$380,000 earmarked for city parks in Fiscal Year 2023-2024

CATHEDRAL CITY — The recent pandemic and the needs that arose out of the lockdown and stay-at-home periods caused the City Council and staff to “press forward quicker and more boldly” to rehabilitate and improve city parks that residents use, then-Mayor Raymond Gregory told Uken Report at the time.

Today, two years later, the City Council is keeping its foot on the accelerator.

In its now-adopted biennial budget, the City Council allocated $380,000 for city parks in fiscal year 2023-2024, and another $590,000 thousand in fiscal year 2024-2025.

City parks are a wise investment.

City parks play a vital role in the social, economic, and physical well-being of America’s cities and their residents, according to City Parks Alliance. Nearly 80% of the American population lives in urban areas. As cities continue to grow, planners, elected officials, and community advocates are taking a fresh look at parks and their potential to help address critical urban infrastructure and public health issues.

City parks provide access to recreational opportunities, increase property values, spur local economies, improve safety, and mitigate stormwater runoff and other environmental threats. Parks are now recognized as powerful tools for urban communities and local economies to help drive more vibrant and equitable cities.

  • City parks encourage active lifestyles and reduce health costs.
    Physical activity can reduce or prevent many physical and mental health problems. Parks also reduce the costs of healthcare: maintaining a healthy weight saves $1,500 per person in healthcare costs per year.
  • City parks strengthen local economies and create job opportunities.
    Parks attract residents and businesses, increase revenue for cities, spur private investment, and increase job opportunities.
  • City parks increase community engagement and reduce crime.
    Planning and programming that engages residents in the design and of their local parks fosters a sense of community and helps ensure that the parks reflect the needs of the community.
City Parks Prioritized in Cathedral City

Councilmember Ernesto Gutierrez

“I’m very satisfied with the passage of our budget,” Councilmember Ernesto Gutierrez told Uken Report. “All of council’s priorities are in place as we work towards a 5-year strategic plan. I’m happy that we are finally spending more money on what is most important — Our Residents. We are spending more money in our parks, setting money for a future dog park, plus we are spending the most money that our city ever did in our streets.  I couldn’t be happier with the future of our city.”

The biennial budget addresses the priorities of the community while generating revenues that meet city expenditures. It also focuses on the City’s newly published Five-Year Strategic Plan, which was approved April 13, Communications Manager Ryan Hunt said.

Staff developed the city’s biennial budget after six months of preparation, reviews, and discussions, with a primary focus to accomplish City Council strategic plans and corresponding goals established at the City’s Strategic/Goal Planning Session in January 2023, according to Hunt. Departments reviewed past accomplishments and developed objectives focusing on achieving these overarching Council strategies and goals:

  • Serving the Community with Pride and Dedication
  • Community Investment
  • Fiscal Stability and Sustainability
  • Innovation
  • Safety
  • Embracing, Inclusive City
City Parks Prioritized in Cathedral City

Charles McClendon

“I want to thank the City Council, City staff, and Kevin Biersack, our Financial Services Director, for helping us adopt a budget investing in high-quality city services, enhances our ongoing public safety commitment, and provides additional resources to fund homelessness, code enforcement, and street and infrastructure improvements,” City Manager Charlie McClendon said in a statement. “We feel these investments, along with our 5-Year Strategic Plan, will help us continue to attract new businesses and residents, and strengthen Cathedral City’s financial position for years to come.”

Significant General Fund Items include money for streets and fleet replacement.

$365,000 (FY 2023-2024) and $390,000 (FY 2024-2025) in community organizations, including
the Boys & Girls Club of Cathedral City; the Cathedral City Senior Center; and the Coachella
Valley Association of Government’s (CVAG) Housing First Program and the Coachella Valley
Rescue Mission, of which both focus on homeless outreach.

The Five-Year Capital Improvement Project (CIP) Plan is another integral part of the city’s long-range financial planning. Significant nonrecurring capital expenditures shown in the CIP Plan for the next two-year budget period include:

  • Dream Homes Park ($2,588,533 in FY 2023-2024 and $5,177,106 in FY 2024-2025) which sits on 7.75 acres and includes various leisure activities and walking paths.
  • Date Palm Drive Pavement Rehabilition Project ($5,000,000) – This project will rehabilitate Date Palm Drive from Ramon Road to Gerald Ford Drive and includes the reconstruction of the Date Palm Drive/30th intersection.
    • Highway Safety Improvement Program 10 – Ramon and Avenida La Paloma will provide pedestrian safety improvements.
  • The widening and undergrounding of utilities on East Palm Canyon ($80,000 in FY 2023-2024 and $1,500,000 in FY 2024-2025).

With any budget, whether at work or home, there is always more need than available resources, Hunt said. This financial plan adopted by the City Council keeps Cathedral City moving forward in a prudent manner while addressing the priorities most raised by our residents, businesses, and seasonal visitors.

For more information about the biennial budget, please visit http://www.cathedralcity.gov/services/finance.

Image Sources

  • Ernesto Guitierrez 2022: Ernesto Gutierrez
  • Charles McClendon: City of Cathedral City
  • Girl-on-Playground-Equipment: City of Cathedral City