Gem of the Desert
All three Coachella Valley hospitals expanded services in La Quinta this past year, including this comprehensive healthcare hub, the Eisenhower George & Julia Argyros Health Center.
Photo by Jon Edwards
Now more than ever, people are embracing some of life’s most basic values — healthy living, time with family and friends, and enjoying simple pleasures. This has inspired the city of La Quinta to focus on the core of what makes life in this community so gratifying — an exceptional quality of life — with the goal of preserving and enhancing it at every opportunity.
La Quinta is making healthy living a priority. It recently became a Healthy Eating Active Living city. The goal of HEAL, a campaign originating from the League of California Cities, is to promote healthier lifestyles and communities across the state. Indeed, La Quinta is taking its new role seriously. Encouraging everyone to “eat healthy and get active,” the city continues to add recreational venues such as the new trail that runs along Montezuma Street in the Cove, providing a loop around the Fred Wolff Bear Creek Nature Preserve.
La Quinta parks offer fresh air and fun fitness. The city realizes that its investment in parks is an investment in the health of its residents. Five new soccer/multipurpose sports fields will keep kids moving at the Colonel Paige Middle School. New playgrounds have been installed at Fritz Burns, Adams, and Seasons parks. Upgrades to Pioneer Park will include shade shelters, additional parking, and expansion of the dog park. And the city’s newest and most spacious dog park will become part of Seasons Park, located in La Quinta Village.
Expanded medical services are also at the top of the list. The city welcomes new healthcare options from the valley’s three major hospitals. Eisenhower Medical Center opened an impressive facility in the northern tip of the city, the Eisenhower George and Julia Argyros Health Center. The three-story medical building encompasses an urgent care facility, imaging center, lab, pharmacy, radiation oncology, and physician offices.
JFK Memorial Hospital opened a hospital-licensed orthopedic clinic. Providing diagnosis and treatment of patients with arthritis, osteoporosis, and other bone disorders, the clinic — JFK Orthopedics — also houses the Arthritis Institute. Furthermore, Desert Regional Medical Center introduced the La Quinta Imaging Center. It provides wide-bore MRI, 64-slice CT, digital X-ray, ultrasound, and MRI breast imaging. The hospital plans to open orthopedic, neurology, and oncology clinics in La Quinta later this year.
The health of residents and the health of the economy are both important in La Quinta. As the economy recovers, La Quinta continues to experience a variety of new openings, including eateries, specialty stores, health and beauty services, art galleries, and the exciting re-opening of Homewood Suites. The business climate in La Quinta continues to be advantageous, and the city continues to strengthen its economic development efforts to attract new business and keep existing ones.
This past year, the city honed in on its auto dealers. In addition to the opening of Hyundai of La Quinta, Ken Garff Chevrolet Cadillac of the Desert announced it would remain in La Quinta. Retaining and expanding the dealerships helps ensure the vitality of the auto center and the local economy as a whole.
The La Quinta auto dealers formed an alliance, taking advantage of the city’s Cooperative Marketing Program, which offers La Quinta businesses an array of advertising opportunities. In partnership with the City, the auto dealers launched a television campaign promoting car brands, location, and service. Other city cooperative partners included Old Town La Quinta, Old Town restaurants, Embassy Suites, Washington Park, La Quinta Chamber of Commerce, and Las Casuelas Quinta. The program is now ramping up its second year.
Economic activity was further enhanced by La Quinta’s numerous special events, which attract thousands to this vibrant city. The events “season” kicked off with the Bob Hope Classic in January. Played solely on La Quinta courses, the tournament distributed 53,000 daily tickets, which brought quite a bustle to the community and generated an exciting buzz, locally and on national television.
In February, the Desert Classic Concours d’Elegance made La Quinta its new home — drawing more than 3,000 guests who enjoyed the magnificence of 200 rare and exotic cars. Hosted by La Quinta Resort & Club, the event also featured collectible items such as art, fine food, and live music.
And the city’s well-known signature art event — La Quinta Arts Festival — once again smashed attendance and sales records in March on the breathtaking Civic Center Campus. Presented by the La Quinta Arts Foundation, the festival is one of the top arts festivals in the nation. The foundation’s Art Under the Umbrellas has expanded to eight shows, while in November, Blues & Brews features blues bands and microbrews.
