Cathedral City, California - City Guide
Offering More Than Fun in the Sun
By Ellen Paris
When visitors think of vacationing in the Palm Springs area, they envision a round of golf or a set of tennis and then relaxing poolside. Yet more and more visitors are seeking different leisure options. Cathedral City is fast becoming the Coachella Valley’s center for distinctive activities — from European kart driving and an Olympic-training ice skating facility to a growing antique and consignment district.
New businesses like Cathedral City’s central location. Xceleration Indoor Kart Racing is a 50,000-square-foot indoor motor speedway with Formula 1-type tracks. It debuts this fall with Italian-designed electric race karts. “This is our first site, and we chose Cathedral City because it’s in the center of the valley and accessible from both Highway 111 and Interstate 10,” says Tony Strange, chief financial officer of Xceleration. “The city was very welcoming, which made this a very good experience for us.”
City officials couldn’t be happier. “Xceleration is a great addition for the city. It gives us one more year-round indoor recreational facility,” explains Andy Hall, community development director. “Xceleration offers the Cathedral City Auto Center a variety of potential joint opportunities for events that benefit the city, visitors, and residents,” notes Leisa Lukes, city planner.
Offering year-round activities is a city priority. The Dennis Keat Soccer Park is a perfect example. Surrounded by a two-thirds-mile fitness track with five exercise stations, the park enjoys unobstructed San Jacinto Mountain views. “We enhanced the park and expanded its usage by covering the exercise stations to make them more comfortable during the summer,” Hall says.
Boomers! Family Entertainment Center continues to draw visitors from across the valley. Its variety of attractions — including miniature golf, go-karts, bumper boats, climbing wall, and video-game arcade — provides an active family experience.
Desert Ice Castle, marking one year on Perez Road, is one of the city’s biggest success stories. Skaters have flocked to this Olympic-training facility that offers community ice skating, skating classes, and private and community events. “Here in Cathedral City, we have international Olympic hopefuls training with Frank Carroll and living here,” Lukes notes. Carroll coached Olympic Gold medalist Evan Lysacek and champion Michelle Kwan.
Cathedral City’s attractions span a wide range of interests. Big League Dreams Sports Park is home to great softball events, including the NCAA women’s softball tournament, and features three fields that replicate Wrigley Field, Fenway Park, and Yankee Stadium.
The city also is home to the valley’s only IMAX theater. Located downtown, the UltraStar Desert IMAX Theatre and UltraStar Mary Pickford Stadium 14 theater are destination entertainment centerpieces for the community and visitors. Desert IMAX recently upgraded to pure digital technology cinema format, the most advanced motion picture projection technology available, allowing screenings of IMAX and other first-run feature films in large format. The 14-screen Mary Pickford Theatre also is upgrading to the latest digital technology. UltraStar Cinemas, California’s largest privately owned theater group, manages both. “We’ve had the theaters for nine months, but I knew years ago when the ribbon was cut for Mary Pickford that this was a special theater,” says Wally Schlotter, UltraStar’s vice president, special products and a longtime valley visitor. “We’ve become part of the fabric of the community, and Cathedral City is perfect for us.”
Dinner and a movie make for a perfect evening. Cathedral City has a wide range of restaurants, including Italian, Indian, Mexican, barbecue, and an American bistro. “Over the last year, about 20 new restaurants chose Cathedral City,” Hall says.
Antique shops and consignment stores are a new draw for the city. On Highway 111, Victoria’s Attic Antiques sits next to Misty’s Consignments. Across the street is A Touch of Class Consignments. Well-known Retail Therapy recently opened nearby. “These business owners have created a niche in buildings that were vacant for a while,” Lukes observes.
Business clusters are successful enterprises in Cathedral City. The first was the Cathedral City Auto Center. The Perez Road business district, with more than 200 businesses, is a popular destination for shoppers looking for unique home furnishings. Last year, business owners formed the nonprofit Perez Business Partners, which holds its second street fair in November.
“We live in an area known for resorts, recreation, and seasonal visitors. I think Cathedral City stands out for its down-to-earth, year-round appeal,” Mayor Kathleen DeRosa says. “It is the quintessential new American city — a place where citizens, like the city itself, possess a keen inner drive to be more, do more, and go further.”
Cathedral City is a place where people “live real.” Discover Real is the theme for the City’s outreach to developers and entrepreneurs as it works to attract business at International Council of Shopping Center gatherings and other business forums.
Discover Real also is the focus of the city’s new website: discover-real.com. The site highlights surprising economic development information. And the city is launching a Discover Real LinkedIn campaign targeting site locators, land developers, and retail consultants. “The Discover Real campaign is aimed at reaching the business community, as well as visitors, inviting them to discover the many unique experiences and opportunities the city has to offer,” explains Allen Howe, communications officer/assistant to the city manager.
Cathedral City is supporting economic development by infrastructure improvement on roads running through the major business district. The Ramon Road corridor is being refurbished and when complete will have three lanes going in each direction between Landau Boulevard and Da Vall Drive. Look for road rehabilitation on East Palm Canyon Drive, from Trader Joe’s to Canyon Plaza Drive and from Perez Road to Auto Park Road. “It’s very important to us and the City Council to improve our major corridors and entryways into the city,” Lukes says.
With a new location and a new CEO, the Cathedral City Chamber of Commerce has a promising future. “The chamber is experiencing a resurgence of interest and excitement throughout the business community. Memberships are growing; business clusters and districts are forming, creating a new approach to marketing and attracting customers to their locations. New business owners, previously located in other valley locations, are discovering what we have known all along: Cathedral City is the place to do business. With its central location and ease of access, business owners, companies, and manufacturers are rediscovering Cathedral City,” says CEO & President Lynn Mallotto.
Description: Look around Cathedral City — from its vibrant downtown and Town Square, where residents and visitors dine, shop, and play, to the new 17-acre Soccer Park and the emergence of Date Palm Drive as a major retail corridor — and you’ll see a family-orientated city with a fastgrowing list of achievements.
The Cathedral City Chamber of Commerce has a new home in the Civic Center and a new commitment to supporting Cathedral City businesses. New CEO & President, Lynn Mallotto and Chamber Board Chairman Andrew T. Jessup, Jr.
Ice Skating: Desert Ice Castle is an Olympic training facility and open for public skating and classes.
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