Volume 52 | July 2021
Mayor Pro Tem

From new housing, to new retail, restaurants and office buildings, the City's Community Development department is busier than ever. Driving around the City, as ground gets graded and walls go up, you might be curious about what is opening In(dio):

  • Indio Blvd. west of Monroe St. (Chandi Plaza: convenience store, car wash, drive-through restaurant- construction underway)
  • Highway 111 & Las Palmas (Dutch Bros. Coffee: expected late July)
  • Terra Lago (Lido by Lennar Homes: 67 lots expected to build out within the next year)
  • Ave. 42 & Jackson St. (Dave's Hot Chicken: grand opening July 2)

The City of Indio is ‘all in’ for the arts! As part of our effort to nurture and promote the arts in Indio, the City engaged professional art conservators to assess our mural collection. The murals are made up of both commissioned and vintage pieces, of which the City is now the steward. The oldest mural was commissioned in 1997, making it almost 25 years old!

A conservation foreman from Evergreen Architectural Arts traveled to Indio, surveying all 11 murals over the course of two full days. This assessment included visual and physical inspections to determine the condition above and below the surface of the murals. Each mural was fully appraised, photographed and tested. A full condition report, detailing the issues facing each piece, is expected to be completed in the next two weeks.

The report will also include professional recommendations for conservation, costs for different levels of conservation and a timeline. “The City has prioritized updating and maintaining our public arts collection,” said Public Art Management Analyst Debra Alleyne, “So as we prepare to take care of our murals, we will also receive guidance on how to move forward to create new murals in our community that will last.”

The City’s Public Art Commission will evaluate the report from Evergreen Architectural Arts and make recommendations about repairs based on the cost and findings. Following the Commission’s recommendations, City staff will begin addressing each of the murals.

The City of Indio has partnered with leading firm, North Star, on a research initiative for marketing the area to visitors, residents and businesses 2021 and beyond. 
Toward this end, North Star developed a customized community-wide online survey. The questionnaire has been carefully crafted to determine Indio’s strengths, weaknesses, challenges and opportunities. All who visit, live and/or work in Indio are invited and encouraged to participate in this important initiative. 
The survey can be found in English and Spanish at www.authenticindio.com and can be completed online and submitted electronically. Printed surveys will also be available at Indio City Hall, Indio Senior Center, Lights at Indio Golf Course, Indio Teen Center and Indio Chamber of Commerce June 29 through July 19, 2021.
“We have partnered with more than 250 communities across North America, and I can’t emphasize enough the importance of insights gleaned from community members,” stressed North Star CEO, Will Ketchum. "At the heart of Indio’s message should be its competitive differentiator—in other words, what makes the community special, so that it can stand out in the marketplace. One of the best places to find that figurative nugget of marketing gold is in the hearts and minds of the people who call Indio home." 
“We want to hear from everyone in Indio about what makes our community special,” added Indio Mayor, Elaine Holmes. “It is important for us to celebrate what we love about our community and share that with others.”
To learn more about Indio’s identity initiative, go to www.authenticindio.com
To learn more about North Star, go to www.northstarideas.com

Indio City Hall highlights some of the City employees who shine in their jobs, and as successful community members.

Spotlight: Rachel Pust, Finance Manager.

Known in the City: In her current role as the City’s Finance Manager, she is a key player in assisting with short and long-term planning and goal development; preparing program budgets; and analyzing, developing and documenting procedures and controls. 

Most Recent Accomplishment: Promoted to City of Indio Finance Manager from Senior Accountant with Indio Water Authority.

Juggling Act: Rachel quietly gets stuff done and plays a key role in moving the City forward in our continuous improvement path. She was an active champion and visionary in bringing new processes to the City such as Tyler Munis, Tyler Utility Billing and Portal while performing her essential functions. 

Behind the Scenes: She works mostly behind the scenes, thoroughly understands the business and makes us all more successful in creating public value for external and internal customers. 

