Major housing project developers promise not to turn back on existing community
Developers of a major housing project in north Palm Springs promised its potential neighbors that the homes would not be fenced off or face away from their neighborhood this week. They stopped short of being able to promise a price point many in the community need in order to afford a home in the city.
Representatives from Watermarke Homes, the company that built 500 homes in the adjoining Mountain Gate community, said they are planning a yet-to-be-named development of more than 850 units that would surround the Desert Highland Gateway Estates neighborhood and its community center. Land being used for the project had previously been eyed for a possible college in the city’s General Plan.
The preliminary plans, discussed during a meeting with the community Tuesday evening, include 364 condominiums and 488 single-family homes. Prices would range from the $300,000s to the $500,000s.
John Pavelak, Watermarke’s president, told residents the company is hoping to include them early and often in discussions about the project to listen to what they want when building the new neighborhood. He also promised to contribute to improvements in the existing neighborhood and at the James O. Jesse Desert Highland Unity Center.
“What can we do to help?” he asked Tuesday following a discussion with the city’s new police chief about safety in the neighborhood. “If it takes cameras, if it takes an outreach building, we can do that. We can make a difference.”
Contributing to greater safety and building splash pools or dog parks is fine, neighbors of the project told Pavelak. Being able to afford the homes he’s building would be better.
“We want homeownership,” said Deiter Crawford, vice president of the Desert Highland Gateway Estates Community Action Association. “Me, personally, I don’t care what you put in the park. What we want is for people in our community to be homeowners.”
With potential mortgages in the $1,500 to $2,500 range, many in the audience said they would be immediately priced out of the development.
“Most folks cannot afford that in this area,” said one audience member, pointing to the fact Watermarke purposely made some homes in the Mountain Gate project affordable when it was constructed in the early 2000s.
Pavelak could not promise a similar approach with his company’s new project. But he did address another frequent concern of Crawford and others — the fact many planned developments in the area are gated and face the opposite direction of homes in the existing neighborhood, creating the feeling of exclusion.
“This will not be a gated community,” Pavelak said. “The streets will connect to your streets, and the homes will face your community.”
“We are going to be part of your community,” added Dave Cooper, a Watermarke project manager. “We want you to tell us what you want us to do.”
The neighborhood is one of several development projects in the surrounding area, including one other planned by Watermarke at the intersection of North Indian Canyon and East San Rafael Drive. That is where the company hopes to complete the Palermo Townhomes project, which was only half-built more than a decade ago. Cooper said that project is progressing but that the company has yet to close on the sale of the land.
VETERANS DAY PARADE: Residents and visitors are invited to downtown Palm Springs today for the 24th Annual City of Palm Springs Veterans Day Parade. The parade kicks off at 3:30 PM on Palm Canyon Drive at Ramon Road and heads north, concluding at Alejo Road. This year’s theme is “Honoring All Who Served.” For the first time ever, the parade will be broadcast live on NBC Palm Springs. Immediately following the event, the Palm Springs High School Spirit of the Sands Band will perform a post-parade patriotic concert on the corner of Palm Canyon Drive and Amado Road. The concert concludes with a fireworks finale. For the 13th consecutive year, the Veterans Day National Committee of the Department of Veterans Affairs has designated Palm Springs as a Regional Site for the observance of Veterans Day. Palm Springs is one of approximately 60 sites nationwide to receive the designation.
POLICE BLOTTER: Interested in crime in Palm Springs? Each week The Post produces a Police Blotter, tracking reports of crime that occurred in the city the week prior. It is not a complete list and may not include activities that you witnessed or heard about. In most cases, no further details are available. VIEW THIS WEEK’S POLICE BLOTTER HERE.
HOLIDAY CLOSURES: All federal, state, county, and most city offices are closed today in observance of Veterans Day. In addition, schools are closed, as are banks. Mail will not be delivered. Trash service is on a regular schedule.
MIZELL EVENTS: The Mizell Center, 480 S. Sunrise Way, offers jewelry making, a movie of the week, an Alzheimer’s support group, and more today. The Mizell Center is located at 480 S. Sunrise Way. A complete list of everything offered can be found online here.
STORY TIME: The Palm Springs Public Library offers story time for preschoolers starting at 10:30 AM via YouTube. Librarian Nancy Valdivia reads stories, sings songs, and shows early learning concepts (Wednesdays in Spanish and Thursdays in English). You can find more information here and watch the YouTube videos here.
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 AM. You can find information about the event here.
