Coachella refocuses improvement efforts | Desert | PE.com | Southern California News | News for Inland Southern California Coachella refocuses improvement efforts Download story podcast 10:00 PM PDT on Friday, April 6, 2007 By SANDRA BALTAZAR MARTÍNEZ The Press-Enterprise COACHELLA - The city of Coachella is investing thousands of dollars in road improvements and has set aside money to upgrade and reconstruct several parks. According to Mayor Eduardo Garcia, the city has rearranged its priorities and is focusing on finishing roads and parks before it starts on the entertainment and commercial district planned off Dillon Road. Coachella has spent more than $1.2 million on projects such as installing speed bumps, filling potholes and refurbishing streets in the older part of town, he said. A one-mile stretch on Tyler Street is being rebuilt at a cost of more than $1 million and more than 75 project requests for such things as such as the speed bumps have been fulfilled, Garcia said. The turnaround -- all within the first 100 days of Garcia's administration -- comes from a strategic planning process, Garcia said. "We talked about what's important and what's a priority and set timelines. We are also holding people accountable," Garcia said. "We're all here for the same reason: working together with the same vision." In addition to street improvements, the council in February approved a plan to remake Bagdouma and Dateland parks. About $6 million has been set aside from the capital improvements budget. The 4-acre Dateland Park will have a new skate park and a water area, Garcia said. Construction will start in the fall. Park improvements have been a hot issue in the city. Last summer, about 300 adults and teenagers, led by Coachella Valley Inland Congregations United for Change, met with council members. They requested everything from new bathrooms to a skate park, a http://www.pe.com/localnews/desert/stories/PE_News_Local_D_droads07.c8a569.html (1 of 2)5/4/2007 10:37:19 AM Coachella refocuses improvement efforts | Desert | PE.com | Southern California News | News for Inland Southern California spray park or splash pad and playground equipment for all ages. Although the city seems to be moving forward, some of the changes are still coming too slowly, said Coachella resident Sal Velasquez, 68. Velasquez, who regularly attends City Council meetings, said issues remain. He said a streetlight in Coachelita, the city's old town, that has been out for at least five years, and the light bulb has yet to be replaced. He said he is also concerned the new entertainment district has been put on the back burner and worries whether the city has the manpower to keep up with local needs. "How long does it take to change a light bulb?" Velasquez asked. "There is not enough manpower in Coachella. They start one project, then go on to another and never finish projects." But Garcia said that will change because the city is in the process of hiring more public works employees and a planner. Reach Sandra Baltazar Martínez at 760- 837-4412 or at sbmartinez@PE.com http://www.pe.com/localnews/desert/stories/PE_News_Local_D_droads07.c8a569.html (2 of 2)5/4/2007 10:37:19 AM
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