EL CENTRO — Additional parking restrictions were authorized by the El Centro City Council at its Jan. 21 meeting for several streets near the El Centro Regional Medical Office Building at 1271 W. Ross Ave.
The council voted 4-0, with Member Cheryl Viegas-Walker absent, in favor of a resolution to issue resident parking permits to homeowners along three streets near the hospital. They are Ross between Imperial Avenue and 12th Street, Sandalwood Drive between S. 14th Street and S. 12th Street and S. 14th Street between Lenrey and Ross avenues.
Since it was a resolution and not an ordinance the measure takes effect immediately. The action was prompted by requests from residents in the area. Each permit costs $20. Four permits per household will be allowed and will be issued by the Engineering Division of the city Public Works Department.
Restrictions are in place from Monday through Friday between the hours of 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. The permits are similar to those issued last spring to residents on Pepper and Poplar drives. The permit has a colored border (to change every year) with a city seal and expires each year on Dec. 31.
In a recent city survey, 26 nearby residents were in favor of the parking permits, three opposed and 16 not available to provide an answer, the city reported. While no recent discussions were held with ECRMC, the hospital did participate last spring when the permits were issued for Poplar and Pepper Drive, Abraham Campos, city Public Works director explained.
Cathy Kenerson, ECRMC strategic officer, explained by email the hospital understands the frustrations of the neighbors regarding employee parking in the surrounding neighborhoods.
“ECRMC is working in partnership with the City of El Centro on a master parking plan here on campus that will be phased-in,” Kennerson stated. “Employees will continue to have access to parking on-campus, at the Baptist Church and at Bucklin Park once the restricted parking takes effect.”
Wastewater System Improvements
In other action, in an effort to increase wastewater systems efficiency, the council approved 4-0 a change order to increase a contract with Schneider Electric by $1.4 million for a total of $14.9 million. The expense will be covered by the wastewater enterprise fund account and developer fees paid to the city when new buildings hook up to the sewer system, explained Campos.
Already completed is instillation of a bar screen, a mesh that traps solids that can be extracted and deposited in a dumpster. Still to be done are pipe inner linings along Imperial Avenue between Brighton and Adams avenues. This prevents groundwater from leaching into the system and so pipes will not be able to leak and possibly cause a sink hole, noted Campos.
Also, aeration basins will be installed. These pump air to keep the beneficial bacteria alive and continue to treat the sewer flow. In addition, computer monitors that track all components of the system are functioning at peak efficiency.
The wastewater system will replace the diesel powered backup generators with natural gas generators in case of a power failure. Street work related to the project will be done mostly in evening hours to have minimal impact on traffic flow. Construction is expected to begin in March and be completed by December, said Campos.
Response to Resident Concerns
Also addressed were Farmer Estates resident complaints about odors emitted from a newly relocated pump station No. 2. For the previous year the city has tried three systems that did not fully eliminate odors. But in December, Public Works introduced a new chemical that keeps the beneficial bacteria alive yet does not produce emissions.
“We have another project that will add a pump station on the east side of town to divert the wastewater flow,” said Campos. “We’re finalizing the design plans now. Construction should start about December or January and be completed around mid-March 2021.”
Meanwhile, cleanup of construction materials, much of it glass, on Cruickshank Avenue about one half mile south of Imperial Valley College has been completed, it was reported. Funds from the project came from a grant from CalRecycle (Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, administers the state’s waste reduction) for $750,000 provided to Imperial County government.
But under a memorandum of understanding Campos explained the city and county share the responsibility for clean-up, for which the county apportioned $590,500 to the city. The council accepted by a 4-0 vote to add this amount to the 2019-20 fiscal year budget.