Volume 35 | February 2020
Mayor Pro Tem
Dear Indio Neighbors,

I am happy to report this month that our long-discussed Downtown Specific Plan is in final draft form and available for review on the City’s website . We are hoping that the City’s Planning Commission will review and adopt this plan in February, and that the City Council will be holding a final public hearing in March or April. 

Yes, this plan is a long-time coming! I have read some online posts suggesting that people are tired hearing about Downtown plans and wondering when something will finally happen!  One post said that there has been plan after plan, but we want restaurants and brew pubs, and housing and nightlife! 

Fair enough! We hear you. Let me make the case that there are all sorts of reasons for hope right now:
· The College of the Desert just announced that the Indio campus enrollment for the current semester is more than 6,000 students. That is a population of 6,000 students who mostly drive away from campus after their classes because we have not offered them any Downtown options. 
· And what is more, COD is going to build TWO new campus buildings that will bring its enrollment up to more than 10,000 students.
· Meanwhile, in the City’s IPAC Theater, our Desert Theaterworks community theater group is selling out show after show in yet another award-winning season. Hundreds of people come Downtown for these shows regularly, but have only a few options for dining before or after the shows. 
· And the Coachella Valley History Museum is building its following with innovative new programs and new on-site exhibits. If you have not been to the history museum lately, you will be impressed with their new energy. 
· The beautiful new Loma Linda University Children’s Health - Indio, the newest jewel in our Downtown, is doing so well in serving the kids in our region that they are looking at the possibility of expanding. 
· And of course, the California Desert Trial Academy in Downtown Indio will soon be the only law school in Riverside County.  
· The John J. Benoit Detention Center is inching its way toward completion. Hundreds of new jobs and thousands of weekly business transactions will be occurring there. This offers an exciting new employment and housing market. 
· And only a few blocks away, the owners of the proposed Indio Grand Marketplace (formerly Indio Fashion Mall) are giving us very encouraging reports on their efforts to develop an active family lifestyle/entertainment center. 

Downtowns are best defined, I think, as gathering places where the whole community feels ownership. That is why they are great places for museums, theaters, the arts, civic buildings and schools. So with that exciting foundation, we are inviting private investment to bring housing, retail, hospitality and nightlife to bolster those existing uses. And I am happy to report we are doing so with some success!

We already have negotiations underway with two potential developers of mixed use residential projects – one on Oasis Street and the other on Towne Street. These would be multi-story market-rate housing with street level restaurant, entertainment or retail tenants. We are also negotiating with a potential developer of a Downtown hospitality project. Time will tell if these deals move forward, but we are quite sure it is in our near future.

As an economic opportunity, our Downtown is ripe for reinvestment. As they say in the real estate business, our Downtown still has “the bones” to be restored as an “authentic public place” reflecting the cultural history of our community. Over the last few years, the City has acquired most of the property in the core of the Downtown. And with adoption of our General Plan and Downtown Specific Plan, the development community is able to look at a development opportunity ready to go! Stay tuned to this space for updates!
Mark Scott
Indio Awarded Grant for Highway 111

The State Department of Housing and Community Development has awarded the City of Indio a $310,000 Planning Grant to fund the development of a "Specific Plan" for the Highway 111 corridor from Indio Boulevard to Jefferson Street. This plan will focus on approaches for strategic housing development along that area, along with sustainable economic development strategies and key public infrastructure investments. Working with a consultant, City staff will develop a Specific Plan to put before the City Council for consideration. 
East Indio Hills
TrailHead Opening Soon

Construction continues to progress at the East Indio Trailhead to improve parking, fencing, access and safety for the trails at the end of Golf Center Parkway and 42nd Avenue. The construction is made possible through a collaboration and funding by the Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy, Indio Water Authority and the City of Indio. 

Although some people have bypassed the construction and parked along adjacent dirt roads, or biked in to the trail, that is not recommended. To ensure the safety of the public and accommodate heavy equipment for the project, the trailhead will remain closed through February 28, 2020. Please note that street parking is not allowed in the area.

Once improvements are complete, the trailhead will reopen and the public is invited to enjoy the trails, which are also known as the East Indio Hills Badlands. The approximately 5-mile trail was completed by the Friends of the Desert Mountains as part of a trails network in the Northern Coachella Valley.

Please contact the IWA Project Manager, Mario Camacho at (760) 625-1786 or  mcamacho@indio.org  if you have questions or concerns regarding this project.
P ublic Invited to Review of Indio's
Downtown Specific Plan

The City of Indio has released a draft of the new Downtown Specific Plan, along with the plan's associated Environmental Impact Report.

The Indio Downtown Specific Plan establishes a long-term vision and development and public infrastructure standards for the revitalization of Downtown Indio. The goal is to create “...a place for everyone; a human-scaled, urban center of activity concentrating community, culture and a commerce in a vibrant, walkable, mixed-use environment.”

The new Downtown Plan covers nearly 140 acres, generally bound by Indio Boulevard to the north; Jackson Street and Civic Center Mall to the east; Highway 111 to the south and Deglet Noor Street to the west.

