Indian Wells, California - City Guide
A Dynamic Desert City
By Jan Silver Maguire
Plato said, “This city is what it is because our citizens are what they are.” Yes, he was talking of another city — one existing long before Indian Wells came to being 45 years ago. But his statement could just as well apply today to this magnificent residential resort destination in the heart of the Coachella Valley. It’s a community where caring, concerned, and involved residents play an active role in ensuring that Indian Wells maintains the highest possible quality of life.
Around this core are a progressive city government that embraces innovation, transparency, environmental responsibility, and economic sustainability; extraordinary amenities for residents and visitors, like the Indian Wells Golf Resort and Indian Wells Tennis Garden; four luxury hotels and premier cultural offerings; and a stimulating business environment ripe for retail and commercial enterprises, telecommuting executives, and entrepreneurs.
In a year when national politics are taking center stage, the City of Indian Wells remains firmly focused on the issues at hand. One is assuring robust city coffers that boast a general fund reserve of $30 million so that Indian Wells’ highly regarded municipal projects and services continue to thrive.
“Even in the wake of the elimination of redevelopment agencies throughout the state, Indian Wells adopted its fiscal year 2012-2013 budget with a projected revenue surplus,” Mayor Douglas Hanson says. Included as part of this year’s budget adoption was a reserve of $500,000, which is allocated to newly formed capital replacement funds. Equally important, the city-owned Indian Wells Golf Resort projects a surplus for the second year after a complete renovation makeover in 2008. Indian Wells resident benefits at the upscale golf facility remain some of the most affordable in the region.
With valuable and valued resident input, City Hall continually reinvests in the community, with projects such as the recently completed palm- and flower-lined median strip on Highway 111. The next phase of that project, set to commence June 2013, will provide traffic-calming measures and alleviate traffic congestion. In its effort to constantly conserve water, the Public Works Department has installed a state-of-the-art drip system to transport reclaimed water to the lush and efficiently landscaped medians, bringing an expected savings to the city of $40,000 annually. Other carefully designed landscape reconfiguration projects will maintain the lush green setting for which Indian Wells is known, while reducing water costs by another $21,000 per year.
Working with its residents, the city strongly emphasizes multifaceted, sustainable ventures that encompass an annual citrus collection program benefiting the nonprofit Hidden Harvest, document-shredding events, backyard composting workshops, a home remodeling recycling program, a community garden project, and much more.
Public safety remains the highest of priorities, with Indian Wells enjoying one of the lowest crime rates and highest emergency-response rates in the region. Constantly on the lookout for cutting-edge technology to deter crime, the city recently began using mobile automatic license plate recognition camera systems, an effective, cost-saving technology equivalent to the time and work of 10 patrol officers. In its effort to educate its residents and help prevent crime, the city also annually hosts a free community-wide residential security and emergency preparedness expo.
With celebrated, world-class tourism and recreational amenities and a resident benefit program beyond compare, it’s little wonder that more than 5,000 full-time and an additional 4,000 seasonal residents have chosen to relocate to Indian Wells’ spectacular neighborhoods and private country clubs after vacationing in this picturesque desert paradise.
Among its many treasures, the city serves as the proud home of Indian Wells Tennis Garden, the second-largest tennis stadium in the world. In 2009, Oracle software magnate Larry Ellison, an Indian Wells homeowner, purchased the Tennis Garden and its signature event: the BNP Paribas Open (the fifth-most attended professional tennis tournament in the world). The renowned sporting event continues to grow in size, stature, and hightech advancements. It is the only tournament to benefit from Hawkeye replay technology and video displays on all courts. In 2012, the tournament attracted a record-breaking 370,000 spectators. A study conducted by George Washington University in 2011 estimated the tournament had a $289 million impact on the regional economy. Planning is underway to spend $70 million to upgrade the facility and tournament, with the aim of drawing more than 500,000 tennis fans annually. This phenomenal 55-acre Tennis Garden also hosts the world-class Indian Wells Arts Festival.
Golf enthusiasts will not want to miss the extraordinary experience of playing at the 36-hole Indian Wells Golf Resort, which featured the Skins Game and Big Break Indian Wells. Both the Celebrity and Players courses are rated in the top 20 public golf courses in the United States. Along with the IW Club Bar and Restaurant, this multiple award-winning facility has evolved into a top golf, dining, and special event destination for leisure and business visitors, as well as for residents throughout the desert communities.
Just a few steps away from the golf resort, visitors will find four luxury hotels offering an impressive array of amenities — spas, restaurants, boutique shopping, and more — sure to please the most discriminating guests. Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa recently completed an extensive multimillion-dollar renovation. Indian Wells Resort Hotel, Miramonte Resort & Spa, and Renaissance Esmeralda Resort and Spa have invested in upgrades ranging from reconceptualized lobby areas and new ballrooms to significant room remodels and enhancements.
The city’s commitment to the arts, coupled with a midvalley location, lends itself to vast cultural opportunities for residents and visitors alike. Indian Wells is proud of its heritage and supports an active historic preservation foundation. Art enthusiasts can explore the extensive original art collection at Indian Wells Golf Resort or visit the outstanding exhibitions at the new Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert, located only 10 minutes away. And while Indian Wells’ exceptional resort spas stimulate the body and soul, the Desert Town Hall speaker series and World Affairs Council of the Desert bring the world’s foremost thought leaders to the stage to stimulate the mind. Along with Palm Desert, Indian Wells is home to The Living Desert Zoo & Botanical Garden, an exceptional 1,200-acre preserve featuring desert flora and wildlife.
Indian Wells also is a prime vantage point from which to take advantage of world-renowned special events held annually in the area, such as the Palm Springs International Film Festival, Modernism Week, La Quinta Arts Festival, International Tamale Festival, Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, and the Stagecoach country music festival.
Although small geographically, Indian Wells is large in vision. The future looks brighter than ever for Indian Wells, Southern California’s tranquil and luxurious city under the sun providing an unsurpassed quality of life.
Description: Celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2007, Indian Wells is known as a beautiful enclave with luxurious resorts and high-caliber residential living. When the City of Indian Wells celebrates a landmark occasion, this vibrant desert community knows how to throw a party in style.
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