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Tijuana's Iconic Drainage Canal Converted to Concert Venue

Officials in Tijuana have converted what they call the city's biggest crack den into a concert venue for a Grammy winner. Alejandro Fernandez will perform this evening. KPBS Reporter Amy Isackson has

Tijuana's Iconic Drainage Canal Converted to Concert Venue

Officials in Tijuana have converted what they call the city's biggest crack den into a concert venue for a Grammy winner. Alejandro Fernandez will perform this evening. KPBS Reporter Amy Isackson has the story.

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Officials in Tijuana expect 50,000 people to gather on the banks of the city's cement drainage canal tonight to hear Alejandro Fernandez . He won a Latin Grammy in 2000.

The canal snakes through the city. Its cement banks slope down about 50 feet. At the bottom, about 50 feet down, is Tijuana's polluted run off. Hundreds of homeless people also live there. Most are drug addicts.

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Alvaro Avila is with the City of Tijuana. He says the idea is to reclaim the city's public spaces.

<b> Alvaro Avila (Translated from Spanish): </b>  says to get rid of the bad image and give it a new positive one.

For the past two weeks, a small army of workers have been converting the drainage canal to a concert venue.

They laid 400 meters of plastic tubing at the bottom of the river to channel the run off. The stage goes on top.

They also trucked in more than 200 porta potties. They've decorated with potted plants.

The concert is free.

Amy Isackson, KPBS news.