What's so great about working for the City of Indio?: "The City is a dynamic place with a real sense of team-work," said Rachel. "We are a small workforce, so we are very used to helping each other out and looking for ways to make things more efficient. I always feel like I am learning something new - either a new way to do something, or something new about the valley." 

Words From The Boss: “Rachel is an exceptional and valued public servant for the organization, and the Indio community," said Miguel Pena, Water Operations Manager at IWA. "Her essential functions ensure organizational fiscal stewardship. It is a pleasure to have her on the Indio team. She embodies a true spirit of a public servant, polite, professional and progressive.” 

It’s time to take back the title, Indio!

LifeStream Blood Bank’s Nine Cities Blood Drive Challenge runs July 1-August 31, so let’s support patients in need and get back in the winner’s circle!

Indio residents generously gave the most blood donations of any of the “Nine Cities” each year from 2015-2018.

This year’s “challenge” comes at a time of dangerously low community blood supplies nationwide. Let’s step up and help our own! 

Donors get a commemorative T-shirt and, more important, the satisfaction of knowing they gave the gifts of life and comfort to loved ones, friends, neighbors and colleagues – including those being treated at JFK Memorial Hospital here in Indio.

Donations may be made on Thursday, July 29th from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Indio Teen Center OR any Indio drive (see www.lstream.org/9cities/ for a complete drive list) OR at LifeStream’s La Quinta Donor Center located at 79-215 Corporate Centre Drive. The center is open seven days per week. When you donate at the center, just say, “I’m donating for Indio!” and you’ll get the commemorative T-shirt. 

Donors must be at least 15 years of age (15 and 16-year-olds require a signed parental consent form; the form is available at all drives), weigh at least 115 pounds, provide photo ID, and feel well. Whether or not you are vaccinated against COVID-19, you can give blood. 

Call 1-800-879-4484 TODAY to make your life-saving appointment!

NOTE: You CAN donate blood whether or not you have received a COVID-19 vaccination.

The Highway 111 corridor through Indio has the highest concentration of service businesses, restaurants and grocery stores in the City. With roughly 25,000 vehicles passing through some portion of the 3.9 mile stretch every day, it is also one of the most heavily traveled roadways in Indio.

As the City works to improve and develop this significant location, public input is vital to formulating the “Highway 111 Corridor Specific Plan.” A specific plan outlines detailed development standards, land uses and infrastructure requirements, and provides a road map for how a certain geographic area will be used and developed.

The City’s Community Development Department hosted its first public meeting on June 29, and has two additional meetings scheduled to work on the Specific Plan project. These meetings will serve to gather information and ideas about the future of Highway 111 between Indio Boulevard and Jefferson Street.

The Highway 111 Corridor Specific Plan project will incorporate strategies for a minimum of 500 new housing units, options to improve the way Highway 111 looks, and increase economic development opportunities to meet the needs of residents and businesses. A survey is also available here: https://bit.ly/highway111corridor

Future meetings are scheduled for September 11 at 6:30 p.m. and December 9 at 6:30 p.m. and may be virtual, in person or a hybrid format. More details can be found at www.indio.org/Hwy111SP. Thoughts and ideas can also be shared with the City via email at Hwy111SP@indio.org.

SunLine Transit Agency knows how important effective transportation can be for residents of Indio who need to commute outside the Coachella Valley. That’s why they are thrilled to announce that on Monday, July 12, SunLine will begin service on their 10 Commuter Link. With amenities such as extra leg room, comfortable seats, USB ports, and WIFI, this new service will greatly benefit passengers, commuters, and students from the City of Indio as well the surrounding areas. 

From Indio, the 10 Commuter Link covers 92 miles to San Bernardino, with eastbound and westbound service. Starting at the SunLine Indio facility located at 83255 CA-111, the route continues to the California State University San Bernardino Palm Desert campus before heading to the Beaumont bus stop, the California State University San Bernardino main campus, and ending up at the San Bernardino Transit Center and Metrolink station.

