Volume 44 | November 2020
Mayor Pro Tem
Greetings neighbors,

Did you feel the change in the weather this past week? Boy, it feels good, doesn’t it? As much as we live here for the warm temperatures, after months of triple digits, most years, November can’t come soon enough.

I think that is especially true this November. More than ever, whether it be the weather or sports, politics or the end of social distancing, we can all look at the months ahead with hope. Even if we are not celebrating the way we are used to, November signals the start of a special “season” in the desert. Cool breezes, spectacular sunrises (and sunsets) and more time outdoors. Turkey dinner, charitable giving and holiday decorations, are some of things that I hope are on your minds. We have been cooped up inside for an unbearable amount time. November brings new opportunities and a chance for fresh perspectives.

Despite all the challenges of the last six months—and we have had our share—the city pulled a few roadrunners out of its hat. Maintaining and even nurturing a hospitable retail climate during a pandemic is no easy task. And yet, a much sought-after supermarket was able to open a flagship location in Indio (Vallarta Supermarket on Jackson St.). A four-story apartment building with ground-floor retail was approved by the Indio Planning Commission to move forward, signaling economic revitalization in Indio’s downtown core. And this month, we all will get a look at new plans for the long-awaited renovation of the former Indio Fashion Mall.

Plans are just plans, but they are also progress and the city is planning for a big year ahead. If you missed it, I invite you to learn more by watching Indio’s State of the City address here. In just over 20 minutes, you will get a good idea of the programs we are providing to give back to the community, future development plans, and what it means to have 90 years of city history.  

Masked up, reeling from an unusual season of national politics, and tip-toeing up (and down) the colorful tiers of our state’s COVID-19 health equity metric, we have reason to be cautious heading into the holidays. But there are many reasons to be optimistic about our future, too. I believe positive thoughts lead to positive results. We will get through this. There are positive developments on our horizon.    

Stepping in for Mark Scott this month and with my sincerest warm wishes for the holidays,

Rob Rockwell
Assistant City Manager

From new housing, to new retail, restaurants and office buildings, the City's building and planning departments are busier than ever.

Driving around the city, as walls go up and ground gets graded, you might be curious about the final products.

Here's a look at what's going up or has recently opened In(dio)

  • Ave. 42 and Jackson St. (Vallarta Market)
  • Ave. 42 and Jackson St. (Chipotle, Jersey Mike's & Dave's Hot Chicken)
  • Golf Center Parkway (TKB)
  • Ave. 42 and Monroe St. (Quick Quack Car Wash)
  • Ave. 39 and Jefferson St. (Garden Fellowship Church)
  • Ave 40 and Adams St. (Almeria at Espana, 114 new homes)
  • Ave. 42 and Jefferson St. (Del Taco)

The City of Indio is inviting nonprofit organizations or local government agencies to apply for funding under its annual Community Grant/Sponsorship Program. Made available by the Indio City Council, the program is for the current fiscal year, with $45,000 available, and runs through June 30, 2021. The deadline to apply is December 31, 2020. More information and an application can be found on the City of Indio's website here.
“The Indio Community Grant/Sponsorship Program helps to create new opportunities to improve the quality of life for our residents and also to strengthen our business community,” said Indio Mayor Glenn Miller. “There are many amazing local organizations in Indio and the Coachella Valley. This program, which is especially needed now, provides small grants or fee waivers to encourage them in their service missions. We look forward to partnering with them through this program and helping uplift our community together.”
Questions about the application process may be addressed to Jim Curtis, Community Services Manager, at (760) 391-4174 or jcurtis@indio.org

As Thanksgiving approaches, we are reminded to count our blessings and remember all the reasons we should be thankful. However, for the elderly population, Thanksgiving and the upcoming holiday season can be a difficult time.
Many seniors may feel lonely and can be reminded of people they may have lost in the past. The lack of family get-togethers, an inability to get around, or the feeling that they cannot fully participate in holiday functions, can lead to depression and isolation. Commonly known as the holiday blues, elderly depression affects seniors around the world.
Because of the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, this year will be incredibly hard for our seniors who were looking forward to enjoying a warm meal with their Indio Senior Center family. This annual Thanksgiving Lunch is organized for seniors who might normally spend it alone.

For that particular reason, the ISC is hosting its first Senior Holiday Pie Giveaway! We are currently seeking donations from the community to help us bring joy to those seniors who need it the most.
You can take part in our Senior Holiday Pie Giveaway by dropping off pie donations at our Indio Senior Center between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m through Thursday, Nov. 18 at noon. You can also contribute by raising awareness through social media platforms, and encouraging others to come in and donate.
In addition, the ISC is collecting blankets, socks, gloves, scarves, and beanies to distribute to seniors most vulnerable in our community. The cold winter months can make things difficult for aging adults, and a simple act of providing a blanket gives them not only the physical warmth, but also that warm feeling inside that the community cares about them.
In our efforts to bring the community closer, we are extending an invitation to all organizations, businesses, agencies and community members in the Coachella Valley to help us reach our goal of providing 500 care packages. Take part in our Winter Care Package Giveaway by dropping off donations to the Indio Senior Center between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. through Friday, Dec. 4 at noon. 

