It’s not much to look at right now, but signs of life for a new city park emerged recently with the planting of palm trees on 1.5 acres across from the Palm Springs Art Museum.
City officials said last week the new Downtown Park (an artist’s rendering can be seen here), at the intersection of North Museum Drive and Belardo Road, is on track for a grand opening in the fall. Ground was first broken at the site in October 2019, with opening anticipated one year later. The pandemic caused slowdowns, but not a cancellation of the highly-anticipated project.
When completed, the $7.6 million park, financed in part through Measure J funds, will feature two grassy lawns, palm groves, a water feature intended to replicate the Tahquitz Canyon waterfall, public restrooms, and a new downtown police substation. The park’s design was approved following extensive public input, including workshops and public meetings. While it has no official name yet, advocates in the past have proposed naming the park in honor of Palm Springs pioneer Nellie Coffman, owner of the Desert Inn and one of the city’s leading philanthropists.
One item that won’t be in the park when it opens is a 26-foot-tall statue of actress Marilyn Monroe. The statue was included in initial designs, but city officials approved locating it in the center of nearby Museum Way instead last fall. That decision resulted in protests and a lawsuit — neither of which have resulted in a change of plans, but did result in a delay in the arrival of the statue for an indefinite length of time. A revealing was originally planned for late April, but is now expected closer to the opening of the new park. A judge this week denied the latest request from an activist group to halt installation of the statue.
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CITY BUILDINGS OPEN: City offices in Palm Springs were back open for in-person business Tuesday after being closed throughout the pandemic. Employees at all city departments, as well as the police and fire department lobbies, greeted the public with open doors at 8 AM. City Hall is now open from 8 AM-6 PM Monday through Thursday; the Police Department is open 8 AM-5 PM Monday through Thursday; and the Fire Department is open from 8 AM-6 PM, also Monday through Thursday. Both city staff and the public are required to wear facemasks while conducting business inside the buildings until at least June 15, when state restrictions are eased.
RUN REGISTRATION: The return of pre-pandemic life means the return of local road races, including three popular events put on by the Palm Springs Marathon Runners. The group announced Tuesday that registration is open for the Run For Ike 5K, the Wild Turkey Trot 5K, and the Santa Paws 5K, held Nov. 13, Nov. 25, and Dec. 18, respectively, in the city. More information about registration, including fees and start times, is available here.
CODE COMPLIANCE: The city’s Code Compliance Department issued 12 citations for the week ending May 30, according to the latest report. Of those, seven were for code violations and five were vacation rental violations (typically for excessive noise). The city received a total of 144 reports via various hotlines and the city app. Officers performed 112 proactive inspections. Those numbers reflect four more citations, 24 additional reports, and 16 additional proactive inspections than the week prior.
- TAI CHI: The Mizell Center offers in-person tai chi today at 8:30 AM. While registration for today’s event is currently closed, a Zoom class is planned throughout summer, starting soon. More information about the class is available here.
- ZUMBA: All fitness levels are welcome to participate in Zumba Gold at the Mizell Center today and every Wednesday at 10 AM. Registration and fee information is available here. Zumba is an aerobics interval class using Latin-based rhythms and other dance-inspired tempos to create a fun upbeat workout.
- LIBRARY BOARD: The Palm Springs Public Library Board of Trustees meets tonight at 5:30 PM via Zoom. An agenda and information on how to view and participate in the meeting can be found here. Among the items being discussed is the establishment of an endowment fund for the library, with a goal of building a $10 million fund balance over time.
- BOOK CLUB: The OutBook Book Club meets tonight at 7 PM via Zoom. This month club members are discussing On Swift Horses, by Shannon Pufahl. Reading selections for the club highlight a mix of new LGBTQ releases and influential classics. For more information about joining or participating in the monthly meeting, email book club coordinator Hubertus Zegers in advance of the meeting at [email protected]
- VACCINES: Anyone 12 and older now qualifies for a COVID-19 vaccine in Riverside County. If you qualify, you can get one at the Palm Springs Convention Center, 277 North Avenida Caballeros, from 8:30 AM until 4:30 PM Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and from 8:30 AM until 7 PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Appointments are not required, and those age 12-17 need to be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. You can also find a list of community providers such as pharmacies here.
- LISTENING SESSIONS: Residents are invited to participate in a series of four neighborhood community listening sessions this month conducted in English and Spanish, with the goal of obtaining input related to the future of Palm Springs. To find out when, where, and how to participate, turn here.
Want to know about city and other municipal events? Road construction in your neighborhood? Building activity? Have something to report? The following links should help: