August 10, 2017

Community Update by City Manager
Charlie McClendon

The City Council met in a strategic planning retreat on January 28, 2017 and developed goals for the year, which were subsequently adopted through a resolution on February 22, 2017.  Staff and Councilmembers have been working since then to achieve the goals.  Each department uses the Council goals to develop their own work plans for the year and, as the City Manager, I evaluate the performance of staff at least partially on how they are doing on the goals.  

Goal setting is important to the success of an organization as having clear goals and objectives ensures that everyone is working toward the same outcomes.  We can only move forward when everyone is moving in the same direction.   

On August 9, 2017, a presentation was provided during the Council’s Study Session on progress-to-date for achieving the goals.  The following is the report provided to the City Council as part of their agenda packet.

Economic and Community Development

Modify the City service contract with the Chamber of Commerce to require increased Chamber outreach to all Cathedral City businesses, with a particular emphasis on Latino-owned businesses, and promotion of business workshops

• The membership of the Cathedral City Chamber of Commerce voted in December 2016 to merge with the Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce (“GCVCC”) effective July 1, 2017. A new service contract was approved by the City Council on June 14th with the GCVCC which includes a detailed Scope of Services regarding a variety of programs designed to increase outreach to all Cathedral City businesses with a particular emphasis on Latino-owned businesses and promotion of business workshops. The CGVCC will maintain data regarding outreach and educational activities and resulting increase in Chamber participation specific to Cathedral City and Latino-owned businesses.

Participate in franchisee events and explore ways to get franchise information to the community 

• No activity to date.

Complete a comprehensive update to the General Plan over the next two fiscal years.

•  The FY 17/18 budget allocates $150,000 to begin a 3-year process of preparing a comprehensive General Plan update ($150,000 per year for 3 years). RFP is currently under development.

• The Historic and Cultural assessment that is currently underway will be reviewed upon completion once it is accepted by the City Council it will be used to update the Archeological and Historic Elements of the General Plan.

• The Sustainability Element was reviewed by City Council in study session on July 26, 2017. It will be heard before the Planning Commission in August with final City Council action anticipated in September or October. Once approved the Element will become part of the update to the General Plan.

Continue to make downtown development a priority

• Staff has worked extensively since January fielding inquiries and working with potential property buyers, developers and their attorneys, brokers and consultants to move forward on several downtown development projects including: 

• Mixed-use entertainment and gaming facility on 12.5 acres of CURC-owned land located at the northwest corner of E. Palm Canyon & Date Palm. A public announcement of the pending land sale and development was made on April 11th and the 90-day due diligence period ends in late July.

• Downtown mixed-use project on 5 acres of CURC & Successor Housing Agency-owned land located at the southeast corner of E. Palm Canyon & W.Buddy Rogers. Purchase and Sale Agreements were executed on April 26th and the 90-day due diligence period ended in late July. Negotiations on a required Performance Agreement that will include preliminary site plans and performance timelines are underway.

• Marketing of 13.5 acres of CURC-owned land at the southwest corner of E. Palm Canyon & Date Palm. Listing agreement with commercial real estate broker has been authorized by CURC Board and preliminary marketing plans are being developed.

• Three directional information kiosks have been installed at key locations in downtown to both help orient visitors to the buildings and attractions downtown and to publicize City-sponsored events.

• The Planning Commission approved the Conditional Use Permit on May 17th for a new parking lot to be constructed immediately south of the Mary Pickford Movie Theatre on theatre-owned land. Construction is expected to be completed this Fall. Expansion of the CURC-owned parking lot immediately west of the Pickfair Promenade Complex is also expected to be completed this Fall.

• Staff has continued to work since January with the owners and property manager representatives of the Pickfair Promenade Complex to improve the appearance and business occupancies of this strategically located property at the northwest corner of E. Palm Canyon & Monty Hall Drive. Tenants signing new and renewed leases this year include Trilussa’s Ristorante, Edible Arrangements, Pollo Dokys and The Roost Lounge. Subway sandwich shop recently terminated its lease and vacated the property in June.