Please email seniorcenter@indio.org or call (760) 391-4174 to arrange a donation box drop off at your site. 


Recently the Coachella Valley Association of Governments (CVAG) took its biggest steps forward in the development of CV Link, clearing the way for the construction of nearly 20 miles of the Link in 2020.

Progress includes awarding a number of construction related contracts, totalling more than $52 million. CV Link is a more than 40 mile path through the Coachella Valley for walking, bicycling, or riding in low-speed electric vehicles, such as golf carts.

This construction award in late October includes about 5.7 miles in the City of Indio, all along the top of the stormwater channel levee. The construction plans would build out nearly the entire stretch between Jefferson Street and Golf Center Parkway. CVAG continues to negotiate the right of way with Union Pacific Railroad for a short, less than half-mile stretch along the route.
CVAG is hoping to break ground in December 2020, but the construction schedule is dependent on how quickly the contractor can get crews mobilized. CVAG will have multiple sites under construction at the same time. The total buildout will be 18-24 months. 
The vote to award the contract was supported by Mayor Glenn Miller, who is CVAG's Chairman this year and led the meeting. Mayor Pro Tem Elaine Holmes also voted in support as the City’s representative on the CVAG Transportation Committee. 
People can follow the progress of the CV Link on this interactive website.


Indio's inaugural virtual State of the City and Indio Business Awards took place Oct. 22, recognizing a number of businesses and organizations within the city for their enterprising and compassionate actions throughout 2020. Although the virtual format was new for all involved, more than 1,600 people watched the event, greatly broadening its audience.

  • In another sign of the times, Business of the Year went to the Indio Senior Center for the organization of care packages, resources and support services to our elderly and disabled during the pandemic.
  • Taquiza El Rey's Anthony Rojas and CV Food Trucks' Erick Becerril were honored as Organization of the Year for their collaboration in organizing a mass meal preparation and distribution to first responders in multiple cities. This collaboration included 20-plus caterers and restaurants, who allowed use of their equipment and kitchens for this undertaking over a three week period. This organization gathered more than 45 volunteers in a combined effort of collecting provisions, delivering, preparing and cooking the meals. 
  • DSUSD teachers were recognized with the Spirit of Indio Award, in recognition of the enormous shift and pivot required during COVID-19.
  • Gurdwara Sahib Indio was awarded with Non Profit of the Year for the distribution of 1200-plus meals each occasion, on multiple occasions, to residents in all cities of the Coachella Valley.
  • Finally, the Mayor's Award went to Destiny Church for its intense level of community outreach during these trying times.

In addition, during the State of the City, Mayor Glenn Miller presented a robust and heartwarming tribute to the City's accomplishments and history. Watch the entire event here, or just the State of the City here.

According to health experts, the social distancing, online learning, and heightened stress at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic increases the risk of depression or anxiety, delayed learning, and abuse or neglect among school-aged children. To combat some of these negative impacts, the Indio Sunrise Rotary Club is raising funds to purchase teddy bears to give to high-risk Indio elementary and middle school kids.

The first presentation of teddy bears went to children who lost everything in a recent mobile home fire in Indio, and was presented by the counselor from James Madison Elementary School.

“Indio Sunrise Rotary club is about solving real problems at both the local and global level. We promote community involvement, integrity, and goodwill,” says Beverli A. Marshall, Club President-Elect. “If we can do something to lessen their stress and anxiety and let them know that they are not alone and that the community cares, then that is a worthwhile cause.” 

To find out more about this cause or to donate go to the Teddy Bear Project or contact Beverli A. Marshall at beverli.marshall@gmail.com or 925-788-3041. For more information about Indio Sunrise Rotary go to www.indiosunriserotary.org


About 70 percent of students within the Desert Sands Unified School District reside in Indio, and in late October, those families got a little clarity about the next steps for in-person instruction. In a 4-1 vote, the DSUSD Board of Education voted:

1) athletic conditioning could begin immediately on a voluntary basis
2) small group services for students with acute needs can begin on Nov. 9 on a voluntary basis
3) an anticipated start date of January 19, 2021 of the hybrid model for elementary, middle, and high schools will be based on prevailing public health guidance. Although the first day of a return to school after the holidays is indicated as Jan. 4, the additional two weeks will serve as a grace period following the holidays should any spike occur in Covid cases.

The board requested a planning update from staff in December.  
Additional information on the hybrid system will be available soon. Parents will soon have the opportunity to commit to the hybrid or distance learning model.

Mountain Vista Elementary is the only school in Indio that is a part of the Coachella Valley Unified School District. The CVUSD board has not approved a specific date for an in-person return to school. 


Give your Volt a jolt at Indio's two new electric vehicle charging stations. The two dual port level 2 ChargePoint stations were installed in October, and will be ready for public use within the next two weeks, allowing for up to four vehicles to charge at one time.

