Calexico May Ax Small Park For Commercial Development
Legion Park near Cesar Chavez Boulevard in Calexico, home to softball fields, may fade into history with the city looking to sell off the land for commercial use. | Corissa Ibarra photo

Calexico May Ax Small Park For Commercial Development

CALEXICO — As Calexico focuses its attentions on building out Cordova and Heber parks to possibly make them community jewels, tiny Legion Park could be on the chopping block.

Located near Fifth Street and Cesar Chavez Boulevard, it is home to American Legion Field, a pair of dusty ball diamonds.

The Calexico City Council on March 4 is expected to consider a resolution recording the final map on a swath of city-owned land near the water treatment plant and city shop. That would carve the 45-acre parcel into several smaller parcels right at Legion Park.

The meeting was to be held after this newspaper’s deadline.

The move could bring the city some revenue if the smaller parcels can be sold to private entities on the open market, a city Planning Department report states.

Bringing commercial activity to the area could also leverage investment in the multi-million-dollar expansion of Cesar Chavez Boulevard completed in 2019. Additionally, the city has more ballfields planned for Cordova Park and other areas that would mitigate the loss of Legion Park.

2018 Decision

The proposed parceling was nearly completed in fall 2018 when the matter went through a public hearing and environmental-review process. However, it was never completed and must be reconsidered due to the addition of a small parcel, according to the report and map prepared by planning consultant Christopher Velasco.

In 2018, the five parcels totaling about five acres, four of which directly face Cesar Chavez and one of which faces Pierce Avenue, were cut away from the larger city-owned lot on which the water plant and city shop are located.

Pierce runs between the five smaller parcels along Cesar Chavez and the water plant and shop. The five smaller parcels are zoned for “industrial rail,” apparently to take advantage of the Union Pacific Railroad that runs parallel to much of Cesar Chavez Boulevard.

The staff report states no one spoke in opposition of the project, which directly affects Legion Park and its two baseball diamonds, during a public hearing on Oct. 8, 2018.

“This final map subdivision will legally separate the water plant and city shop from the remaining acreage and will be open to the market as future industrial/commercial development along Cesar Chavez Boulevard,” according to staff reports.   

The west side of Cesar Chavez (the railroad runs along the east) from Highway 98 to Second Street is a mix of commercial and light industrial developments on mostly private properties.

It appears Legion Park and American Legion Field, which in some instances on Facebook is also known as Water Park-American Legion Field, is used for adult and girls’ softball. In November 2019 it was the site of the 30th annual Calexico Turkey Bowl Classic, an all-day event involving Calexico High School alumni and organized by the graduating class of 1989.

Streets Project Completed

In other city business March 4, the council was expected to be asked to authorize the city manager to sign off on the completion of a 2019 streets project. The $5.29 million effort involved the rehabilitation of about 50 city streets. It is one of several upgrades the city has undertaken over the past year as it catches up on infrastructure improvements. The streets project was completed by Aggregate Products Inc. of Pico Rivera in December.

This story is featured in the Mar 05, 2020 e-Edition.

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