The City of Indio has held several public meetings, study sessions and workshops to to discuss key concepts and elements with the community regarding the City’s Draft Downtown Specific Plan.

The public is encouraged to review the Downtown Specific plan and leave comments writing via email to Leila Namvar, Senior Planner, at Lnamvar@indio.org. Comments should be received no later than 5:00 p.m. on February 11, 2020. 

Se habla Español, por favor llame al numero telefonico (760) 391-4064 Gustavo Gomez.
Multi-Model Transportation Study Complete

A feasibility study to explore opportunities to provide greater transportation options for residents and visitors of Indio, called "Better Connected Indio," has just concluded. This study was the result of a growing interest in providing improved passenger rail services within the Coachella Valley. This includes potentially expanding Amtrak service and providing intercity passenger rail service between Los Angeles Union Station and Indio. The purpose of this study was to determine if a rail transportation hub on the east side of Indio Boulevard at Civic Center Mall is feasible in Indio. 

This site, adjacent to the Union Pacific Railroad tracks, has an existing parking lot and is currently being used by Greyhound to provide intercity transit service. One station concept with three construction phases has been developed that provide a range of services and reflect a range of cost to construct. A full multi-modal transportation center could include enhanced transit waiting areas, improved walkways and street crossings, bikeways, bike parking, bike lockers and bikeshare, dedicated transit lanes, electric bike and scootershare, carshare, on-demand rideshare, and parking. To learn more about the study and possible implementation, go to Indio.org
New North Indio Retail

Indio City planning staff have approved plans for a new retail and dining space within the Showcase at Indio shopping center at the southwest corner of Jackson Street. and Avenue 42. The nearly 55-hundred square foot building will be anchored by Chipotle, with other tenants to come, and sits north of the existing Dunkin Donuts building.

This project is the latest development deal north of the 10-freeway, with Ulta, Old Navy and Ono Hawaiian BBQ slated to open soon.
Valentine's Day Special at The Lights at Indio G.C.

On Thursday, February 13, 2020 bring your sweetheart from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. to The Lights at Indio G.C. for their Valentine's Day Special. When you play through with your sweetheart, they get a complimentary box of chocolates!

The Lights at Indio GC offers the best in equipment and apparel to compliment your game. Stop by our fully-stocked golf shop before or after your round and browse through name brands.

The friendly staff will help you make tee times, rent golf carts and register you and your guests before each round of golf. Contact the golf shop for assistance, or to make an appointment for lessons at 760-391-4049 or at www.indiogolf.com .
Remember to Participate in the
2020 Census

Starting in mid-March, homes across the country will begin receiving invitations to complete the 2020 Census. Once your invitation arrives, you can respond for your home in one of three ways: online, by phone, or by mail. When completing the census, you will include everyone living in your home on April 1, 2020. 
Over the next decade, lawmakers, business owners, and many others will use 2020 Census data to make critical decisions. The results will show where communities need new schools, new clinics, new roads, and more services for families, older adults, and children.
The results will also inform how hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding are allocated to more than 100 programs, including Medicaid, Head Start, block grants for community mental health services, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The results of the 2020 Census will inform decisions about allocating hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding to communities across the country—for hospitals, fire departments, school lunch programs, and other critical programs and services.
You are invited to explore the questions you will be asked on your 2020 Census form. You will find tips for responding and information on how the Census Bureau will use your answers. For more information, visit  2020census.gov.
Indio's Workforce
Development Center

Are you searching for a new job, changing careers, or looking to learn new skills to become more marketable? The Riverside County Workforce Development Center is brimming with resources to help you along the way.

Navigate to the center's website to discover online workshops like Resume Building and Essential Computer Skills. Read articles that cover everything from how to write a cover letter to what questions to expect during an interview. Explore resources for funding new job training or education.

Prefer an in-person experience? Visit the  Indio Workforce Development Center  for a full range of employment services. Computers, phones and internet are available free of charge. You can even make an appointment to meet with an employee representative. This One-Stop Career Center is sure to meet all of your job seeker needs. Jobseekers can now attend weekly information sessions at the Center. They are now scheduled for Mondays at 10:30 a.m. or Wednesdays at 3:30 p.m.
To sign up for an information session, create an account at Caljobs.ca.gov , then call the center at (760) 863-2500 and schedule a session.
Ongoing Neighborhood Cleanups

Some of the littlest helpers make the biggest differences in our City. Over the last several weeks, staff from our Housing and Neighborhood programs division and our Community Services Department have taken part in a number of community cleanups. They enlisted the help of volunteers of all ages, including members of the local Boys & Girls Club, the Indio Teen Center, Indio High School ASB, Indio High School Interact Club and interested neighbors, to load up wheelbarrows and dumpsters with trash and other discarded debris and beautify their communities! Some of the locations included a residential area east of Palo Verde Avenue, and an empty lot adjacent to the Desert View apartment complex on Rubidoux Street. Future cleanups are in the works as part of the City's Neighborhood Assistance Cleanup Pilot Program, funded through Community Development Block Grants. To get involved, or learn if your neighborhood is eligible for some free sprucing up, visit here
Woman's Club of Indio Serves the Community for More Than 100 Years