• Staff is working with David Evans and Associates on the design for the new downtown park and amphitheater (grant funded) to be located directly west of the downtown parking garage and adjacent to Cathedral Canyon Drive

• CV Rep continues to work on plans to relocated to Downtown Cathedral City potentially as early as late 2018. 

Modify the North City plans and corresponding zoning to update the uses allowed and to better reflect market realities

•  A specific plan amendment (SPA 07-001a and 12-001a) is currently underway that would add medical cannabis businesses as a conditional use in the North City and Extended North City Specific Plans. This action is currently under SB18 (90 day) review and is expected to go before the Planning Commission for consideration in October, 2017.

Continue discussions with College of the Desert regarding options available to the College in Cathedral City

•  Staff has continued working since early this year with COD representatives to identify and secure a site near the Auto Center for transfer of its existing Auto Tech Center from COD’s Palm Desert Campus to Cathedral City. Several possible locations are still under discussion.

Pursue a longer term arrangement with the Palm Springs International Film Festival

• The budget includes funding for the City to be a $50,000 sponsor and, as a result, many screens will be used at the Mary Pickford Theatre in 2018.

Nurture positive relationships with the auto dealers

• The auto dealers continue to be sponsors of our banner program.

• Economic Development staff regularly attends the monthly meetings of the Cathedral City Auto Center Dealers to advise attendees of upcoming City Council & Planning Commission agenda items, City events, and programs and/or issues potentially impacting Auto Center businesses. In addition, numerous meetings have been held with individual auto dealer representatives this year to discuss their long-term needs for expanded facilities.

• Staff has spent extensive time coordinating the expected sale of two CURC-owned parcels of land located near the intersection of E. Palm Canyon & Margot Murphy Way which, once consummated, will allow for an expansion of auto dealer facilities adjacent to the existing Cathedral City Auto Center. Close of escrow is anticipated within the next six months.

• Staff worked with the owners of Palm Springs Motors to prepare an amended Sales Tax Sharing Agreement that was approved by the City Council on June 14th. With the expansion and renovation of the existing Mazda dealership, it will remain the only Mazda dealership in the Coachella Valley.

• Installation of the citywide vehicular directional signs is complete. Arrows providing direction to the Auto Center are included on many of these signs

Work with the business community to promote local hiring

• As a follow-up to the Equitable Economic Development Workshop held on March 16th (see comments below under Community Engagement regarding Community Benefits Agreements), MPT Pettis, CM Aguilar, City Mgr. McClendon and ED Director Watts met with community stakeholders on June 1st to explore the issue of local hiring and future plans to work with the workshop facilitator to formulate a City Strategic Economic Development Plan that could include additional efforts toward local hiring.

Review the downtown zoning districts and the mountain side zoning moving east from the Cove

• No activity to date.

Explore tourism opportunities with our sister city of Tequila, Jalisco and talk to the Convention and Visitors Bureau to seek assistance in expanding air service

• No activity to date.

Increase involvement with the CVB to make sure Cathedral City is included in their ads

• We have received commitments from CVB to highlight the Hot Air Balloon Festival this fall in their ads and billboards in LA.

Identify and reach out to developers who specialize in reinventing outdated retail spaces

• Economic Development staff continues to make contact with developers that may be interested in acquiring and reinventing the City’s existing retail spaces. They are also in regular communication with existing owners and managers of these retail spaces to share information about retailers seeking to locate or expand within the City. One of these is Cathedral City Marketplace, which has been acquired by 3D Investments. The new owner is aggressively striving to fill the long-vacant retail spaces and has signed a lease agreement with Planet Fitness, which will be processing a CUP with plans to open in early 2018.

