Naming of city dog park draws public ire

The naming of the city’s dog park in honor of its recently-retired city manager is receiving pushback from residents who have a different plan in mind and, at the least, wanted the decision discussed during a public hearing.

At issue was a proposal by Mayor Christy Holstege in March to name the dog park in honor of David Ready, who retired as city manager earlier this month, as a way to pay tribute to his 20 years of service to the city.  Ready is credited with creating the path to raise funds for construction of the dog park. In addition, he was also a driving force in finding funds for — and spearheading the construction of — the city’s animal shelter.

The Palm Springs City Council approved the naming, in the form of a plaque costing $1,000, Thursday evening as part of its consent calendar during a regular bi-monthly meeting.

Elected officials are proposing to name the city dog park after David Ready, the recently-retired city manager. Some members of the public, however, would like to see it named after a police dog who perished in 2011.

While members of the public acknowledged Ready’s contributions, they hoped the city would slow down, solicit input from residents who use the park, and consider naming it after a police canine, Ike, killed in the line of duty in 2011.

“Naming any public space or public park is a big deal,” Palm Springs resident Travis Armstrong said during public testimony Thursday evening. “This needs a proper public hearing. Officer Ike is much more worthy of this. But I don’t have any allusions or delusion that somebody speaking to you for a minute or two is going to change anything.”

Others who took to social media this week expressed similar concerns.

“Changing the name of a public park, without going through thoughtful inclusive public review, sets a very bad precedence,” wrote one city resident in a Facebook post.

Added another: “I’d rather see City Council work on improving the dog park rather than naming it. I’m there regularly and it needs to be better maintained. I often am there two days a week when it’s closed part of the day for maintenance and nothing has been done.”

The dog park consists of 1.6 acres of fenced-in rolling grass with fire hydrants, dual purpose canine/human drinking fountains, picnic tables and benches made from recycled materials, solar lighting and shade structures. Dogs are able to run and play leash-free. It is located behind City Hall at 3200 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way.

Among other items discussed Thursday evening, the Council:

  • Heard from developers of the currently defunct Andaz Hotel project at the intersection of Palm Canyon Drive and Amado Road, who promised the project is moving ahead and will hopefully get back under construction in October and be completed in December 2022. It is not yet known what the name of the hotel would be, but it will not be Andaz. The hotel is one of several stalled projects the city is taking legal action on. “As you are aware, the patience of this city has been severely tested,” Mayor Pro Tem Lisa Middleton told the developers after the presentation.
  • Unanimously approved temporarily relocating Well In The Desert, a facility providing services for those experiencing homelessness located on South Calle Encelia, to the site of the former Palm Springs Boxing Club,  225 South El Cielo. The move would be for up to two years while the city works to locate and construct a larger, permanent facility, possibly on city-owned property on East Ramon Road. The action comes after mounting frustrations from residents and police after multiple reports of illegal activities in the neighborhood the facility currently resides. The move would be the fifth for the facility since its inception 24 years ago, and comes with a call from Police Chief Bryan Reyes for directors of the facility to provide ongoing reports to the city about outcomes from its services. Final review of the move to South El Cielo will take place before June 30.
  • Approved taking the next steps for a traffic roundabout at a five-way intersection in South Palm Springs. More on that proposal was covered here. Experts on hand said installation of roundabouts, while often initially confusing to navigate, lead to up to 93 percent fewer severe injuries from accidents at problem intersections.
  • Heard from Finance and Treasury Department staff, who reported on better-than-expected projected tax revenue for the fiscal year ending June 30. A deeper dive on those projections was reported by The Post here. Staff recommended, and council members approved, bringing back city employees laid off at the start of the pandemic. Council members also got a preview of next year’s budget which could see the return of funds to many programs left unfunded during the pandemic.

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BRIEFLY

Officers Max Reynoso and Javier Carrillo were seen Wednesday near the intersection of Vista Chino and Sunrise Way pushing a stranded scooter rider back to his home.

SCOOTER RESCUE: Two officers with the Palm Springs Police Department are being lauded after an image of them aiding a man stranded after his mobility scooter broke down was posted on Facebook Wednesday. After the image of officers Max Reynoso and Javier Carrillo made its way around social media, Capt. Mike Kovaleff followed up with a report: “At about 5:32 PM, we were dispatched to the southeast corner of Vista Chino and Sunrise Way to assist a male on a inoperable scooter. The male was on oxygen assist but did not need medical aid. Here are one of the Officer’s notes in the call: The scooter was not functional and he was unable to pay for a cab. The scooter was heavy, bulky, and would not fit into our units. The scooter and male weighed approximately 300 plus pounds. We pushed the male .65 miles to his residence. He was grateful for us pushing him all the way home and provided us a water bottle.”

EVENTS

TODAY

  • ‘Pallet’ presentation: Advocates from a pair of non-profit organizations plan to show the community possible temporary homeless shelters at an event from 4:30 PM-7 PM at Hot Purple Energy, 810 N. Farrell Dr. in Palm Springs.  Well in the Desert, which operates a cooling center and provides meals and clothing to those experiencing homelessness in Palm Springs, and Martha’s Village & Kitchen, an Indio-based organization providing similar services, will showcase shelters made by Pallet at the event.

SATURDAY

  • Senior Inspiration Awards: The 2021 Senior Inspiration Awards will be held at 3 PM, virtually, and shown on NBC Palm Springs. The annual event, hosted this year by Riverside County Supervisor Manuel Perez, honors citizens 65 years of age and older in nine Coachella Valley cities who inspire others through their volunteerism and active engagement in the community. Last year’s event had been postponed due to the pandemic.
  • Shelter Film Fest: An outdoor, socially distanced drive-in film festival benefiting the Palm Springs Animal Shelter will be held from 6:30–10 PM on the tarmac of the Palm Springs Air Museum, 754 N. Gene Autry Trail. The event is one of the largest fundraisers for the no-kill shelter. To purchase tickets, visit this site. The theme for this year’s event is “Love at the Drive-In.” A catered vegan meal will be available and every ticket holder will receive a commemorative bucket with popcorn, candy, and limited edition shelter items.

SUNDAY

  • Library annual meeting: Friends of the Palm Springs Library members hold their annual meeting from 2-3:30 PM via Zoom. Registration is required. This year’s event features Wade Rouse, an author who writes under the pen name Viola Shipman. Rouse’s latest novel, “The Clover Girls,” comes out next month. During the meeting, participants will get a sneak peek of the book and hear about how Palm Springs fits into another Rouse novel coming out this fall.

ALL WEEKEND

  • Flea Market: A flea market and food fest is held both Saturday and Sunday at 675 Crossley Rd., from 8 AM-3 or 4 PM Saturday and 11 AM-4 PM Sunday. Information can be found here.
  • Outdoor art: Desert X art installations are on display throughout the Coachella Valley, including several within the Palm Springs city limits. The free event runs through May 16. A map of the installations can be found here. Some require reservations to view.

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