While the global economic outlook has shifted over the past several years, Coachella continues to offer the best value proposition for residents and investors in the Coachella Valley. Thanks to a dedicated city council and staff, finances are stable and all indications point to strong demand and market growth in the near term.
Mayor Eduardo Garcia says, “We’ve consolidated many of our business practices to keep expenses in check while maintaining services. Activity is going up, and unemployment is going down. We are in a great position to meet the needs of the underserved market of the eastern Coachella Valley.”
Despite being among the oldest incorporated cities in the valley, Coachella is a city of youth. The median age is 26. More than 150 teams play league soccer at Bagdouma Park, a 34-acre expanse of sports courts and fields, a swimming pool, playgrounds, party pavilion, and open space for recreation. According to City Manager David Garcia, that energy is what drives policymakers to continue to invest in the community and develop the commercial and retail core to keep tax revenues in the city and provide residents with more choices and better services.
With 16,000 acres of undeveloped land in its sphere of influence, Coachella was one of 14 places in California selected as a partner for the Ten-Year Strategic Initiative by the California Endowment. The program’s goal is to create healthy, balanced communities that maximize their own resources through public/ private partnerships. Hiking and biking paths along with exercise circuits are being integrated into the city’s eight parks and other public spaces.
One of the most exciting partnership projects on the horizon is the Dia de los Muertos festival set for the first weekend in November at Rancho Las Flores Park. The event is planned as a signature destination event with music, art, food, and fun for the entire family. Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, evolved from 3,000-year-old rituals practiced by the Aztecs. Since the time of the Spanish conquest, Latinos in Mexico, the United States, and Central America have celebrated its rituals on Nov. 1 and 2.
Festival organizer Rodri J. Rodriguez, the creator/producer of MARIACHI USA, believes Coachella is the natural place for the Dia de los Muertos festival, with the desert’s perfect weather in November, and the event’s timing in the shoulder season.
MARIACHI USA celebrated its 24th season at the Hollywood Bowl, making it the longest-running commercial Latino event in the United States. Rodriguez says, “We’d like to think of the Hollywood Bowl as our summer home and the Dia de los Muertos festival in Coachella as our winter home.”
Recognizing Coachella’s residential growth potential, New West Company is master-planning a development of up to 8,000 homes on 2,200 acres. La Entrada expects project approval toward the end of 2013. The site rests on the foothills along the grade to Chiriaco Summit on Interstate 10, affording spectacular views toward the Coachella Valley. In addition to neighborhood home communities, the project will include retail, schools, and open space uses. It will also create at least one new freeway interchange east of Dillon Road onto Interstate 10. Says New West Company CEO Terry Manley, “The economy is on the mend and La Entrada is very well located to be a major part of the growth that is certain to come to Coachella over the next 25 years.”
On the commercial business side, Coachella is poised to attract firms in the target areas of supply chain/logistics and green technologies. Mayor Garcia says, “What these two industries offer is well-paying jobs. What we offer is a solid infrastructure for transportation and technology innovation. When you put the two together, you come out with a win-win situation for everyone.”
John Powell has been active in the Coachella Valley’s farming community for many years, and knows what a critical role Coachella’s location plays. “Peter Rabbit Farms was started by my grandfather in 1950 in the same location in Coachella where it remains today,” Powell says. “We have a long history of excellent relations with the city, and that has allowed us to grow our farming business as the city has grown. It may be hard to believe if you live in other parts of the Coachella Valley, but we are able to farm very productively and market our products throughout the United States and Canada, all from inside the city limits. The excellent workforce, helpful city staff, and location along I-10 are all keys to our success.”
Coachella continues to lay the groundwork for population growth with public safety enhancements, a $4.8 million expansion of the Coachella Sanitary District’s water reclamation facility, and the setting aside of ample open space for parks throughout the city. Coachella is one of five public entities in the valley that provides water and sewer services to residents. In addition, Coachella installed 5 million gallons of extra water storage capacity for future growth and long-term service reliability.
Mayor Garcia puts his vision for Coachella this way: “We recognize our role in the region. We’re on the right track. Our finances and projections are stable. With space to grow and an investment in good planning, we are ready for the next wave of economic expansion. In the meantime, our focus is on providing a healthy, well-rounded, and affordable lifestyle for our residents.”
— Gayle Biondi
For more information, visit www.coachella.org or call 760-398-3502
Thanks to its location, Coachella has access to the global marketplace. The city sits at the hub of Interstate 10, State Highway 86, and a major rail-shipping line, putting it within easy reach of 25 million people from Los Angeles to Phoenix to Mexicali. With plans already in place to create a multi-modal network, Coachella will be able to serve coastal California ports that ship worldwide.
The election of Raul Ruiz, M.D., as U.S. Representative for California’s 36th District brings a new level of visibility to the eastern Coachella Valley. Ruiz grew up in Coachella, where both of his parents were farm workers. After graduating from Coachella Valley High School, he graduated magna cum laude from University of California, Los Angeles. Ruiz went on to Harvard University, where he earned his M.D. and a Masters of Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government, and a Masters of Public Health from the School of Public Health, becoming the first Latino to earn three graduate degrees from Harvard.
Arturo Aviles, Steven Hernandez, Magdalena Zepeda