DAILY BRIEFING: January 13, 2022

Good morning. It’s Thursday, January 13. Expect overcast skies today, a high of 74 degrees, and hopefully fewer earthquakes. First, some news you need to know …

Retail project in north end could add to area’s recent development boom

A retail project being explored in the city’s north end will not have space for a grocery store, neighbors were told this week, but may contain a bank and healthcare facilities. The community has been pushing for all of those additions for decades.

The project is being proposed by the Singh family, which has owned and operated an ARCO gas station in the 3600 block of North Indian Canyon Drive for the past 15 years. It would be located across the road from the gas station on a parcel bordered by Rosa Parks Road and West Corozon Avenue.

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Representatives of companies working with the family on the project told members of the Desert Highland Gateway Estates Community Action Association Tuesday the Singhs hope to build a car wash on the property, along with buildings that would contain a restaurant or coffee shop, a bank, and other retail businesses, possibly including an urgent care facility.

“This is designed to be a neighborhood center,” said Peter Buffa, one of the family’s representatives. “We may not be able to meet all your desires for uses, but we can meet some of them.”

Residents of the area have been making their desires known for years without success. The isolated area of the city continues to be a “food desert,” lacking a grocery store and other amenities common in most other parts of Palm Springs.

A project that includes a bank and possible healthcare facility is welcome, some said Tuesday. A restaurant offering fast food, or any retail cannabis businesses, would not be welcomed.

“We’re trying to be a healthier community,” said Deiter Crawford, vice president of the Community Action Association. “We just want to see healthy food items. The restaurants, the fast food, they’re not really appealing.”

The project is currently in the design stages, its backers said, leaving plenty of time for discussion with the community about which businesses other than the car wash could occupy the space prior to formal permit applications.

“We want it to be something you’d be proud of,” said a representative of TR Design Group, the Riverside firm designing the project. “We consider your input valuable to this process.”

If an when ground is broken for the project it would join several others either underway or being discussed in that part of the city. A Tower Market is currently being built at the intersection of West San Rafael and North Indian Canyon drives. Across the street from that construction site, ground was broken in October on a 60-unit affordable housing project.

Further down West San Rafael, developers are planning a condominium project with two dozen units. Along Rosa Parks Road, a housing project that has sat abandoned for more than a decade has been renamed Alure and could be finished with 26 additional homes built.

The most significant project being floated in the area is a proposal from Watermarke Homes to build an 850-unit housing project on land surrounding the Desert Highland neighborhood that was given to College of the Desert (COD) by the city a decade ago with the express purpose of building a satellite campus.

The 119-acre site is currently caught in limbo, however, as the city, the college, and the developer wrestle with whether the land will be rezoned for housing, a necessity for completing the sale to Watermarke. COD abandoned plans for the college at the site, choosing instead to purchase 29 acres in the center of Palm Springs. Plans to build the campus on that land were stalled by the college’s new  administration earlier this year.


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Multiple earthquakes followed this one at 7:19 p.m. Wednesday evening.

QUAKES FELT HERE:  A series of earthquakes centered around La Quinta and Anza struck Wednesday evening, rattling homes as well as nerves in and around Palm Springs. Initial reports had the first quake, detected at 8.6 miles deep near Anza, measuring at 4.3 magnitude. It was later downgraded to 3.9 after being reviewed by seismologists. Subsequent jolts measured between 1.6 and 2.6 magnitude and were reported mostly in Anza, but also near La Quinta. Palm Springs residents and others from as far away as San Diego were quick to take to Twitter and Facebook to report feeling the earthquakes, describing them as “a small roll followed by a very sharp jolt,” “a big bang,” and offering that the initial jolt “felt like a herd of elephants walked in, slammed the door, ran through, and out.” No damage or injuries were reported.

NEW BOARD MEMBER: The Palm Springs Cultural Center has elected Kim Zakowski to its Board of Directors, it was announced this week. Zakowski has prior experience working with The San Diego Museum of Art, The Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center, and The Palm Springs Modern Committee. “We are so excited to have Kim join us,” said Palm Springs Cultural Center Board President Rick Seeley. “She brings pure passion for the arts, a solid background in design and modernism, and tested leadership and fund development. She will be an asset to the organization.” 