Pursue the establishment of a Business Improvement District for small hotel properties

• A study session discussion was held on the topic in the spring and it is now up to the owners to meet the petition requirement to start the process of establishing the district.

Develop a contract for design services related to potential Perez Road improvements

• No activity to date. This project is under consideration from grant applications.

Develop a plan to process in appropriate phases with the annexation of Thousand Palms

• The FY 17/18 budget allocates $50,000 for the analysis and documentation necessary to prepare for an annexation plan.

Support the Chamber and Rotary in the development of a new Bike Race event

• Awaiting plans from the Chamber and/or Rotary

Public Safety

To the extent financially possible implement the recommendations of the Police and Fire strategic plans

• Three firefighter/paramedics and one fire and life safety inspector were added to the fire department, as part of the F.D. strategic plan

• Three police officers completed their field training, and are now functioning as solo officers.

• Two recruit officers were hired and sent to the academy in May, and are scheduled to graduate in November 2017.

• Police continue to enhance relationships with Neighborhood Watch groups

• Police allocated two officers to fill vacancies on the Narcotic and Auto Theft Task Forces

• Full implementation of the Body Worn Cameras is complete

• The Alliance Computer Aided Dispatch software was upgraded

• Several policies were reviewed and upgraded, to include the Immigration Policy

• Increased traffic enforcement efforts via OTS grant and school zone enforcement 

Evaluate options to provide Public Safety services to other communities or to form other joint services partnerships

• Nothing significant to report for the first half of 2017.

Focus efforts on reducing property crime 

• Police focused on addressing the property crimes that commonly affect our community members’ quality of life. The following statistics from the first half of 2016 with 2017 show the following decreases in property crime:
   Burglaries - -29.05%
   Larceny - -27.89%
   Auto Theft - -25.11%

Community Engagement and Community Relations 

Fund the plan to have our three signature events presented by private promoters with the City as title sponsor and implement the plan to improve communications efforts

• The budget includes funding and contracts have been executed for Cindy and Steve Wilkinson to manage and operate the Hot Air Balloon Festival. Ron deHarte will manage and operate Cathedral City LGBT Days, and Chris Parman will continue to manage the Taste of Jalisco for one more year.

Make a major effort to replace and update television equipment by December of 2017 and expand programming on Channel 17 and other available outlets.

• Audio/Video Equipment and backbone upgraded. Working with Spectrum on the digital feed to channel 17.

Conduct the Community Benefits Agreements stakeholder’s workshop in conjunction with the identified contractor

• The workshop was held in March 2017.

Identify sites available, costs and constraints related to a possible Community Center

• No activity to date

Schedule a joint Council/Commission meeting with the Planning Commission, Arts Commission and Parks and Community Events Commission

• A joint meeting with Planning Commission was held on April 5, 2017. Meetings will be scheduled in the fall with the Arts Commission and the Parks/Community Events Commission.

Rename the streets adjacent to the schools, which have no residences addressed on them, to reflect the school mascot

• This item has been placed on the upcoming City Council agenda for August 9.  It was approved by Council on August 9 and will be installed at the schools this fall.


Evaluate ways to address infrastructure needs in ways that will promote business development

• Significant improvements to street infrastructure have been made. Projects completed include East Palm Canyon slurry, repaving of both Cathedral Canyon and Date Palm south of Perez, repaving of the entire length of Vista Chino, repaving of 3oth Avenue and McCallum. Work is underway on widening of the Date Palm bridge and design and ROW acquisition are underway on the Cathedral Canyon bridge. CV Link first phase is under construction and will open late fall 2017.

Participate in Riverside County efforts to improve communications access in the County

• Council passed a resolution of support for the RivCo Connect fiber optic plan.

Identify sites and develop plans for a new Public Works facility

• No activity to date

Complete the relocation of Fire Station 411

• Location determined, needs assessment and estimated budget completed. CURC will be moving forward with a program management phase I contract to include Architecture & Engineering, Schematic and Design Develop Drawings in early fall.

