Economic Development – Community Update

Before we begin today’s community update, I hope you and your families have been staying healthy.

A lot has gone on since our last economic development update. Thankfully, we, as a community, have done an impressive job coming together and supporting one another as we work through this pandemic. Today’s community update will not only be informative but will also be a call to action.

If you have driven around the City lately, you have noticed incredible progress. On the south side of town, local Cathedral City homebuilder Mario Gonzalez, owner of GHA Companies, continues building tastefully designed Mid-Century modern semi-custom homes at The District East. If you have been thinking of purchasing one of Mario’s homes, you’d better act soon because The District East is nearly sold out. On the north side of town, DR Horton, America’s largest homebuilder, continues building homes at a blistering pace. Due to consumer demand, DR Horton is adding two new floor plans and is revising a third plan so their houses can better suit today’s new homebuyers’ needs. On the east side of town, our Planning Commission just approved the Mountain Estates project on Ramon Road immediately west of Campanile. This 110-lot single-family detached new home project will offer modern-styled new homes to discerning buyers. After 18 months in the planning, design, and engineering process, this new home community will look great once construction begins.

Progress within our Downtown Arts and Entertainment District is also moving forward at a record pace. The Agua Caliente Cathedral City Casino is nearing completion, and the City’s new fire station, Station 411, should be fully operational by the end of the month. Once Riverside County moves to lower-risk tiers, the CV Reparatory theater will be back in full swing with events hosted at our new Cathedral City Community Amphitheater.

As many of you know, Riverside County moved from the Substantial or “red” risk level to the Widespread or “purple” risk level on Tuesday of this week. This move was fueled by a growing number of COVID-19 infections and too few people getting tested for COVID-19. Within the State’s COVID-19 website,, readers will find a plethora of information on risk levels, which business categories can open, and conditions for opening. This website also provides details on the variables serving as the basis for business and personal restrictions.

While the restrictions within each risk level and the time a county must spend at a risk level before moving to a lower risk level is…detailed. Thankfully, the takeaway for our City is simple. Our actions, both individually and as a community, directly impact our county’s risk level, and consequently, the restrictions on our personal and business activities. We can keep the number of infections down by wearing face masks, practicing social distancing, and getting tested. While face masks and social distancing are critical steps, getting tested is less obvious but vitally important. If only sick individuals get tested, the test results will show an artificially high positivity rate. An artificially high positivity rate will mislead State health officials into believing COVID-19 is widespread and additional business, and personal restrictions will be mandated.

If every community member gets tested every month, we will enjoy two benefits. The first benefit goes to individuals who are COVID positive and asymptomatic (contagious but not showing signs of the illness). Once these individuals understand that they are sick and unknowingly infecting others, they may immediately quarantine. An immediate quarantine will stop the accidental spread of the disease to friends and loved ones. The second benefit of frequent testing will be future test results will more accurately reflect the actual number of healthy and sick individuals within a community. More people getting tested every month will give State and County health officials better data to make better decisions.

Until vaccines come out, avoid gathering in groups. If you must, wear a mask and practice social distancing. Beyond that, getting test every single 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, fire department, 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 an important “selling point” when prospective homebuyers, business owners, and developers look for their next “perfect” location.

Please share the City’s dedicated websites, and, 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.

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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