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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

El Centro is the "Heart" of Imperial County

11/2/2022 (Permalink)

Ugly green color SERVPRO vehicle. SERVPRO of El Centro is proud to serve El Centro.

Understanding the Origin and Growth of El Centro Helps Envision the Future 

El Centro is the county seat for Imperial County, California. Many people who have never been to the West Coast may not even realize the importance of Imperial County as it is eclipsed by Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area. However, even though it started as a division of San Diego County, it now holds its own as part of Southern California's border region as it borders both Arizona and Mexico. 

The area surrounding El Centro is desert. However,  sophisticated irrigation systems fed with water from the Colorado River allow it to be one of America's most important agricultural areas.

Crucial to this water distribution is the All-American Canal, an 80-mile canal carrying water from the Colorado River to Imperial Valley. The All-American Canal and another five smaller channels transport water to the growing areas in the Imperial Valley. 

El Centro and all of Imperial Valley are highly influenced by Mexican culture, and nearly 80% of the population is Hispanic, with the remaining 20% representing White, Native American, Asian, and African American households. Given the area's history and its center-stage role in the Mexican-American War, it is no surprise that Mexican culture is a part of its heritage. One of the first Europeans to explore the area was Melchor Diaz, circa 1540. Centuries later, the Mexican-American War divided the Imperial Valley in two, with Mexico retaining control over one half of it and the U.S. controlling the other half. It wasn't until 1907 that Imperial County became a separate entity. 

Imperial County owes its name to Imperial Land Company, formed in 1900 to settle Imperial Valley and expand the economic footprint for the California Development Company. The latter was invested in designing an irrigation system to reach the desert in California. The County welcomed people from the Northwest as they looked for work in the 1930s and 1940s, and the completion of the All-American Canal made the employment market prosper. 

Agriculture was robust enough to sustain its inhabitants and turn a profit for the California Development Company. Sadly, the area suffered during the Great Recession starting in 2008, and El Centro had one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation. 

Weather plays an essential role in the success of the area. El Centro holds the distinction of being the southernmost city below sea level in the continental U.S. Its summers are long and hot, and most of the year, the sun shines with very little rain. In the winter months, temperatures drop at night into the 40s, in contrast to the 100+ degrees one can feel in the summer. Occasionally, El Centro will feel the impact of El Nino or La Nina, which typically leave disaster in their wake due to shifts in the weather.   

Life in El Centro

Life in El Centro is not without challenges, starting with a sizable 6.9 earthquake in 1940. Although California isn't a stranger to tectonic movement, it was the first earthquake whose magnitude was recorded by a seismograph so close to the fault. Its impact was felt throughout the Imperial Valley and killed at least nine people. Aside from its human impact, the quake disrupted established irrigation systems and, therefore, the area's livelihood. 

Employment statistics in El Centro have been the cause of much discussion by economists and analysts, notably when the unemployment rate reached 25% in 2009. Some argue that the city has a stable unemployment rate of about 12%, to put it in context. A jump in the metric needs to be discussed as it deviates from its baseline. Proximity to the Mexican border is arguably a factor in unemployment figures, as some people are said to work in Mexicali while claiming in the U.S.  

As the commercial hub for the County, El Centro relies mainly on the service and retail industry, but it has become a popular filming location in recent years. American Sniper, Lady Bird, and War Dogs are all said to have been filmed in town. The Imperial County Film Commission is based in El Centro as a resource to filmmakers and movie-making staff.

Three school districts govern education in El Centro: 

  • McCabe Union Elementary School District
  • El Centro School District
  • Central Union High School District.  

College is also available through Imperial Valley College, which offers 2-year degrees, and San Diego State University allows residents to pursue bachelor's and master's degrees in their Calexico Campus nearby. Situated along the Mexico border, it is mindful of its surrounding community's needs and houses one of the nation's most diverse student bodies. 

Taking Care of Your El Centro Home when it Floods

The importance of water, irrigation, and conservation is an overall value in El Centro households. Threats to the precious liquid are taken seriously, and each resident takes great care in preserving it. SERVPRO, a leading water restoration company, knows how to restore homes after a pipe burst or a storm causes damage; we do so by being as efficient as possible. 

In our training with leaders in the restoration industry, we learn to use the latest equipment and technology to mitigate losses. Our expert team will be the first to tell you that removing moisture is not the only goal of a water cleanup process. Instead, restoring humidity levels by using dehumidifiers, air movers, and specialized extractors is what makes the difference. With our help, you don't need to worry about measuring progress, as our competent team brings the best tools to monitor our success. 

SERVPRO of El Centro/Salton City is an active part of our community and an invaluable resource when water events occur. A call to our 24/7 hotline at (760) 337-5858 prompts us to travel to your home or office and kick off the restoration efforts. With our help, we can plot a plan to return your space to mint condition and leave it "Like it never even happened."

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