Evaluate options for electrical service in the community

• Council approved a JPA on July 26 to allow the City to participate in the regional CCA, which will result in increased electrical options for residents and businesses in Cathedral City.

Report to Council on the engineer’s study on a city-wide assessment district and other methods to address pavement management funding needs

• Engineering has completed a Pavement Management assessment and estimated the related costs. The assessment report still needs to be scheduled for a Council update.


Continue to explore the possibility of joining the Desert Recreation District

• Awaiting cost estimates from the District. Public Works will be assuming leadership of this project.

Work with the Health Care District on park grant opportunities

• Staff is working with neighborhood leaders and the Health Care District on a place based initiative for the Dream Homes community, that will lead to funding opportunities, potentially including park funding. A community meeting was held in July related to the project.

Develop a local procurement ordinance and complete other items required to implement the City Charter

• Staff has met to discuss ordinance requirements. This needs to move forward to Council in the fall.

• The development of electoral districts, not included in the goals developed in January, has proven to be an all-consuming project and has delayed action on some of the other goals.

Financial Strength

Complete the selection and installation of new financial software

•  RFP completed, interviewing vendors part one completed, part two with presentations and testing to be done week of July 24th with all departments, final vendor selection expected by second meeting in September 2017.

Develop a facilities and equipment restoration and replacement plan.

•  In process to be presented to Council September 2017.

 Develop and adopt a balanced budget for the FY17-18 and 18-19 biennium

•  Completed May 10, 2017.


City Council Selects Three Draft Maps to Consider for Electoral Districts

City Council Selects Three Draft Maps to Consider for Electoral Districts

At the August 9, 2017 City Council meeting, the Council heard more input from the public on how it would like the electoral district lines drawn. After in-depth deliberations amongst themselves and consideration of the public comments, the City Council selected 3 finalists from the 7 first-round Electoral District … Read more.

7 Steps to Start Your Business from Home or Office

7 Steps to Start Your Business from Home or Office

The USDA, Inland Empire Small Business Development Center, Telemundo, and Spotlight 29 are hosting a free seminar called “7 Steps to Start Your Business from Home or Office” hosted by Coach Manuel Martinez. The forum will be present in Spanish. Date: August 24, 4PM to 7PM Language: Spanish Presenter: Coach … Read more.

“Focus on the Fire Department” Video Series Begins

“Focus on the Fire Department” Video Series Begins

In an effort to inform you about the great City services offered by Cathedral City and allow you to get to know those who serve, the City has started a new video series today called, “Focus on the Fire Department.” Host Conrad Angel Corral interviews Fire Captain Jeff Welsh who discusses new … Read more.

Shottenkirk Automotive Group Acquires Desert Lexus and Plans to Build a New Sales and Service Center on East Palm Canyon Drive

Shottenkirk Automotive Group Acquires Desert Lexus and Plans to Build a New Sales and Service Center on East Palm Canyon Drive

Shottenkirk Automotive Group of West Burlington, Iowa recently acquired Desert Lexus of Cathedral City and renamed the dealership as Shottenkirk Desert Lexus (SDL). Today, SDL announced that it plans to build a new Lexus Sales and Service Center on … Read more.

Upcoming Events

Free Kids Summer Film Series

Free Kids Summer Film Series

The Cathedral City Parks and Community Events Commission in partnership with the Mary Pickford Theatre presents a Free Summer Kids Film Series happening on every Friday at 9:30 a.m. starting Friday, June 16, 2017 thru Friday, August 18, 2017.  Thanks to Councilmember John Aguilar who donated a generous portion of his City discretionary funds, the film series will allow free admission in order to see a different kids movie each Friday morning at the Mary Pickford Theatre in Downtown Cathedral City... Read more.

