Welcome to Baja123.com Blog Sign in | Help

NEW SPORT CENTRE POSSIBLE IN ROSARITO

By Allan Brown

The state of Baja California, Mexico, is ready to fund, develop and construct a major sports complex in Rosarito Beach as part of a proposed physical rehabilitation and sports center for people with disabilities that has been proposed by the Association Integral de Familia y Amigos (AIFA) de las Personas con Capacidades Differentes de Playas de Rosarito, a Rosarito non-profit group. The state government is enthusiastic in its support for this project and has budgeted the funds and earmarked them for the project. Professor Saul Castro, Director of the High Performance Sports Center in Tijuana, represented the state of Baja California in meetings with AIFA and the municipality of Rosarito Beach. He expressed the state's strong commitment for the project. Most of the more than $2,000,000 would be federal government funding that will be channeled through the state to the project.

 

The project will produce many very important benefits for the city of Rosarito Beach and its citizens with disabilities. The construction of the proposed sporting and rehabilitation complex would provide many needed jobs for Rosarito Beach - both for the construction phase and also for the operation of the facility over the next decades. It would create a world-class sports training facility for people with disabilities and would prepare disabled persons for athletic competition at the local, state, national and international levels. It would create desperately needed physical rehabilitation facilities for persons with disabilities in Rosarito Beach,  provide job training and employment counseling services for disabled citizens and offer psychological counseling services to persons with disabilities and their families.

 

 AIFA must provide six hectares (10,000 square meters - approximately 15 acres) of land to house the rehab and sporting complex, which they do not have. If such land cannot be obtained, the state government will not construct the complex and the funding will be lost.

 

Because the proposed center will serve people with disabilities in the Rosarito Beach area - many of whom do not have private transportation - the land required for the center must be close to the city of Rosarito Beach, serviced by good roads and it must be reasonably level.

 

AIFA has had extensive conversations with the municipal government of Rosarito Beach about the proposed center and has requested that the city provide six hectares of land from the thirty-seven hectare parcel that the city is holding in the New Rosarito area east of the city. The city government has plans to construct a new city park in this area - El Gran Parque de la Ciudad - and Ejido Mazatlan donated a parcel of land to the city for that purpose. The city requested twenty-seven hectares of land for the new park, and Ejido Mazatlan generously donated a thirty-seven hectare parcel to the city - providing more than enough extra land to house the new rehabilitation and sports training center. Locating the new sports complex and physical rehabilitation center next to the city park would enhance the attractiveness and appeal of both the park and the sporting and rehabilitation facility and reduce total development costs. So far the city has not made the six hectares available to the new facility to be constructed.

 

A recent survey conducted in Rosarito Beach  identified more than 1,600 residents with disabilities living there. These self-reported numbers are no doubt far too low. Census numbers from the USA in 2000 report that more than 19% of Americans have one or more disabilities, and that nearly 10% if all Americans have a disability that seriously limits their ability to walk, provide self-care or have their speech understood by others. In contrast, numbers from the Mexican census of 2000 show that only 1.9% of Mexicans are considered disabled. There are not ten times as many people with disabilities in the USA compared to Mexico, on a per capita basis: the difference is in the reporting and each society's definition of disability. Apparently Mexican people are counted as disabled only if they have a severe of very serious disability that profoundly impairs their ability to be independent. Whatever the actual number of people with disabilities is in Rosarito Beach, we know this:

 

1.      There is a large number of persons with severe disabilities in Rosarito Beach.

2.      Currently there are no services for people with disabilities in Rosarito Beach. There is a school that attends to children with disabilities up to age 11, but that school is not able to accommodate kids who use wheelchairs or children with profound disabilities or brain damage. And after age 11, even those limited services end.

3.      The nearest physical rehabilitation center - Centro Rehabilitation Integral Tijuana - is at the far end of Tijuana, nearly a one and one-half hour ride away from downtown Rosarito Beach - EACH WAY.

4.      There are no city vehicles capable of transporting people in wheelchairs, so disabled Rosarito Beach residents requiring therapy must travel to the far end of Tijuana by car or taxi and must be loaded into the vehicle like cargo, with their wheelchair or other mobility device strapped onto the vehicle.

 

Clearly, there is a desperate need for physical, occupational and speech rehabilitation services in Rosarito Beach - along with services to provide job training and counseling for people with disabilities and counseling services. Just as clearly, those services must be located where they can be accessed easily by poor people who do not have accessible transportation available.

 

Meeting these needs was the goal of the project proposed by AIFA. Sports training for people with disabilities has long been recognized as an effective way to offer physical and mental rehabilitation, reduce disability-related illnesses, increase independence, enhance quality of life, improve the performance of the basic activities of daily living, improve self-image and develop social communication and social interaction skills. For these reasons the concept of a sports training facility for people with disabilities was combined with the more traditional physical rehabilitation and counseling services in the proposed new center.

 

The proposed new center includes a gymnasium, basketball courts, weight room, track for walking and running, swimming pool for aqua therapy, spaces and equipment for physical, occupational and speech therapy, job training and counseling areas. Architect Jorge Espinoza of Rosarito Beach donated his services to draw a basic site plan for the new center, and that plan was submitted to the city and state governments.

 

The state government responded with great interest, and agreed to pay for and develop all of the facilities directly related to sports training for people with disabilities - subject to AIFA providing the required six hectares of land - while the facilities that were directly related to rehabilitation, counseling and job training would be the responsibility of others (AIFA, the city of Rosarito Beach, outside foundations, etc.). In other words, funding from the state of Baja California would cover approximately $2,000,000 of the cost of the entire project. AIFA estimates its cost of the rehabilitation portion of the project to be $600,000, and it has already received conditional commitments from third parties for part of that funding, and has plans to raise funds to cover the remainder of the cost.

 

All that is needed to get the project going is six hectares of land.

 

If the city government decides it cannot provide the land from its parcel, AIFA will need to find a private donor in order for this important project to go forward, and time is short. It would be most unfortunate to let this opportunity slip away because of six hectares of land.

 

People who are interested in helping to provide an improved quality of life for persons with disabilities in  Rosarito Beach can contact AIFA by calling Elizabeth Carbajal at the International Mail Center at 661.612.0155, or via email at aifasoloporamor@yahoo.com or intmail24hrs@yahoo.com.mx  


 

Comments

Anonymous comments are disabled