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$400,000 Remodeling Job : Tijuana Putting Its Best Face Forward at Border

Times Staff Writer

A $400,000 face-lift of the Mexican side of the border crossing at Tijuana, including a new walkway for pedestrians, should be finished by September, according to a Tijuana civic leader.

“We are trying to show a new face to tourists,” said Alfonso Bustamante Jr., president of the Tijuana Tourism and Convention Bureau. “Tijuana has changed a lot for the better with new river developments and shopping centers; we just needed to clean up our door.”

Most of the remodeling project will be paid for by an organization that promotes urban development in Tijuana, Promotora de Desarollo Urbano de Tijuana, Bustamante said. New inspection booths underneath the gateway bridge marking the entrance to Mexico will be paid for by a $40,000 grant from the Mexican government, he said.

Business Increase Foreseen

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Hotel owners, export-import businessmen and others involved in the tourist industry contributed $80,000 to the project because they expect business will increase if the border is more attractive, Bustamante said.

“Tourism depends on word of mouth, but the first and last impression of Tijuana is not a very nice one, especially for pedestrians since they don’t see the newer areas of the city,” he said.

Customs inspection booths will be moved 500 yards south, Bustamante said, and a row of small office buildings along the highway will be demolished to make way for a 25-foot-wide walkway for pedestrians.

Visitors entering Tijuana on foot will pass through two one-way revolving gates at either end of the landscaped walkway, he said, adding that “the revolving doors will keep street merchants out so the pathway will be clear.”

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