The 10 Commuter Link is available to passengers Monday through Friday. The westbound schedule begins at 5:20 a.m. and runs until 5:00 p.m. while the eastbound schedule begins at 8:45 a.m. and runs until 8:00 p.m.

The 10 Commuter Link is an especially valuable form of transportation for employees or students who need to move outside the Coachella Valley. Adult or youth fares are $6 and senior fares are $4. Any transfer to or from SunBus is $0.25. For those who would be regulars on the route, monthly passes are available. Students, staff, and faculty with valid CSUSB ID ride free.  

Indio Business is a feature of Indio Live, which showcases the stories that make our City's small business owners so special. To nominate a business, email news@indio.org.

Who: John and Irene Garcia Dolan of Dolan Law Offices and the California Desert Trial Academy.
What: Originally from Orange County, John and Irene moved to the Coachella Valley in 2004 after visiting the desert many times in the late 1960's and early 1970's. John has been practicing criminal law for over 30 years, and runs Dolan Law Offices on Fargo Street in Indio. Irene is President, Co-Founder, Registrar and Director of Admissions of the California Desert Trial Academy (CDTA), located within the same building as the law practice. CDTA is the only law school in Riverside County. 
Before and after: After some conversations with lawyers, John and Irene began seeing a pattern – many lawyers were not happy in their careers, and wanted to become trial lawyers. At the time, there no local law schools taught trial advocacy, which left lawyers to fend for themselves when learning trial law. The Dolans saw this need in the community, and in 2012 the CDTA was approved as the only unaccredited fixed law school in Riverside County.
Behind the scenes: The Dolans worked with the City of Indio to land an old furniture store on Fargo Street (close to the Larson Justice Center) to house their new base of operations. They met with an architect and designer, and gutted the old store. During construction, the Dolans and their students moved around from the Indio library, to ABC Recovery Center, to Fantasy Springs-- even holding some exams at the Indio Performing Arts Center (IPAC). In January 2016 the Dolans moved into the newly renovated building with their 13 students. Now, night classes are held every Tuesday-Thursday from 6 to 9:30 p.m. and Saturdays 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. 
Advice to others: “Find out what the demand is in your community. You need to know that there is an audience out there or somebody who is going to want your product. There must be a need,” offered Irene.
Speaking personally: John marked his 44th year as a Criminal Defense Trial Attorney on June 28, and the couple celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in early June. “Being here in Indio has given us an incredible foundation and we have been able to make incredible friends and build great relationships with a lot of people in the community," added Irene. "I didn’t realize that 50 years could have encompassed such an incredible life.”
Right now: Retirement is not in in the Dolans' vocabulary. The CDTA College of Law will begin its 10th year as an unaccredited fixed facility law school here in Indio. The only law school in Riverside County, CDTA has a 73.75 percent pass rate for the California State General Bar Exam. The Dolans are currently finalizing their application for accreditation with the State Bar Association, with the hope of completion by the end of 2021. 
California Desert Trial Academy & Dolan Law Offices
45-290 Fargo Street, Indio, CA 92201

Social Media:

Four cool centers are now located throughout Indio for those who need temporary relief from the heat. 

Cool Centers are activated when temperatures reach 97 degrees, or are needed by their community, and are open to the public through October 15, 2021.

“That could mean the Cool Centers are active every day until the end of the summer here in the desert,” said Indio’s Emergency Services Manager, Dennis Day. “We were glad to be able to work with the county to add the Indio Public Library as another option here, with the added bonus of getting children involved in the library’s summer reading program.”

