Desert Hot Springs, California - City Guide
A City on the Move
By Joan Page McKenna
Desert Hot Springs was California’s fastest-growing city in 2011, yet it retains a small-town, friendly atmosphere. The city’s environmental amenities, attractive housing prices, business and development opportunities, and exceptional views have spurred its steady expansion. The population grew by 53 percent between 2000 and 2010. Its year-round population now numbers 27,672, and the median resident age is 31. City leaders continue to focus on four major goals to propel Desert Hot Springs into the future: economic development, public safety, fiscal stability, and quality of life for residents and businesses.
TOURISM IN THE ‘SPA CITY’
“Desert Hot Springs has so much to offer,” Mayor Yvonne Parks says. “We are surrounded by the mountains and brilliant blue skies. Our views are to die for. Our water is a precious commodity and defines who we are. Not only is our tap water some of world’s best-tasting, but also the hot waters in our spas are therapeutic and provide an essential economic boost to our city.”
The Vortex Downtown Revitalization Plan, adopted in 2010, continues to distinguish Desert Hot Springs as a world-class health and wellness destination. A core area of seven acres at the corner of Pierson Boulevard and Palm Drive, near the Spa Zone, has been planned for business, residential, and hotel development. The Desert Hot Springs Hoteliers Association is marketing the Spa City, and almost 1,000 guests enjoyed the city’s signature spa tour in 2012.
The city is reviewing more than $250 million in new private investment projects. Major retailers are already staking claims. Dollar General breaks ground this fall on Palm Drive. Walmart will break ground in fall 2013 on a 155,000-square-foot store. “It will enhance our retail base, because businesses know if a Walmart settles, the demographics will attract other businesses,” Parks says.
“Desert Hot Springs leads the valley in sales-tax growth and was the second-highest community in all of Riverside County — 17 percent, twice the rate of the rest of Southern California,” Parks says. The completion of the Palm Drive/Gene Autry Trail and Indian Canyon Drive interchanges opened up other development opportunities on the more than 4,000 acres that connect the city to Interstate 10. With bold signage on the exit bridges, Desert Hot Springs has more exposure along the freeway, which sees 150,000 travelers daily.
INCREASED MEDICAL CARE AVAILABILITY
Riverside County has almost completed its Family Services Regional Center on 14 acres along Palm Drive behind Vons. It will include workforce development and social services offices in addition to a mental-health clinic.
PUBLIC SAFETY AND THE COMMUNITY
“We are developing law-enforcement staffing metrics based on best practices. We also developed a strategic community policing initiative, which received statewide recognition with the James Q. Wilson Award,” Parks says. The initiative includes assigning officers to areas of the city and conducting meetings to familiarize residents with the police. “I believe that our ability to more quickly solve crimes has been as a result of this program,” she says.
Desert Hot Springs continues neighborhood cleanups and practices strict code enforcement, especially on abandoned properties.
Desert Hot Springs’ three community parks — Mission Springs, Wardman, and Tedesco — were updated with more recreational options, including soccer, baseball, and walking paths.
Cabot’s Pueblo Museum earned a coveted spot on the National Register of Historic Places.
Description: Desert Hot Springs is the Coachella Valley’s gateway to Joshua Tree National Park. More than three million people each year travel historic Highway 62 to visit the unique wilderness to rock climb, hike, and camp in a setting unlike any other.
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