Community Update – Economic Development

Over the years, we have discussed the community- and quality of life-enhancing initiatives your Economic Development Department has led or supported. We have discussed the City Council’s proactive leadership and initiatives which solved or are addressing complex community issues. We have shared important successes such as improving disadvantaged residents’ access to higher education, improving the quantity and quality of jobs, and improving overall social conditions. We have discussed future opportunities. What we have not discussed are the fundamentals of economic development and how economic development is a vital component of any upwardly mobile progressive community.

Economic Development, at its core, is focused on the intentional, proactive, and strategic efforts to improve levels of wealth, education levels, and public health within a community. At its core, Economic Development can be thought of as BEAR or BARE (depending on your preference). In either, case economic development is about Business Attraction, Retention, and Expansion. Economic Development looks inward on a community’s (and region’s) strengths and weaknesses, and, more broadly, looks outward to identify opportunities and threats. Based on this detailed analysis and stakeholder engagement, Economic Development crafts and implements strategic plans to address community weaknesses, build on community strengths, and to generally improve the economic, educational, and social opportunities.

While other governmental departments must work within tightly defined municipal, county, state, or federal guidelines, Economic Development must be creative, strategic, and responsive to constantly changing market conditions. Economic development professionals must be incredibly determined and committed to equitably addressing the needs of all community members. A handful of economic development projects take months to complete. Most meaningful economic development projects take years to come to fruition. Prime examples include the City Council, City Manager, and Economic Development Department’s efforts to attract (beginning in 2017) and retain (in 2021 and 2022) College of the Desert’s $37M Roadrunner Motors Automotive and Advanced Transportation campus within Cathedral City. Another example and monumental win was the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership’s (CVEP) success in securing $78M to expand educational opportunities within the Coachella Valley.

If you have time, a professional skillset, and a desire to work on improving the economic, health, and social opportunities within Cathedral City, please contact my department. In the coming year, we may have periodic volunteer opportunities.

To stay on top of Economic Development activities and information, please bookmark You can strengthen our City’s and businesses’ economic future by shopping local. Check out our website, Cathedral City Shop Local, to find categories and lists of all the companies within Cathedral City which need your support. Shopping at our businesses will help our retailers thrive, improve the quality of future retail opportunities, and keep your vitally-needed tax dollars within the City. Your tax dollars fund critical services such as Police, Fire, and road maintenance. There is no better way to attract new businesses than to ensure our existing businesses are prosperous.

Lastly, your efforts to keep your properties clean, weed, and debris-free are paying off. Property appearance is an important selling point when prospective homebuyers, business owners, and developers look for a perfect location. Everyone is a part of Cathedral City’s long-term success, and you are making a difference!

Dr. Stone James

View posts by Dr. Stone James
Economic Development Director City of Cathedral City 68700 Av. Lalo Guerrero, Cathedral City, CA 92234 Direct: 760-770-0336 | Mobile 760-219-7227 Office Fax: 760-321-4509
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