The Sioux Wars: An Historic Exhibit

The Sioux Wars: An Historic Exhibit

The Cathedral City Public Arts Commission (CCPAC) hosts a special photographic exhibit entitled, “The Sioux Wars: An Historic Exhibit,” starting Saturday, July 22, 2017 through early September.  The exhibit is open on Saturdays and Sundays only between 1:00 pm and 5:00 pm at the Cathedral City Cultural Arts Museum located adjacent to City Hall, 68-700 Avenida Lalo Guerrero, in Downtown... Read more.

2nd Saturdays Art Walk on Perez Road

2nd Saturdays Art Walk on Perez Road

Every 2nd Saturday, come to Cathedral City’s Art & Design District for “2nd Saturdays Art Walk on Perez Road” where you will discover special art exhibits, museum quality art as well as cultural art to brighten your soul, meet other like-minded people, and maybe get a little exercise going from art gallery to design gallery to art gallery.  It will be ARTtastic!......

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7 Steps to Start Your Business from Home or Office / 7 Pasos para Iniciar tu Negocio Desde Casa u Oficina

7 Steps to Start Your Business from Home or Office / 7 Pasos para Iniciar tu Negocio Desde Casa u Oficina

The USDA, Inland Empire Small Business Development Center, Telemundo, and Spotlight 29 are hosting a free seminar called “7 Steps to Start Your Business from Home or Office” hosted by Coach Manuel Martinez.  The forum will be present in Spanish.

Read more.

Two for Tuesday

Two for Tuesday

Cathedral City residents can ice skate for half-price on the first Tuesday of every month (excluding holidays) at Desert Ice Castle. Just bring proof of being a Cathedral City resident, such as an Driver’s license, copy of a utility bill, or any other form of residential proof.  Ages 3 years and up. Two Public Skates Available for "Two for Tuesday": …

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Tejano Music Fest

Tejano Music Fest

Come enjoy the Tejano Music Fest on Saturday, September 16th from 3 pm to 11 pm in Downtown Cathedral City.  The event includes musical acts, Tejano food, beverages for all, and Tejano art.  Read more.

Desert Glow Fest

Desert Glow Fest

Desert Glow Fest is the newly revamped event formely known as Health Glo,  at Health Glo 2015 & 2016 runners/walkers danced, jumped and sang along at our DJ spun Pre-Party while the paint flew.  After enjoying the non-stop party our participants ran or walked through our 5k black light lit glow course where they were doused with even more paint and glowed the night away…..Read more.

Halloween Spooktacular

Halloween Spooktacular

The Cathedral City Police Department, Cathedral City Fire Department, City of Cathedral City’s Special Events and many non-profit organizations bring to you the Halloween Spooktacular, Sunday, October 29, 2017 from 1-3 pm. The event will occur in downtown in front of City Hall, 68-700 Avenida Lalo Guerrero.  Halloween Spooktacular will include free admission as well as exhibits sponsored by non-profit organizations, the Cathedral City Police Department and Cathedral City Fire Department.

Families are encouraged...  Read more.

Healing Field

Healing Field

"Healing Field" is a tribute to the men and women of uniform who gave the ultimate sacrifice to our country since September 2001.  The event is organized by the Cathedral City Rotary and sponsored by the City of Cathedral City. Located in Patriot Park next to Big League Dreams Sports Park at the corner of Date Palm Drive and Dinah …

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Cathedral City Hot Air Balloon Festival

Cathedral City Hot Air Balloon Festival

Cathedral City Hot Air Balloon Festival 2017

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Snow Fest - Globe

Snow Fest

Bring the entire family for this brand new event that shall become a tradition for Cathedral City!  Snow Fest captures all the holiday spirit and places it at one event.  You will enjoy an outdoor market featuring holiday arts & crafts, food, treats, and beverages including hot chocolate.  At 5:30 pm, the night-time holiday lights parade begins at the corner of Date Palm Drive and Perez Road and winds its way back to City Hall where the festival portion is held. Read more.