City and county staff grilled over a timeline for the opening of a planned homeless services center here said Thursday that anticipated construction delays are not unique to the Palm Springs project and they are trying their best to open it as soon as possible.
Driving the news: Prior to approving disbursement of $3 million for anticipated cost increases for a navigation center in the northern part of the city, some members of the Palm Springs City Council were critical of the fact a more exact timeline for its opening couldn’t be offered.
- “We need a timeline that’s going to work,” said Councilmember Lisa Middleton. “There’s no higher priority in the city than getting this open. …I am very fearful that we are planning this thing to death.”
Zoom in: After Jay Virata, the city’s director of community and economic development, informed councilmembers there is no concrete date for opening the facility, Middleton remarked, “Jay, that’s not good enough.”
- Virata and others responsible for bringing the project to life explained that while they have started the planning and permitting process for the facility on 3.6 acres off McCarthy Road, they are at the mercy of multiple key stakeholders.
- Among the biggest delays will be getting power to small units of transitional housing planned for the site. “Adding 80 units of housing does require upgrades, and Edison’s equipment takes a long time to get,” explained the project’s architect. “We are working on creative ways to expedite that.”
At issue: Multiple projects throughout California aimed at addressing the homelessness crisis face looming deadlines to meet milestones established when state funding was granted.
- Virata said the state is actively working to extend those deadlines due to the fact most of the funded projects are facing delays due to supply chain issues.
Bottom line: “If there are things that can be done without delaying this project, and they can happen after it opens, we should do that,” Councilmember Jeffrey Bernstein said Thursday evening. “I don’t want to delay it to have it perfect.”