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Temporary Closures in Effect for Camarena Library, Community Center While Issues Addressed
CALEXICO — Repairs and upgrades are underway or pending for multiple public facilities that the city has had to keep closed while it addresses the issues, which in some cases have languished for years.
The impacted facilities that are currently closed include Camarena Memorial Library, Carnegie Library, and the Community Center.
Additionally, almost every other city facility has had issues with their roofs after the rain from Tropical Storm Kay, said City Manager Esperanza Colio Warren.
“It’s been a challenge,” Colio Warren said in a phone interview on Thursday, Sept. 22. “I’m trying to fix them little by little.”
Part of the challenge stems from the city’s financial constraints, as well as the limited staff available, she told the City Council during its regular meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 21.
All told, seven facilities sustained leaking roofs following the rains from Tropical Storm Kay, Colio Warren said during the meeting. Not all are closed, though, and the city was soliciting bids to have repairs made.
At the Camarena Memorial Library, mold was discovered enclosed in the walls of the restroom area after city workers went to investigate the leaking roof, she said.
“We had to shut down the library to protect the employees and the public,” Colio Warren told the council.
Already, a company has been approved to remove the mold. The library was expected to open on Monday, Sept. 26, but only have the children’s restroom open, Colio Warren said during the phone interview.
Depending on the cost, the city was also considering having portable bathrooms temporarily installed at the library.
She also notified the council that the Community Center, located at 707 Dool Ave., was closed on Wednesday after a community member alerted county officials that its restrooms lacked hot water.
“It was never brought to my attention,” she told the council. “If I would’ve known, I would’ve tried to mitigate the issue.”
The issue appears to have been present for a couple years and was not addressed, despite city staff bringing it to the attention of past administrations, Colio Warren said.
State law mandates that all public restrooms have warm and cold water accessible to patrons. The city was soliciting bids to address the matter and was considering purchasing a small, portable water heater to serve in the interim.
The county Public Health Department’s Environmental Health Division was monitoring the situation and working with the city to have the facility regain compliance, Colio Warren said during an interview.
As for the Carnegie Library, four of its five air conditioners are currently inoperable, and the facility has sewer drainage issues, too, forcing the city to keep it shuttered for the time being, Colio Warren said.
City officials are pleading with motorists traveling to Mexicali through Calexico to follow the instructions of the Police Department’s traffic control officers, one of whom was struck and injured recently by an unruly driver.
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The city has experienced an increase in southbound traffic in recent weeks, prompting long lines to enter Mexicali, especially on weekends, said City Manager Colio Warren.
Lately, the motorists have been ignoring the instructions of the traffic control officers and blocking intersections.
Colio Warren said that on one occasion she had gotten stuck in an intersection and had to call the police for assistance.
“It’s been a struggle for us,” she told the City Council during her report during its meeting. “And we don’t have much funding to have additional cops and additional traffic controllers.”
In response to the city’s concerns, council member Gloria Romo requested to have the Police Department provide a presentation about its traffic control efforts to the council at an upcoming meeting.
Mayor Pro Tem Raul Ureña also expressed frustration with the situation, which he partly attributed to the Imperial County Transportation Commission for failing to provide additional funding to the city to hire more traffic controllers.
“This is disgraceful,” Ureña said during the meeting. “It behooves us to send a letter to ICTC and let them know what is happening and let them know that their policy action is the cause of this.”
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