Indio, California - City Guide
The Next Big Thing
By June Allan Corrigan
Quite literally, all signs lead to Indio. Whether actual freeway signs, billboard advertising or the sheer pull of economic growth, Indio is the ultimate destination. Close to 200 new businesses, both national and international in scope, have established themselves within city limits in the last year alone. Many of those are well-known retail outlets attracting countless shoppers to the area. Increased consumer confidence has caused sales tax income to grow to the point where percentage-wise it is positioning Indio as a retail hub. Some of that boost can also be attributed to the many events Indio is most happy to accommodate, reveling in its identity as the City of Festivals. And there’s promise of much more to come.
“We’re committed to the success of Indio’s business community. By approving various incentives and policies we’re supporting our job creators and creating a friendlier climate for business,” says Indio Mayor Glenn Miller.
A whirl of activity fills Indio’s social calendar. The pre-eminent Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals cause hundreds of thousands of fans from both near and far to descend upon the area. The Coachella fest actually spanned two weekends in its latest reincarnation, and all signs indicate both of these events will continue to call Indio home for many years to come. An inaugural Polo and Wine Festival at the Eldorado Polo Grounds proved popular; and going forward, there are plans to incorporate rhythm and blues music into the affair. A Latino Music and Arts Festival may soon debut, along with a Cinco de Mayo fest and a newly invigorated July 4th celebration. The venerable and internationally known Tamale Festival and Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival never fail to pull in enormous crowds drawn to the combination of food, entertainment, and family fun served up in spades. By virtue of playing host to all these diverse and exciting offerings, Indio has clearly cemented its reputation as the City of Festivals.
“With close to two decades worth of collaboration, we’ve created a foundation for success. Goldenvoice’s music festivals and our other festivals have transformed a culture through music, arts, festivities and entertainment. Their appeal spans multiple generations and creates an experience of a lifetime in Indio,” Miller adds.
Signs are everywhere that the heart of the city, Indio’s downtown section, is experiencing a resurgence. College of the Desert’s East Valley Campus, to be known as the Indio Educational Center, leads the way in that regard. Poised to open its doors to students in the fall of 2013, it will energize the downtown core and ensure the advancement of a young population destined to be tomorrow’s movers and shakers. Additionally, California Desert Trial Academy College of Law will begin classes downtown this fall. Its mission is to educate, train, and develop extraordinary legal advocates.
Riverside County will be investing over $300 million into downtown Indio with the development of two new projects. The Indio Law Building and East County Detention Center will enhance law enforcement and administrative services for the region.
On another promising note, an arts industry has sprung up in Indio over the last couple of years. A film and television studio, A-Consortium Film, resides downtown, and the Coachella Valley Arts Center situated nearby is designed to give artists space to create. It’s no small coincidence that in recent years Indio has selected close to 20 new public art pieces to display in the community.
“Over $350 million will be invested into Indio through public projects, thereby enhancing Indio’s economic base, spurring future development, and increasing job opportunities in the region,” says City Manager Dan Martinez.
Indio’s city leaders recognize the importance of enacting pro-active, business-friendly policies and are always pushing toward that end. Newcomers, therefore, experience fewer headaches securing the all-important signage they need to attract customers, thanks to more flexible standards. Commercial industrial services appreciate a 25 percent reduction in the developmental impact fees they’re required to pay, a courtesy now extended two years. Auto dealerships are thrilled Indio has rolled back some of the extensive requirements other cities require in terms of landscaping, as it gives them more area for promotion and auto sales.
“Indio essentially employs the region by the sheer number of businesses in existence here and the number of people we have working in the community. Of course you could say it’s because we have the largest population, but we like to think it’s the business-friendly climate we’ve cultivated that attracts people here. And you know, even if folks work somewhere else, there’s a strong likelihood that they reside in Indio,” Martinez says.
Residential property values continue to stabilize; and on an even more positive note, there are signs of new growth. Sun City Shadow Hills, just north of Interstate 10, continues to expand upon what has become one of Sun City’s most successful locations throughout North America. Increasingly, areas of existing homes are seeing a vote of confidence from commercial developers. Sensing an uptick in consumer spending, many of these developers are moving forward after a period of holding back.
“It’s very encouraging. New development in the form of hotels and restaurants is coming into the city. Lots of small businesses are looking at Indio not only because of its stature as the valley’s largest city, but also because of the festivals and the atmosphere they create. People sense a new economic engine humming in the East Valley and are viewing Indio as a good place to start their new businesses,” Miller says.
Indio as a community is always improving, restructuring and redirecting services to benefit residents, visitors, and business owners.
Follow the many signs to Indio and rest assured it is indeed the next best thing.
Description: Indio is the Coachella Valley’s oldest city: first surveyed in 1888 and incorporated in 1930 (population 1,875). It is also the region’s “newest city,” bustling and changing with the population growth of the California desert cities resort area. Indio itself today is dynamic, cutting-edge, forward-thinking: mindful of its citizens, and respectful of its rich heritage, for this is the cradle of the Coachella Valley.
Since 1924, the iconic Shields Date Garden has offered dates and date shakes to visitors from around the world; it now boasts a indoor/outdoor café.
Empire and Eldorado polo clubs present matches throughout the season.
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