Ceremony marks opening of city’s newest park

Ceremony marks opening of city’s newest park

The city’s newest park, which officially opened Thursday evening, was paid for with money from Measure J, a 1 percent tax approved by voters in 2011.

Palm Springs officially cut the ribbon on its newest park Thursday evening, inviting the community to enjoy the 1.5-acre facility two years after breaking ground near Belardo Road and Museum Way.

“This park represents our Palm Springs community and our desert lifestyle perfectly,” said Mayor Christy Holstege during remarks she made before the ribbon-cutting. “That’s because it’s been designed just for us and just for our community.”

While children splashed in the park’s water feature, other visitors enjoyed a mini-Taste of Palm Springs, watched a Halloween dog costume contest, and listened to an ABBA tribute band during the celebration. Opening remarks were also made by Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce CEO Nona Watson and park designer Mark Rios of Los Angeles.

Elected officials and city staff broke ground on the new Downtown Park in October 2019.

Officials from Fast Track Construction, which built the park, and the Measure J and Parks and Recreation commissions chairs were also on hand, as were members of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Tribal Council. The park sits on land stewarded by the tribe since time immemorial, as does all of Palm Springs.

The new park was built at the cost of $7.6 million and was paid for in part with Measure J funds. Those funds come from a 1 percent sales tax approved by city voters in 2011. It features palm trees, benches, a water feature designed to mimic the Tahquitz Canyon waterfall, a downtown substation for the Palm Springs Police Department, restrooms, and an event stage with seating.

A plaque noting that the new city park was built on the site of The Desert Inn was installed earlier this week.

Its location near the Palm Springs Art Museum is one of several projects helping to revitalize downtown Palm Springs. It’s also notable that the park was built on the site of what was The Desert Inn. The inn began as a sanitorium in the early 1900s and later expanded to become a world-famous getaway for Hollywood celebrities.

A plaque noting that the park sits on the spot of the inn was installed earlier this week. It was paid for by the Palm Springs Preservation Foundation, which hopes the city will name the park after the inn’s owner, Nellie Coffman. Coffman is considered the “mother” of Palm Springs and a driving force behind the original tourism industry in the city and its initial growth.

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