New Downtown Park has first glitch

Less than a month after the unveiling of the city’s new Downtown Park, a major feature has experienced a malfunction. Visitors to the park last week found water turned off on the waterfall feature.

A city spokesperson said Friday the water feature, made to mimic the Tahquitz Canyon waterfall, experienced a mechanical difficulty recently. It is hoped that the issue will be resolved before the end of the month. On Monday morning, the waterfall feature appeared to be working again, but not the splash feature.

Palm Springs officially cut the ribbon on the park October 21, inviting the community to enjoy the 1.5-acre facility two years after breaking ground near Belardo Road and Museum Way.

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The park was built at the cost of $7.6 million and was paid for in part with Measure J funds. Those funds come from a 1 percent sales tax approved by city voters in 2011. Aside from the water feature, it includes palm trees, benches, a downtown substation for the Palm Springs Police Department, restrooms, and an event stage with seating.

Its location near the Palm Springs Art Museum is one of several projects helping to revitalize downtown Palm Springs. It’s also notable that the park was built on the site of what was The Desert Inn. The inn began as a sanitorium in the early 1900s and later expanded to become a world-famous getaway for Hollywood celebrities.

A plaque noting that the park sits on the spot of the inn was installed prior to the park’s grand opening. It was paid for by the Palm Springs Preservation Foundation, which hopes the city will name the park after the inn’s owner, Nellie Coffman. Coffman is considered the “mother” of Palm Springs and a driving force behind the original tourism industry in the city and its initial growth.

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