Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia Announces Over $44.2 Million In Prop 68 Dollars for Local Parks

COACHELLA — From Cathedral City to Coachella and places in between and beyond, more than $44 million in Proposition 68 dollars will help secure local parks projects.

The Prop 68 Statewide Parks Program is the largest park-related grant program in the history of the state of California. Over the past 6 years, more than 187 parks projects have been funded and more than $622 million of funding has been awarded. The state is on its fourth round of funding for the Statewide Parks Program with $395.3 million available to agencies that meet program criteria.

After concerted legislative and local advocacy, Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) has announced over $44.2 million for parks throughout the 56th Assembly District. This allocation for local parks projects in the Coachella Valley and Imperial County was made possible through Proposition 68, State of California Parks and Water Bond 2018, authored by Assemblymember Garcia (SB 5, 2017).

On Dec. 8, the Statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization Program (SPP) released their latest list of successful grants, including significant awards for Calipatria, Cathedral City, Coachella, El Centro, Indio, Thermal, and Heber. The SPP is the largest park-related grant program in California’s history and possibly U.S. history. Investments for parks and access to safe, outdoor recreational spaces have been a priority for Garcia since he arrived in Sacramento. The Assemblymember dedicated years soliciting feedback from his district and organizing coalitions of statewide support to create equitable funding opportunities for underserved, park-poor areas, like those in the communities he serves.

“We are proud to deliver this historic $44.2 million investment for park projects across our district,” Garcia said in a prepared statement. “Increasing access to parks and safe recreational spaces has the power to transform and uplift our communities. We appreciate all our local municipalities for applying and staying persistent with us throughout this process. These dollars will significantly impact and hopefully spark joy for our Imperial County and the Coachella Valley families. Parks are the gifts that keep on giving with benefits ranging from health, public safety, education and so much more. We celebrate this victory, but remain focused on what comes next and how we can bring even more resources to our district.”

Garcia is the joint author of Proposition 68 and Chair of the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks, and Wildlife.

“Our work with Proposition 68 created the largest California funding opportunity prioritizing parks in our most underserved communities. Our intention was to create an equitable funding source and to ensure that areas like those in our district were invested in. After years of laying the legislative groundwork and collaborating with regional leaders, we are beyond humbled to deliver on our park equity promise to our constituents.”

The 56th Assembly District proved quite competitive in the SPP Round 4 grant. Statewide, 468 project applications were submitted requesting $2.42 billion for the available $548.3 million. Last year, the 56th Assembly District received $15 million from the program for Mecca, Calexico, and Heber.

Millions in Prop 68 Dollars to Benefit Local Parks

Supervisor V. Manuel Perez

“This is a major victory for the community of Thermal,” Riverside County Fourth District Supervisor Manuel Perez said. “This is exciting to receive this funding to develop the first park for Thermal. This community park is much needed, as the nearest parks to Thermal are currently in the city of Coachella or six miles southeast in Mecca. These funds are a wonderful investment in the quality of life and health of our community.

“Riverside County has been working for many years with the Desert Recreation District to advance the vision of this park, including donating land. The park will be in the heart of Thermal, in close proximity to the Jerry Rummonds Senior and Community Center and the Coachella Valley Unified School District, bringing opportunities for outdoor recreation and activities for the families and children of the community.

“I look forward to working with the Desert Recreation District and the Thermal community to get this done for the community, and I thank the State of California, Governor Gavin Newsom and his ‘Outdoors for All’ initiative, and especially our parks champion, State Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, for this amazing news!”

In addition to the $4.5 million for the Thermal park, the cities of Cathedral City, Coachella and Indio were among the jurisdictions throughout the Coachella Valley, Riverside County and California that were awarded funding for park projects today (list).

Millions in Prop 68 Dollars to Benefit Local Parks

New Dream Homes Park

Cathedral City has been awarded a nearly $8.5 million Statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization Program grant by the California Department of Parks and Recreation to build the Dream Homes Park.  Funds for the program were passed by California voters in 2018 under Proposition 68.

The new 7.52-acre park will be located at 30610 San Diego Drive in Cathedral City and within the Dream Homes neighborhood, which is critically underserved and has endured many years without a park.  Dream Homes is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Cathedral City and the Coachella Valley.

Millions in Prop 68 Dollars to Benefit Local Parks

Mayor Ernesto Gutierrez

“Our residents have been involved in designing the park and participated in six community-based planning forums and park workshops,” Mayor Ernesto Gutierrez said in a prepared statement.  “The Dream Homes Park will meet the needs of the community because it has been studied and designed by the residents.”