NOT TEEN TALK: The Palm Springs Public Library’s teen librarian hosts an Instagram Live session each Thursday at 3:30 PM. To follow along, follow @psplteenzone on Instagram here.
FOOD AVAILABLE: FIND Food Bank distributes food in the city today at a community food bank, 610 S. Belardo Rd., between 5 PM and 7 PM, and at the James O. Jessie Desert Highland Unity Center, 480 West Tramview Rd., from 4 PM until 5:30 PM. A complete calendar of food distribution in the community this month is available here.
FREE MUSEUM ADMISSION: The Palm Springs Art Museum offers free admission from 5 PM to 7 PM. Tickets are required and can be obtained here.
NO VILLAGEFEST: The city’s weekly outdoor street fair that usually takes place at 6 PM on Palm Canyon Drive downtown will not be held this week.
ONGOING & UPCOMING
FRIDAY FUNDRAISER: Hanson House is holding a fundraiser immediately following the Palm Springs Walk of Stars latest dedication ceremony Friday. Dr. Frank Ercoli is being honored with a star at 3 PM at 120 North Palm Canyon Way. Following the dedication there will be a wine and appetizers reception at Hanson House, 380 E. Paseo el Mirador. The event is designed to raise funds for Hanson House, which is described as a home away from home for the loved ones of critically ill and injured hospitalized patients. The public is invited to either attend or donate tickets to the event, and can do so by visiting this website.
UPCOMING RUNS: Registration for both The 10th Annual Run for Ike 5K and the annual Wild Turkey Trot 5K is open now at runpalmsprings.com, as well as active.com and racewire.com. The Run for Ike 5K happens Saturday, November 13 at 8 AM and is held in memory of Palm Springs Police Department K9 officer Ike, who was killed in the line of duty in 2011. The event starts at the Police Department, 200 South Civic Drive. The annual Turkey Trot is Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 25, at 8 AM, and offers entrants a chance to get in some exercise before Thanksgiving dinner. That event starts at 100 North Palm Canyon Drive. Registrants for the events receive T-shirts, medals, and more. Both runs benefit local charities. Questions? Feel free to contact Molly Thorpe, the race director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 760-413-6508
WELLNESS SUMMIT: Brothers of the Desert is conducting its third annual wellness summit focusing on Black gay men and their allies in the Coachella Valley and beyond in-person (and virtually) on Saturday, November 13, at Margaritaville Resort in Palm Springs, 1600 North Indian Canyon Drive. The one-day event runs from 8:30 AM until 4:30 PM. Registration for the event is available here.
TALK OF THE TOWN: The next installment of the popular Talk of the Town series, presented by ONE-PS, is coming up on Tuesday, November 16. ONE-PS invites the community to join Julie Warren and David Gray, co-founders of The LGBTQ+ History & Archives of the Desert, as they speak about the rich and deep fabric of our shared LGBTQ+ history. Also joining during the discussion will be Palm Springs Pride President & CEO Ron De Harte, who will share news about the establishment of an LGBTQ+ Wall Of Honor and monument. More information is available at the Facebook event page here.
SPEAKER SERIES: The next event in the 3rd Wednesday Speakers Series is November 17 at 5:30 PM at Mizell Center, 480 S. Sunrise Way. A screening of L.A. A Queer History – Where It All Began, a film by Gregorio Davila, will precede a talk moderated talk with the filmmaker. The screening is a free event. More information is available here.
SINATRA CELEBRATION: Palm Springs Point of View, a YouTube channel that covers “Eats, Art and Culture” in Palm Springs and elsewhere in the Coachella Valley, is holding its next Martinis and Moxie event on November 19 at the Palm Springs Cultural Center, 2300 E. Baristo Rd., at 6 PM. Tickets for that event are available here.
DESERT JAM: The annual benefit for Palm Springs-based Well in the Desert — Desert Jam 2021: Jammin’ for the Well — is slated for Monday, December 6 at the Agua Caliente Resort Casino ballroom in Rancho Mirage at 6 PM. The Jackson-Garrett Band and a host of other musicians are slated to perform, with Jeanie Cunningham serving as master of ceremonies. All proceeds benefit The Well’s work to feed and provide for those experiencing homelessness in our community. More information, including how to purchase tickets for the event can be found here or by calling 760-285-7297.
POLICE AND FIRE EVENT: The Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce is taking reservations for its annual Police & Fire Appreciation Luncheon, held Tuesday, December 7, from 11:30 AM until 1 PM at the Palm Springs Convention Center. More information about tickets and sponsorship opportunities is available here.
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