The La Quinta Chamber of Commerce hosts enjoyable events as well, including the Taste of La Quinta and the Chamber Car Show. Other happenings, such as a certified farmers market in Old Town (Sundays, September through May), summer Moonlight Movies, and nature walks on Saturdays fill up La Quinta’s busy activities calendar.
To accommodate all these great events, La Quinta makes sure it maintains and provides unparalleled facilities. The city of La Quinta has been diligent in building and preserving facilities that match the high expectations of this community.
The city’s golf course, SilverRock Resort, had the highest recorded rounds of golf played in its five years of operation and received a number of accolades. It was named Best Municipal Course in the Coachella Valley by Southland Golf magazine and was honored in Golfweek’s 2010 “Best Municipal Courses.”
At the beautiful La Quinta Museum, high-caliber exhibits have rotated throughout the year, including PT Barnum & the Circus and Old Hollywood & the Desert Club, with Dinosaurs opening in February 2011. The La Quinta Historical Society provides bus tours to interesting historical locations, including historic casitas in the Cove and the La Quinta Resort.
With circulation rising 11 percent this past year, the La Quinta Public Library serves its readers well. This year’s addition of Four Seasons public art in the children’s area provides whimsical décor for the young and young-at-heart. Programs ranging from On-the-Lap Storytime to the WhoDunnit? Mystery Book Club provide something for every bookworm, while the Evening with Friends events provide entertainment monthly.
The city’s underlying theme of “staying active” carries through to its programs at the senior center. Pilates, tai chi, and ballroom dance are some of the many classes offered — and they’re not just for seniors. In addition, affordable activities like volleyball, basketball, and fitness workouts are available at the La Quinta Fitness Center and Gym.
An important component of community health and vitality is affordable housing. The most progressive housing project the city has undertaken this past year is the purchase of foreclosed homes. The city rehabilitated five homes in the Cove area, which will be occupied by those in need of affordable housing. Local contractors refurbished these homes, which added to the magnitude of the program.
Other affordable housing initiatives include Washington Street Apartments, which were annexed into the city and will be renovated for use among low-income seniors and special-needs individuals. Free art classes offered by Old Town Artisan Studio and recreational activities will take place on-site. The city has purchased six acres at Dune Palms Road and Westward Ho Drive, which will become the next development in its affordable housing program.
A healthy La Quinta is a “green” La Quinta. Perhaps the most impactful green program this year involves turf reduction — eliminating 73,700 square feet of turf from city facilities — translating to water savings of 1,622,840 gallons per year. Additionally, the city’s partnership with Coachella Valley Water District provides rebates to residents as an incentive to replace their turf with drought-tolerant landscaping. The city, CVWD, Imperial Irrigation District, and Southern California Gas Co. have hosted informational workshops at the farmers market and various residential communities.
A “healthy” story would not be complete without mention of public health and safety. The construction of a new fire station is the city’s biggest enhancement to public safety. Fire Station 32, located in La Quinta Village, will improve emergency response time to the La Quinta Cove and central La Quinta. The project’s construction process provided work for a number of local contractors.
The widening of Highway 111 from Washington Street to the western city limits is allowing emergency vehicles and other traffic to flow smoothly along this main thoroughfare. Construction of the Adams Street bridge and widening of Washington Street north of Avenue 50 are next on the list. And with La Quinta’s new street-legal golf cart program, residents can travel select streets amid fresh air and mountain views.
Through a general plan update, businesses and residents are being engaged in shaping La Quinta through 2035. The current process will establish a growth boundary, assess land use alternatives, and evaluate new policies and programs. So, what does the future hold for La Quinta? There is no crystal ball, but it’s sure to be as healthy and prosperous as what city leaders have carved thus far.
For more information on La Quinta, including where to shop, dine, and play, go to www.playinlaquinta.com.
Mayor: Don Adolph
Mayor Pro Tem: Kristy Franklin
Council Members: Terry Henderson, Stanley Sniff, Linda Evans
Year Incorporated: 1982
Median Household Income: $74,452