can re-open after improvements are made.

May 14, 2010 is the deadline for all building owners to provide information on the action plan of their buildings to issue permits and to inform the tenants of what needs to be done.   City is calling owners before the deadline to get information as soon as possible.

Assistant City Manager, Armando Villa, commended Ralph Morales for being accessible to downtown merchants. Villa said the owners of Gran Mercado have not sent their contractor to begin the plans with the city to approve the improvements that need to be made for the building.  All that is needed, he said, is for the contractor to spend 3 days with building department and begin their project.  After the work begins then the surrounding businesses can also run their businesses again.

Morales also indicated that the Historic De Anza Hotel has now lowered its status from red tag to yellow tag and contractors can begin doing the repairs to the historic building and could see a re-opening later this year.

The building that holds Payless, the Hot Dog stand, and Casa Bonita on second street was severally damaged since roof on the Casa Bonita store fell down and is pulling the roof from Payless side to the left. Renovations on the Payless store are being made right now and the building will have a new roof and a new wall. Construction might last two months.

BID member Christina Rocha asked how the City can improve pedestrian security on the downtown area because the fences at downtown make it look like war zone and asked if they could remove those fences and replace it with wooden pedestrian walkways.

Morales said that there are two problems because if a building would collapse there could be a danger that the front could fall towards the street and harm pedestrians.  That’s why there are sections where half of the street is blocked for safety on red tag buildings.  In other sever buildings there is no other option but to protect pedestrians from being harmed if a building was to fall.

The BID will continue to meet regularly to update the status of the downtown area.

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IMPERIAL COUNTY – Imperial County and Imperial Irrigation District (IID) staff have been working closely with the Bureau of Reclamation in continuous damage assessment and repairs in the aftermath of the April 4th, 7.2 earthquake and its numerous aftershocks.  Last month’s earthquake affected much of Imperial County’s local infrastructure which includes local water delivery systems.  Staff with the federal Bureau of Reclamation, a water management agency, arrived in Imperial County immediately after the earthquake and continues to provide technical assistance to assure that Imperial County and IID staff have the information necessary to make informed decisions related to local water delivery systems in Imperial County.

“As response officials, the Office of Emergency Services has been working closely for the past month with staff from the Bureau of Reclamation and IID to make sure that our local water infrastructure is safe and that any impact to local residents, businesses and agricultural entities is reduced as much as possible,” stated Tony Rouhotas, Imperial County Fire Chief.

The Imperial Irrigation District has been working with local and state agencies on the canal system that serves Imperial County due to damage it sustained as a result of the earthquake and following aftershocks.  Of particular concern and where extensive efforts have been focused is the All-American Canal siphon located west of Calexico.  If further damage occurs or repairs are unsuccessful there could be a disruption to the water supply or flooding upstream from the All-American Canal siphon.  Officials forecast that repair work to the canal may take several weeks to months to complete.

County residents who currently receive canal water for domestic (in-house) use from the Imperial Irrigation District are being asked to monitor their cisterns and ensure at least seventy-two hours’ worth of water available for their home use as a precautionary measure.  This should be a common practice and is even more important given our recent earthquake experience.

In the event that officials determine that it will be necessary to temporarily stop the water supply to a local area or if flooding should occur, affected residents will be notified immediately via the Imperial County emergency broadcast system and the Reverse 911 system so that they can take necessary action and plan accordingly.  Local residents are encouraged to stay informed and listen for any updates related to disaster preparedness.

For local information related to the response to the April 4th earthquake please call the Imperial County Information Line at (760) 482-4968.

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PARA DIFUSION INMEDIATA Oficina de Servicios de Emergencias del Condado Imperial

FECHA:  lunes 10 de mayo del  2010                      TELEFONO:  (760) 482-2403

Autoridades del Condado de Imperial Trabajan Cercanamente con el Buró de Reclamaciones de Estados Unidos en Sistemas Locales de Envió de Agua

CONDADO DE IMPERIAL  – Personal del Condado de Imperial County junto con el Distrito de Irrigación de Imperial (IID por sus siglas en ingles) han estado trabajando cercanamente con el Buró de Reclamaciones de Estados Unidos en asesoramientos continuos y reparaciones después del sismo de magnitud 7.2 del 4 de abril y los temblores numerosos que han seguido.  El sismo del mes pasado afecto mucha de la infraestructura local lo cual incluye los sistemas de irrigación locales.  Personal del Buró de Reclamaciones, una agencia federal dedicada a la coordinación de sistemas de agua, llegó al Condado de Imperial inmediatamente después del sismo y continúan ofreciendo asistencia técnica para asegurar que el Condado de Imperial y el IID cuenten con la información necesaria para hacer decisiones informadas en relación a los sistemas de agua y riego en el Condado de Imperial.

“Como oficiales de respuesta a situaciones de emergencias, la Oficina de Servicios de Emergencias ha estado trabajando muy cercanamente durante este mes con personal del Buró de Reclamaciones y el IID para asegurar que la infraestructura de agua local sea segu <<NR IC Partners BOR_05_10_10.pdf>> ra y que cualquier impacto a los residentes locales y negocios se reduzca lo más posible,” comento Tony Rouhotas, Comandante de Bomberos del Condado Imperial.

El Distrito de Irrigación de Imperial junto con agencias locales y estatales ha estado trabajando en el sistema de canales que presta servicio en el Condado de Imperial a causa de daños sostenidos como resultado del sismo.  De mayor preocupación y donde se están enfocando los esfuerzos es en el conducto del Canal Todo Americano ubicado al oeste de la ciudad de Calexico.  Si llegase a sostener mayores daños o si los esfuerzos de reparación no tienen éxito pudiera resultar en una reducción en la cantidad de agua o hasta inundaciones.  Las autoridades pronostican que los esfuerzos de reparación se pueden tardar  varias semanas y hasta meses para terminar.

Se le pido a los residentes del Condado que actualmente reciben agua de canal para uso domestico (en sus hogares) del Distrito de Irrigación de Imperial que monitoreen bien sus cisternas y se aseguren que cuentan con un mínimo de agua para setenta y dos horas para uso en sus casas.  Esto se debe hacer como una medida de precaución.  Esto debe ser una práctica común y es aun más importante dado el reciente sismo.

En dado caso que las autoridades determinen que será necesario detener el flujo de agua temporalmente o si llegase a suceder una inundación, las personas afectadas serán notificadas de inmediato a través del sistema de aviso de emergencias del Condado Imperial y con el sistema de notificación Reverse 911 para que puedan tomar las medidas necesarias.  Además se le pide a los residentes que se mantengan informados y escuchen las noticias por cualquier información actualizada en relación a la preparación de desastres.

Para información local relacionada a la respuesta al sismo del 4 de abril favor de comunicarse a la Línea Informativa de Condado Imperial al (760) 482-4968.

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