The four cool center locations in Indio are:

Coachella Valley Rescue Mission         
84110 Manila St., Indio 92201
Mon-Sun 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  
Indio Senior Center 
*Seniors only 
45700 Aladdin St., Indio 92201
Mon-Fri 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.    
Martha’s Village & Kitchen      
83791 Date Ave., Indio 92201
Mon-Sun 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.  
Indio Public Library
200 Civic Center Mall, Indio 92201       
Mon 12 p.m. -8 p.m.
Tue-Thur & Sat 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

If more time and relief is needed from the heat this summer, please visit any of the cool centers identified throughout Riverside County. Additional cooling center locations can be found at www.capriverside.org/Cool-Centers.

As part of the Indio Water Authority’s ongoing efforts to maintain its water system to best serve customers, construction is slated to start in mid-August 2021 for a pipeline along Miles Avenue from Doral Street to Sedona Drive. Approximately 3,700 linear feet of an 18-inch diameter water pipeline will be installed. The purpose of the project is to loop the water distribution system on the western part of the City, increase water pressures and provide additional fire flow capacity within the Indio Water Authority’s service area. The contractor and City will collaborate to mitigate traffic impacts during construction. The project is slated for completion by February 2022, prior to the upcoming festivals.

Unlike the last major drought, California's Governor is declaring a drought on a county by county basis. The Governor has currently declared a drought in 41 counties, mostly in the Northern and Central California area. However, it is important for the Indio community to continue to use water efficiently and conserve. Water is a limited resource. As part of its long term planning efforts, the Indio Water Authority recently completed the 2020 Regional Urban Water Management Plan and the Water Shortage Contingency Plan. The plan describes the anticipated water supplies and demands for the next 25 years and outlines actions in the event of a water shortage. The City took a regional approach and worked with other water agencies to develop this plan. For more information about the plan or for conservation related rebate programs, please visit www.indiowater.org

The Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC) is working to bring passenger rail service to the Coachella Valley, and they need to hear from you! The proposed Coachella Valley-San Gorgonio Pass Rail Corridor extends approximately 144 miles between Los Angeles and the Coachella Valley with stops in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, and Riverside counties. 

In addition to contributing to less traffic and cleaner air, rail service from Los Angeles to Indio is essential for equitable access to and from our Coachella Valley communities to the rest of Southern California. It would allow more visitors, locals and workers at all income levels to travel for leisure, employment opportunities, and business, thus improving the local economy and quality of life for our residents. This rail service is also key to sustainable growth in the Coachella Valley, as the addition of regular, reliable rail service would increase the ease of rail travel from other, more populated areas of Riverside County, encouraging job growth in tourism by increasing our employee pool. 

Public comment is open now through July 6, 2021, to let RCTC know the Coachella Valley and Indio supports rail service! Learn more and lend your support here!

Watch Coachella Valley History Museum’s new video series, “Historic Happenings” on YouTubeInstagram, and Facebook. Each weekly episode introduces viewers to fun facts about the Coachella Valley’s past in quick one to three minute videos presented by the Coachella Valley History Museum’s expert historians. Learn about the Coachella Valley’s desert submarine, the very first store in Indio, the original map of Indio from 1900, and more. New episodes premiere weekly. Follow them on social media or visit their website at www.cvhm.org and turn on notifications to get an alert whenever they post so you don’t miss out! 

The Coachella Valley History Museum is now open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. Private group tours are also available by appointment only by calling (760) 342-6651. CVHM is located at 82616 Miles Avenue.

Meet WiFi! WiFi is the unofficial mascot of the Coachella Animal Network (CAN), and he is spreading the word about how dangerous illegal fireworks are to your family's four-legged friends. Some pups get so scared from the loud booming of illegal fireworks, they escape from their homes in terror. "Some public shelters even euthanize some of the animals already there to make room for many of the dogs that end up there because of the illegal fireworks on July 4th," said Kim Hardee, CAN's executive director.

Did you know that some of our military Veterans also suffer during 4th of July celebrations because they have flashbacks from combat when they hear fireworks? The City of Indio's Police and Fire Chiefs even took part in this video to remind residents to be respectful of others and encourage responsible use of fireworks.