Amenities of the new Dream Homes Park will include a central plaza, picnic areas, playgrounds, outdoor fitness stations, walking trails, a dog park area, landscaping, trees, sitting areas, basketball courts, a soccer field, a futsal field and an additional soccer/multi-use field that will also provide for community events, such art, music, movies, and health fairs in the park.

The Dream Homes Park will provide more connectivity to the CV Link, a multi-modal corridor now open adjacent to the Dream Homes neighborhood that is planned to extend from Palm Springs to the City of Coachella and the Salton Sea.

“This $8.498 million grant for the Dream Homes Neighborhood represents the culmination of over 5 ½ years of hard work and efforts by the residents of the Dream Homes Community, City Council of Cathedral City, city staff and consultants, Desert Healthcare District, Loma Linda University Health, El Sol Neighborhood Educational Center, Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia and the Agua Caliente Elementary School,” stated John Corella, Director of Engineering / Public Works.  “We look forward to the next steps in building the park itself and seeing all the families utilizing this community space.”

In 2017, Riverside County completed the transfer of an approximately 4.38-acre parcel from the county to the Desert Recreation District for a future community park. The land is located between Church Street and Olive Street in Thermal, across the street from the Jerry Rummonds Senior and Community Center. The district is seeking to acquire five additional acres to make it a 10‑acre park.

With major county and state support, the Desert Recreation District has built the five-acre North Shore Community Park in 2018 and the first, 2.5-acre, phase of Oasis del Desierto (Oasis of the Desert) Park in the community of Oasis, which was dedicated in October 2021. The district is in the planning stages of the Thermal Community Park, and this grant will help move the project forward to construction after the design process is completed.

Riverside County is also utilizing a $5.8 million grant from the State of California for the Mecca Regional Sports Park, which will bring further green space and recreation next to the Boys and Girls Club in the community of Mecca.

Assembly District 56 SPP Grant Award Summary:

City of Calipatria — Calipatria Community Center Park $7,000,000

Create the new Community Center Park in the City of Calipatria. Construct a new community center, community garden, splash pad, picnic areas with gazebos, a playground/tot lot, and a parking lot with lighting, with landscaping and fencing throughout the park.

City of Cathedral City — Dream Homes Park $8,498,000

Create the new 7.52-acre Dream Homes park in Cathedral City. Construct two new playgrounds with shade, soccer/multi-use field, soccer field, futsal field with lighting, two basketball courts with lighting, fitness station with shade, central plaza, dog park with small and large dog areas, five covered picnic/BBQ areas, walking trails, restroom, two parking lots with lighting, perimeter fencing, with lighting and landscaping throughout the park.

City of Coachella — Central Park $8,454,600

Create the new Central Park in the city of Coachella. Acquire 4.7 acres. Construct a new playground with shade, splash pad, multi-purpose pavilion with restrooms, walking path, botanical/community garden, multi-purpose court, fitness area with shade, three picnic areas with shade and BBQ’s, multi-use field, perimeter fence, with lighting and landscaping throughout the park.

City of El Centro — Gomez Park Improvement Project $5,700,000

Improve Gomez Park in the City of El Centro. Construct 3 inclusive playgrounds (2-5 play area, 5-12 play area, and zip track), a multi-sport field, 2 multi-sport courts, a fitness area, a walking path with exercise stations, an amphitheater, a picnic ramada, a restroom facility with concession stand, and a parking lot and access road, with new landscaping and lighting throughout the park. Renovate the existing parking lot.

City of Indio — Indio New Sports Park $8,500,000

Create the new 31-acre Indio Sports Park in the city of Indio. Construct two baseball fields with lighting, four soccer fields with lighting, one football field, seven open play fields with lighting, parking lot with lighting, restroom/concessions building, eight shade structures on sports fields, two shade structures, five picnic areas with shade, public art, walking pathways with lighting, with landscaping and lighting throughout the park.

Desert Recreation District — Thermal Park Project $4,500,000

Create the new Thermal Park in the town of Thermal. Acquire approximately 5 acres. Construct a new playground, jungle gym, tennis courts, basketball court, baseball field, soccer field, three picnic areas, splash pad, garden, lighting throughout the park, restroom with snack bar, and landscaping throughout the park.

Heber PUD — Correll Park $1,579,566

Create the new Correll Park in Heber. Construct a playground with shade, three basketball courts, a walkway with lighting, and a bio retention basin, with landscaping and fencing throughout the park. Renovate the existing retention basin.

 

Image Sources

  • V. Manuel Perez: Supervisor V. Manuel Perez
  • Ernesto Gutierrez: City of Cathedral City
  • Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia at park bond rally: Assemblymemberr