Waymond Fermon seeks another four-year term on Indio City Council

INDIO — Waymond Fermon, who is midway through his first one-year rotation as mayor of the Coachella Valley’s largest city, has whet his appetite on local politics. He’s hungry for more. To that end, he announced this morning that he will seek a second four-year term on the Indio City Council to represent District 2.

Fermon first burst on the scene in 2018 as a political newcomer. What he did next surprised many in Indio and beyond. He unseated veteran City Councilmember Michael Wilson.

“I am running for a second term because my job on the council is not complete,” Fermon said in his announcement speech. “We have fashioned a solid foundation for our city. I believe it commenced with the adoption of the General Plan 2040, Climate Action Plan and Final Environmental Impact Report in 2019. Furthermore, this year Indio was the first city in the Coachella Valley to receive its certification for our Housing Element by the State Department of Housing and Community Development. These milestones are critical as we continue to create a city where people want to live, work, and play.”

Born and raised in Indio, Fermon was brought up in the public school system, before graduating from Indio High School in 1998. He attended the College of The Desert and matriculated from the College of the Desert’s first Public Safety Academy. Council member Fermon went on to the California Department of Corrections, Richard McGee Correctional Training Center, where he graduated as a Correctional Officer in October 2002. Fermon has since been employed at Calipatria State Prison (CAL) in Imperial County.

As the only current African American elected official in the Coachella Valley, he prides himself as being a role model for the youth and his community.

As a man who says he “wears Indio on his sleeve,” Fermon says there have been several high points during his term. If you tour Indio today, he said there is construction in progress all over town. Some of those projects are the new Public Safety Campus, Kia and Unicars Honda dealerships, affordable housing complexes, road and infrastructure projects, and the pedestrian friendly thoroughfare the CV Link.

“I am extremely excited about the development of the Indio Grand Market Place after 30-plus years of the once-Indio Fashion Mall and John Nobles Ranch being desolate,” Fermon said. “I was very active in discussions with the city’s community and the new developer (Haagen Company) on moving forward with the development. Haagen Company has informed the city they will commence construction on the existing property in August 2022. This is a major accomplishment for our city.”

In addition, residents have been patiently waiting for the downtown district to develop, Fermon said.

“Well, it’s happening —with restaurants, entertainment, education, apartments, and open green space, he said. “Every month we have our 2nd Saturday Downtown Indio Concert Series. We have an amphitheater in planning, Gambino’s Creperie, and Avenida Music in construction on Miles Ave. We have multiple apartment complexes in planning and multiple buildings in escrow for new developments.”

Furthermore, Fermon said, the College of the Desert expansion on Oasis is now in construction. The college campus will be expanding from 40,000 to 80,000 square feet, with approximately 5000 additional enrollments. The campus will also have a child development center just south of the existing property.

“This is extremely great news for our students in the Eastern Coachella Valley,” Fermon said.

In his District, Fermon said he has been active in pursuing grants to address challenges in some of the communities.

“We received an $8.5 million dollar California Parks grant to build the Indio Sports Park located at Avenue 44 and Jackson. In addition, we have also received the $5 million Clean California Grant which will address sidewalk, infrastructure, and landscaping deficiencies all along Jackson Street from Kenner Avenue to Avenue 45.”

During his term, Fermon said he wanted to be as accessible as possible to the community. During his career as a correctional officer, Fermon was an investigator for 10 years. During that time, he said he learned that he can’t be present at more than one place at a time.

“Therefore, I engaged and organized small groups of residents throughout the city who would inform me on what was going on in their neighborhoods,” Fermon said. “I found this method quite successful for staying informed because not everyone is comfortable attending council meetings.”

In addition, Fermon said he has also been very active on social media. He uses his platform to assist in community outreach, announcements, and positive messaging to cultivate unity in the community, the mayor said.

Fermon asks residents to continue to “Trust the Process.”

“The job of leading a community is never over,” he said. “Every day new challenges present themselves. In 2020 we were faced with Covid-19. In Indio, we lost 283 people from Covid-19 related issues. My heart goes out to all those families.”

The city has public safety challenges that have to be continually addressed as well as affordable and attainable senior and veteran housing issues, homelessness issues and economic development, he said.

“I am devoted to Indio,” Fermon said. “I wear Indio on my sleeve.”

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