More than 200 attendees came to the DoubleTree Hotel in Cathedral City to listen and watch Mayor Stan Henry present the “State of the City” hosted by the Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce. A common theme from the guests who made up the roundtable discussions was how business-friendly Cathedral City was in opening their business. It was echoed from small business owners, developers, and large corporations.
The entire presentation will be available soon on video, but in the meantime, here are some photos and highlights from the presentations:
Downtown Development to be an Arts and Entertainment District:
In three years, the council has helped to create four anchors to turn Downtown Cathedral City into an Arts and Entertainment District.
1. The renovation of the Mary Pickford Theatre. The theater went through a complete renovation externally and internally with new captain chairs, new bathrooms, carpeting, and now, with new solar panels being installed, it will be the first motion picture theater in the country to be 100% sustainable.
2. The City applied for and received a $1.4 million dollar federal grant and matching funds from the City Urban Revitalization Corporation (C.U.R.C.) to build a $2.8 million amphitheater park next to the City’s parking structure. Construction of the park will begin in May. Along with the Festival Lawn, the new park will be used for festivals, concerts, art shows, food truck events, Shakespeare in the Park, and much more.
3. CVRep has taken ownership of the former Desert Cinemas building and has already started renovations to turn it into a LIVE performing arts theater. CVRep is the only playhouse in the Valley to possess a Small Professional Theater status with Actor’s Equity.
4. Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians are six months into a 24-month process of turning 13 acres of fee land at the corner of East Palm Canyon Drive and Date Palm Drive into tribal trust land. Tom Davis stated that they are currently moving forward with developing plans for the new casino, restaurants, and mixed-use commercial spaces. Once the land is in tribal trust, construction will begin shortly thereafter. In addition, thanks to the Tribe and C.U.R.C., a new fire station will be built to serve downtown and the south side of Cathedral City.
More than $100 Million Invested in Infrastructure
The Council has approved more than $100 million of investments for infrastructure through Cathedral City including new street resurfacing or reconstruction, three major bridge refurbishing or building (Date Palm Bridge, new Cathedral Canyon Bridge, and Ramon Road Bridge), the CV Link segments, new sidewalks, new way finding signs, and new parks. This is extremely important as government must invest in its public infrastructure to lure private developers.
Enhanced Public Safety
1. Over the past several years with improved finances and federal grants, the City has hired 9 new firefighter–paramedics allocating for the first time in a long time, three firefighters on every fire unit. This allows each fire unit to immediately begin to extinguish a burning structure upon arrival. Previously, the fire unit of two firefighters would have to wait until another unit arrived on the scene.
2. Construction will begin later this year on a new Downtown fire station near the corner of Buddy Rogers Avenue and Date Palm Drive.
1. Hired two new police officers
2. Hired a new Deputy Police Chief
3. Hired a new Crime Analyst
4. Implemented a new Homeless Liaison
5. Implemented a new LGBT Community Liaison
6. Re-implemented motorcycle patrol units
7. Placed more officers on the streets
8. Engaged in community activities to connect with residents and business owners.
Results include a 27% drop in Part 1 Crimes from 2016 to 2017 and a less than 7-minute response time to all priority calls.
The City hired an additional code compliance officer to allow for weekend enforcement. A service not previously available. This helps with monitoring illegal garage sales, responding to noise complaints from residential neighborhoods, enforcing park use permits, as well as all conducting other normal code compliance matters.
New Business Development
The City has worked over the past several years to turn the tide on vacant commercial spaces with new restaurants, retailers, and the new Regency Theater. Highlights included the new Ace Hardware and Planet Fitness. Additionally, the City has been able to get several new businesses to agree to a Local Hire First Program where they attempt to recruit Cathedral City residents for employment first before seeking employees outside of the City.
The Crossings at I-10 and Bob Hope Drive:
This new 9-acre, freeway-oriented development is currently under construction at the southeast corner of Bob Hope Drive and Varner Road. It will be the first new project in the recently annexed area of Cathedral City. Major improvements include a 98-room Best Western Plus hotel, a McDonald’s, Starbucks, Taco Bell, and an Arco AM PM Fueling Center.
The Auto Center has made noteworthy progress. Highlights included:
1. Honda of the Desert finished it new façade for its sales and service center.
2. Shottenkirk Desert Lexus will build a new sales and service center next to Volkswagen on East Palm Canyon Drive.
3. Subaru expanded its footprint while Volvo moved to the newly renovated facility in the former Flooring Innovations space.
4. Mazda at Palm Springs Motors in Cathedral City will soon remodel its sales and service center following its neighbors, Ford and Lincoln.
5. College of the Desert is in its final stage of locating a suitable site for moving its Automotive Technology Center from its main campus in Palm Desert to Cathedral City.
Health and Wellness
1. The City was pleased to announce that Riverside University Health Systems will build a new comprehensive Family Care Clinic in Cathedral City. It will offer physical health care, behavioral health, OBGYN, pediatrics, dental care, physical therapy, and a workforce development center.
2. The first segment of the CV Link opened to much fanfare for the first 2.4 miles. The environmental pathway shall be used by runners, walkers, bicyclists, and neighborhood electric vehicles. Additional segments will be built linking the first segment to Downtown Cathedral City allowing a new path for future gaming, dining, and enjoying festivals and the arts.
Emerging Cannabis Industry
1. The Sunniva facility on Ramon Road is under construction and the first phase (325,000 square feet) will be fully leased out by November.
2. Atomic Budz, a cannabis retailer, stated that their January sales (the first month allowing recreational use sales) were 300% higher than December sales.
3. The first cannabis manufacturing facility will open soon on Summit Drive in the City’s light industrial zone with additional sites opening later this year.