Daily Briefing: Funding big and little projects, update on Legion Post 519, and more

It’s Thursday, 5/12.

☀️ Today’s weather: Sunny and 90 degrees.

Setting the mood: “As It Was” by Harry Styles

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??‍♀️ Situational awareness: City officials sent word last night that the Palm Springs Swim Center will be closed today “due to short staffing that has left the facility unable to operate efficiently and safely.” It is expected to re-open Friday at 7 a.m.

This is a 3.5-minute read. Let’s go …

Leading off: A big ol’ list of projects

Community requests for a new kitchen at the Mizell Center, a gazebo for Victoria Park, help for the Plaza Theatre, and a dozen new pickleball courts are all on the list of projects a city commission plans to recommend for funding through the regular Measure J budget as elected officials work to finalize future spending.

Driving the news: The Measure J Oversight Commission held a special meeting Wednesday evening to review a staff report listing projects it will recommend for funding. After those recommendations move forward, the City Council gets final approval.

  • The Council must adopt next year’s budget by June 30; the new fiscal year begins July 1. 

  • Not all the Commission’s recommendations need to be decided by then, Commission Chair Jeffrey Bernstein said.

Funds the Commission oversees — derived from the Measure J 1% sales tax approved by voters a decade ago — pay for a wide range of projects, including annual road maintenance. A small portion is also set aside for community-initiated projects. Applications open in the fall.

  • Nearly 60 public requests for funding under the smaller budget were received this year. Some of them will move forward, including many proposals for improvements at parks.
    • The Commission supports seeing eight of the community-initiated projects funded through the main Measure J budget, however.

By the numbers: Those eight projects are estimated to cost $4.4 million by the citizens who submitted them. The costs have not been vetted by city staff.

  • Not so fast: Just because the projects are recommended for funding doesn’t mean they will be completed any time soon. Construction of 12 new pickleball courts, for example, would only just begin with the funding.
    • “Bathrooms at Victoria and Ruth Hardy parks were first conceived in 2018. Those took several years to begin.” Commissioner Naomi Soto reminded her fellow Commission members and the public. “I understand that pickleball is exciting and growing in popularity, but in the scope of things, remember these projects take several years.”

The overall Measure J budget is robust— estimated to be more than $30 million.

  • Among significant city projects the Measure J Commission supports funding are a main library remodel, a fire tower training facility, work needed to start construction of a roundabout in South Palm Springs, and upgrades to the city’s convention center.

Deeper dive: See the complete list of projects.

In brief: Forward progress at Post 519

Palm Springs American Legion Post 519 off North Belardo Road is seen in this image from decades ago.

?️ The effort to help update and preserve Palm Springs American Legion Post 519 — featured in our story here in January — got a boost recently from the Palm Springs Preservation Foundation (PSPF).

Driving the news: PSPF has been interested in the fledgling effort to save the 1948 building since last year. Its members have toured the facility and brought in experts to offer advice. Recently, it provided grant money to kick off the project in earnest.

  • The money is funding a preservation plan. Architect Susan Secoy Jensen is its author.

Nonprofit formed: Driving the efforts is the Owen Coffman Memorial Building Restoration Foundation, a nonprofit made up of Legion members and others. 

  • Visit the “Save Post 519” website at https://savepspost519.org/ to catch up on some history. Public donations for the project will be begin to be accepted later this year

You’re probably eligible to join the American Legion.

? AM Roundup: Grab a cup & catch up

? Palm Springs police honored their fallen Wednesday evening as National Police Week began. (KESQ)

? This week’s Oasis Music Festival marks the beginning of the revitalization of the 90-year-old Plaza Theatre. (Palm Springs Life)

? For the second time in the last few weeks, local TikTok stars known as “The Old Gays” say their home has been targeted. (NBC Palm Springs)

? On tap

?️ Among the topics up for public comment when the Palm Springs City Council meets tonight is the police department’s use of military equipment.

Driving the news: AB481 was signed into law in 2021 and requires cities to adopt an official policy on the uses of each type of military equipment as well as appropriate training and methods by which citizens can make complaints about the use of military equipment.

  • The Council scheduled a public hearing on the city’s policy on April 21. The hearing was pushed off as that evening’s Council meeting dragged late into the evening. 
  • You can see a list of what equipment the police force has in a staff report here.

Details, details: The Council’s regular meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. Instructions on how to provide public comment and/or tune in to the meeting can be found here.

Dive deeper into the meeting agenda here.

?️ Also today:

  • The Oasis Music Festival is in full swing across several venues. Be sure to check out indie-folk duo The Milk Carton Kids at the Plaza Theatre tonight at 8:15 p.m.
  • The Palm Springs Library hosts “Let’s Get Crafty: Air-Dry Clay Sculpting” for adults today starting at 3 p.m. Who says crafting is only for kids?
  • Geoffrey Mark sings the Ella Fitzgerald songbook at Oscar’s this evening.
  • VillageFest is happening downtown, starting at 6 p.m. Also, there’s free admission at the Palm Springs Art Museum.

? Looking ahead:

  • Palm Canyon Theatre opens its production of Into The Woods this Friday through Sunday.
  • A community cleanup is planned for Saturday at 8 a.m. Bring your gloves!
  • An interfaith peace service is planned for May 17 at 6:30 p.m. at United Methodist Church of Palm Springs.
  • The next REAF-PS House Party, benefitting the Cathedral City Senior Center, is planned for May 21 at 5 p.m.

See our complete community calendar or list your event.

And finally …

Each week, Animals Samaritans and The Post partner to feature one or more of the many animal companions ready for a new home at the shelter. 

  • This week we invite you to meet Atticus (a male) and Tootsie (a female). They are part of a litter that was discovered in an apartment complex and brought into the no kill shelter recently.
  • “They are ready for adoption and they are all absolutely adorable,” Valerie Kattz said of the litter. 

Details, details: You can visit the shelter at 72307 Ramon Rd. in Thousand Palms. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. until 12 p.m. and then 1 p.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Kendall is afraid to get her car washed after all these days of wind.

Mark is wondering if you can actually call yourself a pet parent if you don’t have at least six nicknames for your dog or cat. His cat Kamala/Kami/Tinky/Tinks/Tinkers/Tinkerson agrees.

Miss a day?Read past newsletters here.

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