GALA HONOREES ANNOUNCED: AAP – Food Samaritans (AAP) has announced its honorees for the 27th annual Evening Under the Stars gala, which will take place on Saturday, April 30, beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the O’Donnell Golf Club in Palm Springs. Those being honored include Nelda Linsk, Geoff Kors, James Williamson, G. Aubrey Serfling, and Patricia L. Grundhofer. More information on the event, including how to purchase tickets, is available here. More information on the honorees is available here.


TODAY’S CALENDAR

MIZELL CENTER: The Mizell Center, 480 S. Sunrise Way, offers 19 classes and programs today, starting at 8 a.m.. You can find a complete list of all today’s activities online here.

SUNSHINE SISTERS: The Palm Springs Sunshine Sisters will meet for a fitness walk today at 8:30 a.m. in South Palm Springs. You can sign up to be part of the group — formed to help women make new connections and friendships — on Meetup here.

CRAFT PROJECT: Teens in grades 6 through 12 can schedule a time to pick up the materials for a DIY stickers project starting at 10 a.m. Kits are available while supplies last. To schedule an appointment, go to this site.

WOMEN’S CHAT: The LGBTQ Community Center of the Desert offers a chat group for all women — no matter how you identify — to discuss topics of interest and find connections every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. You can find information about the event here.

STORY TIME: Librarian Nancy Valdivia reads stories, sings songs and shows early learning concepts (Wednesdays in Spanish and Thursdays in English), starting at 10:30 a.m. You can watch the videos on YouTube here

BOOK CLUB: The Cover to Cover Book Club meets via Zoom at 10 a.m. This month the club is discussing The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah. For more information about the club, email Sean R. Corbin in advance of the meeting at [email protected].

FOOD AVAILABLE: FIND Food Bank distributes food in the city today at a community food bank, 610 S. Belardo Rd., between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., at the Palm Springs Convention Center, 277 North Avenida Caballeros, from 4:30 p.m. until 6 p.m., and at the James O. Jessie Desert Highland Unity Center,  480 West Tram View Rd., from 4 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. A complete calendar of food distribution in the community this month is available here.

ARTS SUBCOMMITTEE: The city’s Public Arts Commission Maintenance Committee meets virtually at 4 p.m. You can find more information about the meeting here.

REDISTRICTING: The Palm Springs Unified School District Board of Directors must draw new boundaries for each of the areas represented by its trustees, in accordance with rules around the 2020 Census. While the Board of Education will be taking action at a future meeting, input into the proposed boundaries is welcomed. The public is invited to learn more about the four proposed scenarios for new area boundaries at one of two virtual sessions set for today between 4:45 p.m. and 6 p.m. To participate in the sessions, follow this Zoom link or join by phone at 669-900-9128, using webinar ID 892 0573 8027.

FREE MUSEUM ADMISSION: The Palm Springs Art Museum offers free admission from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tickets are required and can be obtained here.

CITY COUNCIL: The Palm Springs City Council meets in regular session starting at 5:30 p.m., following a closed session at 3:30 p.m. A complete agenda and participation instructions can be found here. A preview of the meeting can be found in The Post here.

VILLAGEFEST: The city’s weekly outdoor street fair takes place at 6 p.m. on Palm Canyon Drive downtown. The event includes vendor booths on both sides of the street, which is closed to vehicular traffic.


COVID TESTING

Need to get tested for COVID-19 but can’t find an at-home test and don’t know where to turn? Aside from asking your regular healthcare provider (if you have one), The Post maintains a list of places in and around the city that you can check. Click the following link to see the list, and please note the information is accurate at the time this email was sent, but may change.

FIND TESTING LOCATIONS HERE


COMMUNITY CONNECTION

Curious about when various governmental agencies meet or if trash collection will be delayed? We’ve compiled the list below in an effort to help with the most common questions our neighbor have. Is something missing? Send us an email.
 

City of Palm Springs calendar of events | Official city contacts

Palm Springs Library calendar of events

Palm Springs Unified School District calendar | Board meetings

Desert Healthcare District Board of Directors meeting agendas

Mizell Center calendar of events

Desert Water Agency calendar

ONE-PS calendar of events

Police reports | Submit a police report

Code compliance reports | Report a code violation

Current road projects and closures

Street sweeping schedule

Palm Springs Disposal pickup schedule

Currently active development projects

FIND Food Bank mobile market schedule

Well in the Desert daily meals | Food distribution

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