Saturday, February 25, 2012

Leaders investing in alternative vision for troubled area

TIJUANA – The city’s east side, long a home to industrial parks and gritty neighborhoods, should also be home to art and science.
That’s the goal the private and public sector are advancing on several fronts to improve life in the most troubled area of the city.

For years, newly arrived residents settled there in sprawling barrios, which had few public services, such as parks and schools. Predictably, the explosive social and economic cocktail brewing there exploded in the years 2008 to 2010, when hundreds of its young residents were assassinated and others arrested.
Criminal cells aligned with competing drug cartels had enlisted them as foot soldiers, and when war broke out among the traffickers, the bodies of their young charges littered eastside streets.
At the end of 2008 a private-public project was inaugurated long in the making, the interactive children’s museum called Museo El Trompo, next to Parque Morelos, located in the heart of the east side. Since then, little by little, other cultural, artistic and entrepreneurial institutions have begun to spring up.
These included the State Center for the Arts, a music conservatory and headquarters for the Baja California Orchestra and the young ensembles it organizes; the soon-to-be-opened Ámbar Museum, which offers scientific displays on the effects of drug abuse; the Culinary Art School; and, most recently, the World Trade Center Tijuana.
On Friday, Baja California Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán inaugurated two halls in the Museo El Trompo -- “Educa” and “Genera” -- built for $1.5 million and which make up the next-to-the-last phase of the museum.
He also announced that the area will be promoted as a corridor dedicated to science and art, though he didn’t elaborate what that promotion would entail.
As is the case with the entire museum, the new halls aim to interest children in the science through diverse games.
The “Educate” hall seeks to establish a relationship between student and the technology sector, while “Generate” invites visitors to relate ideas, such as the creative process, innovation, design and solving problems, explained Gustavo Camarena, president of the El Trompo foundation.
Together, 27 new interactive exhibits opened at the museum, which already has the halls “3D,” “Explica,” “Integra,” and “Experimenta,” plus an auditorium, lecture hall and a lab equipped with a multi-media room, among other features.
The museum was built by a group of business leaders who raised $14.5 million, of which the state contributed $7.5 million

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