Please be aware this Independence Holiday and only celebrate with safe and sane fireworks!

With almost 31 percent of the children in the Coachella Valley below the poverty level, the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission looks to help them achieve academic success through their Backpack Bonanza program, providing free backpacks and supplies to 2,500 low-income children on Saturday, August 7 starting at 7 a.m. 
“Being prepared for school is crucial,” said Darla Burkett, CVRM Executive Director. “After food and shelter, education for children is a critical factor in helping break the cycle of poverty, and we are grateful to help the community fill this need.”
The Rescue Mission is hoping to distribute more than 2,500 backpacks to children from disadvantaged families and is looking to the community to support this donation effort. Donation boxes will be distributed at more than 80 locations throughout the Coachella Valley. Locations include Albertson’s in Palm Desert, Bank of Southern California La Quinta and Rancho Mirage, FirstBank Palm Desert, Las Casuelas Terraza Palm Springs, Ralphs in Indio, and Staples in Palm Desert. Donations will be accepted until August 6.
Backpacks and supplies can also be dropped off at CVRM, located at 47470 Van Buren St. in Indio. An online donation designated for the Backpack Bonanza can be made at  CVRM.org with the Donate Now button. Backpacks, spiral notebooks, yellow highlighters, pencil sharpeners, lined paper, and all other school related supplies are needed. 

Summer may be a time of relaxation and fun, but Desert Sands Unified School District is getting ready for that school bell to ring on August 18! The district is looking forward to returning to school for the traditional five-day per week schedule. Check your children's individual school websites for the latest information. Some start times may have changed as the district transitions to a later bell schedule for some middle and high schools.
Research shows that children who attend preschool are more likely to graduate from high school and do better academically. Desert Sands offers a variety of preschool programs at multiple locations. Preschool is free for families who qualify! Children must be three or four years old to be enrolled. English language learners are also encouraged to enroll. Programs are available for special needs students. Call today for more information and to help your child take that first step to a great education! Information on DSUSD preschools is available at 760-771-8775.
Information on registration for grades TK-12 can be found on the district website at www.dsusd.us.

Members of the public looking for information about the City of Indio’s budget and spending will soon be able to access Open Finance, an online search tool designed to increase the accessibility and transparency of the City’s financial data. Coincidentally, Open Finance will launch at the start of the new fiscal year, allowing the public to quickly and easily view information.

“The City of Indio continuously strives to provide accurate, timely, and relevant financial information,” said Rob Rockwell, Assistant City Manager and Director of Finance. “We look forward to the upcoming debut of Open Finance ushering in a new level of citizen engagement and interaction.”

Citizens using Open Finance can see where City revenues are coming from and how they are spent, budgeted versus actual revenues and expenditures, as well as vendor payments. Users can explore the operating budget, view revenues and expenditures by category, and drill down to more specific information for each category. 

Municipalities already using the site include Chelsea, Massachusetts, Fairbanks, Alaska, and locally, Indian Wells. Open Finance can be accessed via mobile phone, desktop, or tablet at www.indio.org/openfinance, and will be updated weekly, providing timely and reliable public information. 
The City of Indio is the largest and fastest growing city in the Coachella Valley with more than 90,000 residents. Nearly 1.4 million people visit Indio every year to attend its world famous arts, food, and music festivals. With nationally recognized public safety services, exceptional schools, great parks and senior and teen centers, no wonder more than 2,700 new housing units are in construction or being planned throughout the city in addition to new hotels, restaurants and retailers. Indio was the first city incorporated in the Coachella Valley on May 16, 1930, and is governed by an elected City Council that employs a City Manager. The City of Indio embraces its diversity and provides outstanding municipal services to enhance the quality of life for its residents, visitors and business community.
City of Indio |100 Civic Center Drive | (760) 391-4000
information@indio.org | www.indio.org