Bagdouma Park has been a hub for sports, concerts, and outdoor activities.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHAD VAN HORN
The rural hamlet founded as Woodspur in 1876 became the City of Coachella in 1946. Today, the 29-square mile municipality is namesake of a world-famous music festival and enjoying the momentum of thoughtful growth and meaningful progress.
Coachella sits at the eastern end of the Coachella Valley, its boundaries extending partially up the Chocolate Mountains. More than 60 percent of the city’s land is undeveloped or used in agriculture. A solid 95 percent of the country’s dates grow in Coachella and its neighboring communities. Other important crops include grapes, citrus, corn, artichokes, peppers, carrots and myriad of other row crops.
The Coachella Grapefruit is named after the city; the fruit was once so critical to the city’s economy that the portion of Highway 111 running through town is known as Grapefruit Boulevard. That thoroughfare follows the former Southern Pacific Sunset Route that once ferried passengers from the East Coast to the warmth of California.
In a full-circle moment, Coachella received grant funding for a feasibility study to create a multimodal transit-supportive rail station district in partnership with Riverside County Transportation Commission. The $2 million Regional Early Action Planning (REAP 2.0) grant by the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) is part of an initiative to fund projects expand access, increase mobility options, bring jobs and housing closer together, and achieve a more sustainable growth pattern.
The new ALDI grocery store has recently opened. Coachella continues to be one of the fastest-growing cities in California.
With a population that doubled between 2000 and 2010 to its current 43,000, Coachella continues to be one of the fastest-growing cities in California. The city’s population is 98 percent Hispanic with a median age of 37.
Providing affordable housing for working people is essential to Coachella’s young demographic population. “Our youthful energy is what’s driving employers and developers to take advantage of our available land and ready workforce,” says Mayor Steven Hernandez. Riverside County Supervisor V. Manuel Perez adds, “Affordable housing throughout the Coachella Valley region is an important asset for our families and communities. Everyone deserves somewhere to call a home they are proud of.”
Annual Growth Rate
Median Household Income
Per Capita income
High School Diploma
Bachelor’s Degree or higher
Civilian labor Force
(% of population)
Data Census Gov. / U.S. Census Bureau
Coachella’s town center is the focus of redevelopment planning that resulted in the Pueblo Viejo Master Plan, which includes a vision for future redevelopment of the civic, commercial, residential, and mixed-use components of the historic heart of the city. The newest addition to the city is Tripoli, a 2.8-acre, $63 million, 108-unit apartment community in the downtown area near city hall and the public library.
Tripoli is the fourth affordable housing community to be developed in Coachella through grant funding and a partnership with Chelsea Investment Corporation. “Our partnership with the City of Coachella and Pacific Southwest Community Development Corporation represents the cornerstone of who we are as a company,” says Charles Schmid, Chief Executive Officer of Chelsea.” Tripoli is scheduled for completion in December 2024.
With highly active residents, recreation is also integral to Coachella’s lifestyle. Bagdouma Park has long been a hub for sports, concerts, and outdoor activities. Renovations to the basketball, tennis, and pickleball courts have enhanced residents’ experience and encourage health and wellness. New surfacing and striping in Coachella Valley High School’s colors of green and yellow add community pride to the project. “Pickleball has become a phenomenon, so to be able to partake in that sport in our own city is a huge deal,” says Councilwoman Denise Delgado.
As the city grows, so does its responsibility to public safety and workforce diversity. The rehabilitation and expansion of Fire Station No. 79 ticks the boxes on both measures. The upgraded, 72-hour emergency power generation meets regulations for the station to serve as an emergency operations center. Expanded living, office, and housing spaces allow for the potential expansion of staffing and services.
Renovations to the basketball, tennis, and pickleball courts have enhanced residents’ experience and encourage health and wellness.
The 44-year-old building’s $7.3 million renovation not only updates the structural and operations systems, making them more energy efficient, it integrates separate facilities for female firefighters. “It’s important for us to adapt to our diverse workforce, especially our local heroes who do so much for us here in Coachella,” says Mayor Pro Tem Neftali Galarza.
The City has also implemented a financial assistance program for qualifying low-income immigrant families who were excluded from federal assistance stemming from COVID-19, including the expanded Child Tax Credit. The Immigrant Families Recovery Program is managed by Northern California-based Mission Asset Fund (MAF), with funding appropriated through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds.
A rendering of Tripoli the fourth affordable housing community scheduled for completion in December 2024.
PHOTO COURTESY CITY OF COACHELLA
“We want to help our families who were excluded from federal assistance when jobs and financial stability were compromised during the height of the pandemic,” Hernandez says. “Our goal through this program is to give those families a financial underpinning and empowerment so they too can begin rebuilding productive lives.”
Galarza adds, “Countless residents are still recovering from loss of wages and an increased cost of living, and we are here to ensure we lead and serve with equity first and foremost. Our families are the backbone of Coachella, and I’m proud to join Mayor Hernandez to ensure they receive economic relief, too.”
Coachella’s combination of available land, exceptional access to interstate transportation, financial incentives, and a young, flexible labor pool, make it an ideal place to invest in the future. For more information, visit the City of Coachella website: coachella.org.