Founded in 1912, the Woman's Club of Indio is the oldest civic organization in the Coachella Valley with a mission to enhance the community through active, committed and civic minded participation. The group is involved in many community programs related to education, arts, community affairs, historical preservation, and health and public safety. Examples of their service includes helping women in domestic violence situations, helping the homeless through the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission, guiding teen girls through the Ophelia Project, assisting the Coachella Valley Historical Museum, awarding scholarships, and participating in the Read Across Indio program. For more information and to join the Woman's Club of Indio, go to  womansclubofindio.org .  
Desert Recreation District Releases Winter/Spring 2020 Activity Guide

The Desert Recreation District has released their Winter/Spring 2020 Activity and Program Guide! The Indio Community Center, Gymnasium & Park is located at 45-871 Clinton Street and is open Monday thru Friday 6 a.m. - 9 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. The Community Center offers high school regulation basketball court, indoor walking track, volleyball court, children’s playground, weight room and much more!

Some of the activities and programs that are offer at the Indio Community Center are adaptive adult fitness classes, adaptive gymnastics, guitar and piano lessons, beginners ballet, gymnastics, the Jr. Historians After School Program and much, much more. 

Indio residents can also purchase an annual DRD Get Fit Pass which provides entry to DRD Fitness Centers and facilities in La Quinta, Palm Desert, North Shore and Indio. The cost for the annual pass for an Indio resident is $50.

To learn more about what DRD offers, visit myrecreationdistrict.com or check out their latest activity guide here: English / Spanish .
Above and Beyond Awards Honors Indio Residents

On January 25, 2020, the Angel Light Academy hosted their 11th Annual Above & Beyond Gala honoring local citizens who have proven excellence in community leadership and service. The Above & Beyond Gala was established in 2009 as a grass roots recognition program for the “doers” of the Coachella Valley. Each of the honorees have consistently demonstrated their desire go above and beyond in each of their communities. The honorees were nominated by their peers for this prestigious award. The Gala is an amazing forum to view the works of our honorees who represent fabulous organizations, institutions, and corporations.
This year, Angel Light Academy honored two local Indio residents - Councilmember Waymond Fermon and Planning Commissioner Gloria Franz. Councilmember Fermon is an Indio native who has dedicated himself to helping improve his community and supporting the young people in it. He become an Indio Councilmember in 2019. Commissioner Franz has been active Community member in the Coachella Valley for many years and works with volunteers and community leaders to support the arts, preserve natural resources, advanced education and encourages civic involvement. 
Senior Inspiration Awards Honors
Local Volunteers

Join the City of Indio in recognizing Maureen Boren as our 2020 Senior Inspiration Award recipient, on Friday, March 13, 2020 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa. Maureen has been a volunteer in the Indio community and the whole Coachella Valley for over 20 years! As a dedicated docent of multiple museums, she educates the children in the Coachella Valley about the history, art, culture and traditions of the east valley. Some of her volunteer work includes the Coachella Valley History Museum, the Children’s Discovery Museum, Idyllwild Historical Society Museum, Palm Springs Art Museum and Riverside County Historical Commission. Maureen is the epitome of a healthy, active and contributing volunteer, and we sincerely thank her for her dedication to the Indio community. To purchase tickets – visit seniorinspirationawards .org and click on “Purchase Tickets” or call (760) 863-2556. The luncheon is $30 per person. When ordering your tickets, input or mention that “Maureen Boren for the City of Indio” is the reason for attending. 
City of Indio's Finance Department Receives Two Awards

The City's Finance Department just landed two prestigious awards, spotlighting their high-quality reporting and commitment to transparency. For the first time, the City applied for and received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA). This resulted from Indio meeting all 14 mandatory reporting criteria items for the City's adopted Fiscal year 19/20 Operating and Capital Improvement Budget. In addition, the California Society of Municipal Finance Officers (CSMFO) awarded the City its Excellence Award, the most distinguished of two available honors. The awards are the culmination of a year-round effort by the entire Finance Department staff, who all deserve credit for their reporting achievements. 
Indio Conducting Apartment Survey for Downtown

As the City of Indio works to bring more housing and activity to Downtown Indio, the City has partnered with The Michaels Organization (TMO) to facilitate a survey gauging interest in Downtown apartment rentals.

With the assistance of TMO, The City of Indio is reaching out to residents, employees and stakeholders in the community to better understand the rental housing needs of the people who are living and working in Indio and the surrounding areas of the Coachella Valley through the  Indio Apartment Survey  ( English  or  Espanol ), which can be found on the City of Indio’s website.  
As a thank you gift from TMO for completing the survey, participants have the opportunity to win one of five Visa gift cards. Each gift card is valued at $100. TMO will draw the winners at random and contact them on or before March 31, 2020.

For more information about The Michaels Organization, please visit  tmo.com
The Michaels Organization and The City of Indio appreciates your completion of the survey as we try to bring more housing and activity to the downtown. 
The City of Indio is the largest and fastest growing city in the Coachella Valley with more than with more than 89,000 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