If, at the beginning of 2020, you told me we would be wearing face masks in public, flinching whenever someone sneezes and having Zoom-based family get togethers, I would have politely nodded and smiled at the unthinkable notion. That said, twelve months later, here we are.
A lot has happened since our last economic development update in October. Infection rates dropped, businesses began to reopen, and we attempted to return to “normal.” Unfortunately, too many of us dropped our guard, too quickly. Maybe we weren’t wearing masks as we should have, perhaps we weren’t social distancing as prescribed, or maybe we started gathering in small groups. In any case, the COVID-19 infection rates have come roaring back. Since the steps to control the spread of COVID-19 are simple (always wear a mask, always socially distance, and avoid large gatherings), what we do over Christmas will determine how long our economy remains closed down.
With the economic realities of a shutdown impacting our most vulnerable populations, bright spots for many are becoming challenging to find. Thankfully, we do not have to look far to find a silver lining. As I work with Cathedral City businesses and residents, I see our community coming together in remarkable ways. I have seen younger neighbors looking out for their more COVID-vulnerable neighbors by picking up and delivering groceries. I have seen countless families donate food and even make monetary donations to Cathedral City-based non-profit and church groups. I have seen businesses keeping employees on the payroll even when the company is shut down because the business owner knows some of their employees are ineligible for unemployment insurance.
Despite a global pandemic, the Cathedral City community is coming together in beautiful ways. By shopping Cathedral City-based businesses, you are supporting your community and the local families who own and run those businesses. Your support will help them get through the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.
Beyond seeing a great community become an even closer-knit community, the Planning, Engineering, and Economic Development Departments have remained hard at work. If you have driven around the City lately, you have noticed incredible progress. On the north side of town, DR Horton, America’s largest homebuilder, continues building homes at a blistering pace. Out of the 329 lots DR Horton purchased from Inland Communities, DR Horton has built and sold over 200 homes. In response to market demand, DR Horton has added two new floor plans and is revising a third plan. With these new plans, their houses will do an even better job meeting today’s homebuyers’ needs. On the south side of town, local Cathedral City homebuilder Mario Gonzalez, owner of GHA Companies, continues building cutting edge Mid-Century modern homes at The District East. If you have been thinking of purchasing one of Mario’s semi-custom homes, you’d better act soon because The District East is nearly sold out. On the east side of town, The Rilington Group, voted Coachella Valley’s top home builder in 2006, is beginning construction within the Rio Del Sol community. With 177 lots to build out, future residents will be able to purchase and enjoy attractive and well-designed homes at attainable prices.
As far as our Downtown Arts and Entertainment District, the Agua Caliente Cathedral City Casino is finished, open, and looks incredible. I encourage you to drive by this new amenity. While you are in the area, take a look at Cathedral City’s newest fire station, Station 411. Designed to service the southern portion of our community for the next 50 years. The casino, fire station, Cathedral City Common Amphitheater, CV Repertory Playhouse, the newly finished Buddy Rogers Ave, and the Mary Pickford Movie theater are all evidence of the immense momentum building within our Downtown.
Until vaccines come out and widely available, please avoid gathering in groups. If you must, wear a mask and practice social distancing. Beyond that, getting tested every month and shopping local are the next two best steps you can take to accelerate our City’s economic recovery. Check out our website, Cathedral City Shop Local, to find categories and lists of all the businesses within Cathedral City which need your support. Shopping at our businesses will help keep our retailers alive and keep your tax dollars within the City. These tax dollars fund critical services such as our police and fire departments and road maintenance. There is no better testimonial for attracting new businesses than to ensure our existing businesses are prosperous.
Lastly, please do everything you can to keep your properties in great shape. Property appearance is also an important “selling point” when prospective homebuyers, business owners, and developers look for their next “perfect” location.
Please share the City’s dedicated websites, www.discovercathedralcity.com and www.ccedd.org, with your friends and families. As a team, we are all a part of the long-term success of Cathedral City, an incredible place to live, work, and play.