As an architect it’s in my nature to dream of what the future might bring and in that future I see a great opportunity in Cathedral City to create something uniquely vibrant in the Coachella Valley.
Where our downtown has been an unfortunate stretch of vacant lots along East Palm Canyon Drive, I see opportunity. City planners and highly paid architectural consulting firms have labored at great taxpayer expense to remake our downtown with little progress since the 90s. Even worse is that their vision of downtown in these past efforts was based on city planning models that are decades old without any vision of our emerging future.
Forget the past and let’s move into the future. Let’s create a downtown that our children and our grandchildren can live in, let’s create a downtown community for their future. A downtown for millennials isn’t just a place to drive to for occasional shopping or dining. A downtown for millennials is a place for social gathering, it’s a vibrant and engaging social experience. Millennials are after all the future of our fine desert community and it’s my hope our city may become their first choice for a place to call home.
So where do we start? First of all Millennials aren’t locked into conventional vehicle use like that of generations past, nor do they seek to be tied down with a large home and equally large mortgage. Millennials spend more of their personal time engaged in socially active environments with shared outdoor amenities and attractions that combine home, shopping and social activity in vibrant outdoor settings mixing nature and technology. This new downtown and neighborhood concept doesn’t require new tax dollars, it requires new thinking and the willingness to re-examine existing city ordinances related to mixed zoning and density, parking and open space, and both public and shared transportation. We have the talent and imagination already within our community, we just need to tap into it.
I believe this journey of re-imagining is one we should embark on together. Let’s make our new downtown the place developers and entrepreneurs with investor dollars will want to build.
I’m not running for City Council to push a personal agenda, but to open the door for our children and our grandchildren who will take our fine city into the future.