The ChargePoint stations are available on the Smurr Street side of the parking lot directly east of City Hall, and initially will provide up to four hours of free charging per vehicle each day.

The charging stations were funded through a combination of grant funding and funds allocated through AB 2766, which are distributed to cities to reduce mobile air source pollution.

“These chargers support EV infrastructure in city areas so you can top off your EV while taking care of business around town,” said Sara Toyoda, Environmental Programs Coordinator.

The charging stations will complement the existing stations located at the Walmart on Ave. 42 and Tesla stations on Jackson Street.

To keep Riverside County from continuing to slip in California's public health tier system, more COVID-19 testing of healthy individuals is needed. To demonstrate their commitment to community health and economic advancement, Indio's Mayor and City Councilmembers underwent testing together at the Indio Fairgrounds.  

This launch of the City's "All IN for Indio" testing campaign urges residents to increase COVID-19 screening to fulfil the state's threshold to advance tiers.

These tiers, called the Blueprint for a Safer Economy , allow for businesses to be open with fewer restrictions in counties with better state-determined metrics. The two basic metrics measured in the tier system are:

Daily New Case Rate: This is the number of people testing positive in a county EACH DAY per 100K residents.  
Positivity Rate: This is the 7-day average percentage of positive tests out of the total number of PCR (live virus) tests conducted.  
The tier system does not take into account other metrics such as active cases, deaths or hospitalizations. 

Currently, the County of Riverside is testing for COVID at two drive-through locations in Indio. Appointments are required at both locations, but testing is open to anyone regardless of symptoms, and there is no out-of-pocket cost to those wishing to be tested.
Indio Fairgrounds 
46350 Arabia St
Indio, CA 92201

Indio COVID Testing Site (first building on the right at end of driveway)
44801 Golf Center Pkwy
Indio, CA 92201

Private locations to test for COVID-19 are also available. A full list can be found at www.indio.org/coronavirus

Reducing water use helps preserve the local water supply and will help lower your monthly water bill. To encourage customers to invest in water-saving projects both inside and outside, Indio Water Authority offers a number of rebate programs.
Turf removal projects offer rebates of $2 per square foot. Homeowners can receive up to a $20,000 rebate and up to $750 for upgrades to improve irrigation system efficiency. Commercial properties are also eligible for rebates of up to $60,000 for turf removal and $1,500 for irrigation system improvements.
IWA also offers rebates to reduce water use indoors. Residential and commercial customers can receive rebates of up to $150 for high efficiency washing machines and toilets. 
For complete details on these rebate programs and application forms, visit www.IndioWater.org/conservation.


As part of the City of Indio's commitment to help residents and businesses facing challenges due to COVID-19, the City has partnered with Inland Counties Legal Services, Inc. (ICLS) to provide free legal assistance to those facing eviction or foreclosure.

The most recent data analysis from United Lift (a collaboration of Inland So Cal United Way and Lift to Rise) indicated Indio ranked eighth among Riverside County communities with the most pre-eligible applicants for rental assistance, showing the need for programs like Indio's in maintaining future housing stability. In addition, as state eviction and mortgage protection programs expire, residents will increasingly see the need for legal counseling.

Residential tenants, individual commercial lessees and homeowners are all eligible for the free civil legal services if their financial difficulties are related to COVID-19. ICLS can assist with the tenant protection executive order, judicial council, and other protections such as loan modification, forbearance and other mortgage foreclosure prevention.

The partnership with ICLS is made possible through Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus Funds allocated by the City Council.

"This project will ensure that people are not forced out of their homes, homeowners and landlords receive equal protection, and small business owners utilize resources available to them," said Maria Cazarez-Reyes, Housing Practice Group Director.

Please call ICLS at (888) 245-4257 Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to confirm eligibility and receive free legal assistance. Please select the "Indio only" resident option when calling.

What's old is new again, and when reaching back into the vault of good ideas, the Woman's Club of Indio found an outstanding one: the Yard of the Month, evidence of which exists far back into the Club's 108 year history!

"We really wanted to encourage the beautification of our city and get our name out in the community," said Woman's Club President Mickie Reed. "The results were unexpectedly fantastic. It is so touching to see how truly happy these hardworking homeowners are to be recognized, and we are so proud that our City noticed our efforts and reached out to collaborate with us."

Earlier this fall, the Woman's Club teamed up with the City of Indio and the Indio Water Authority to expand the Yard of the month recognition program with an emphasis on water conservation.

"It is a win-win for our club and the City of Indio, as we get our club name on signs throughout the city, encourage beautification, show recognition to very deserving homeowners and help the environment to boot," said Reed. "It has proven to be a very successful program."

In addition to a Certificate of Recognition, and two tickets to the Coachella Valley History Museum, winners will have the honor of displaying a sign on their yard and will receive a free Conservation Kit.  
To nominate a beautiful sustainable yard, email recognition@womansclubofIndio.org
The City of Indio is the largest and fastest growing city in the Coachella Valley with more than 91,000 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 2,400 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