DAILY BRIEFING: February 28, 2022

Good morning. It’s Monday, February 28. Expect abundant sunshine and a high near 83 degrees today. First, some news you need to know …

City to hold community meeting this week addressing homeless services center

The City of Palm Springs is holding a community meeting on Thursday to address residents’ concerns regarding a homeless services center in the north end of the city. Some neighbors living near the center’s proposed site worry it will bring increased crime and substance abuse issues to their part of town. 

A motivated group of these residents has not only voiced their concerns at Palm Springs City Council meetings, but they’ve also started a petition to stop its development. They maintain they have no issue with the center itself but its location.

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That sentiment is echoed by the Council’s lone no vote on the project’s location, Mayor Pro Tem Grace Garner, who represents the district where the center would be located. 

Other City Council members, city department heads, and the police continue to reassure residents that the facility will be unlike anything else in the city. The “navigation center” would offer transitional housing and wraparound services such as job training and medical care. 

Proponents say the center’s ultimate goal is to put homeless people on the path toward permanent housing and employment rather than just sheltering them for a few nights. 

Officials representing each of the facility’s stakeholders will be present at Thursday’s meeting to answer questions. They include city officials, Palm Springs Police Chief Andy Mills, Linda Barrack, the CEO of Martha’s Village and Kitchen, and Greg Rodriguez, government relations and public policy advisor from Supervisor Manuel Perez’s office.

At a previous Main Street Palm Springs meeting, Councilmember Geoff Kors highlighted the involvement of Martha’s Village and Kitchen in the project.

“We haven’t had the kind of impacts we had over on Encilia,” Kors said, referring to a daytime cooling center formerly located off Calle Encilia and run by Well in the Desert. “Martha’s runs the overnight shelter at Alejo, and we haven’t seen negative impacts there.”

The McCarthy Road property is 3.6 acres of industrial land and contains three buildings with 47,000-square-feet of usable space. It was sold to the city for $5.9 million.

When opened, the facility will have 80 units of transitional housing and job training, medical care, and other services. Construction should begin in January 2023. It is expected to welcome its first clients in early 2024.

More information: The community meeting on Thursday, March 3, will run from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the James O. Jessie Desert Highland Unity Center, 480 W. Tramview Road. 

? Briefly

Drill teams, bands, and more marched down Palm Canyon Drive Saturday in celebration of Black history in Palm Springs. (Photo by Brelinda)

CITY CELEBRATES BLACK HISTORY: “Black History is American history, it’s all our history.” That’s the simple message from the president of the Palm Springs Black History Committee, Jarvis Crawford, who emceed the city’s 35th Annual Black History Parade Downtown on Saturday. Last year’s parade was converted into a caravan, and that tradition carried on this year with a caravan through African American History in Palm Springs held on Feb. 21. But the parade was always the highlight of Black History Month in the city, and organizers didn’t disappoint during its return on Saturday. The energy and excitement was electric, not just in the crowd, but also in the almost 40 parade entrants. READ THE FULL STORY HERE.

MANDATES LIFTED: Residents and visitors in Palm Springs will no longer be required to wear masks indoors or show proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 tests in bars and restaurants starting today. The move aligns with pandemic safety requirements established by state policies and guidance, according to city spokesperson Amy Blaisdell. Masks will continue to be required indoors at City Hall and in all other city facilities. “I am pleased to report that our COVID-19 case rate in Palm Springs is now lower than the county and state average,” said City Manager Justin Clifton. “Due to this recent data, case numbers in Palm Springs are expected to decrease even more in the coming week — and we feel confident that local restrictions can now be lifted.” According to Clifton, Palm Springs is now averaging just nine new cases of COVID-19 per day.

SECOND HOMICIDE: Detectives are investigating the death of a driver who slammed into a power pole in Palm Springs after the man was discovered to have been shot last Friday. Authorities responded to the crash about 6:30 p.m. Feb. 25 at Rosa Parks Road and Granada Avenue, according to the Palm Springs Police Department. When officers arrived at the scene, they found a 45-year-old man dead inside the vehicle, which had hit a power pole. A power outage caused by the crash left 165 customers in Desert Highland Gateway Estates without electricity, according to Southern California Edison. North Granada Avenue and Rosa Parks Road were closed through 2 p.m. Saturday while Edison crews repaired the damaged power poles. This was the second homicide investigation in the neighborhood in the last week. Police were also looking into a suspicious death reported on Feb. 21 in the 600 block of Rosa Parks Road.

? Today’s events

Highlights from today in Palm Springs. Complete listings are on our community calendar.

? What to watch for

  • The Richard M. Milanovich Legacy Hike and 5K Run at Indian Canyons on March 11 is open for registration.
  • The Shamrock 5K will be held the morning of March 12, starting at the Palm Springs American Legion. Registration is open now.
  • Heart-to-Heart Palm Springs is selling tickets for its March 12 Military Women Appreciation Luncheon. Details are here

Miss a day? Read past newsletters here.

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