CATHEDRAL CITY – How do you honor the legacy of a man who devoted his life to the betterment of his community?
That is the task at hand for the Mayor Greg Pettis Lasting Legacy Memorial Sub-committee. The panel met this week to brainstorm ways to commemorate Cathedral City’s longest-serving member of the City Council and the city’s first openly gay mayor.
Members of sub-committee are Mayor Pro Tem John Aguilar, one of Pettis’ closest friends and trusted confidantes; Councilmember Ernesto Guiterrez; Parks and Community Events Commissioner Diane Hines; Arts Commissioner Sue Townsley; former Arts Commissioner Josie Diaz; City Engineer John Correla; and City Manager Charlie McClendon.
The Legacy Committee met Wednesday with staff to discuss possible candidate projects or ideas for honoring Pettis’ Legacy, Aguilar told Uken Report. Several suggestions were made, including some that were solicited from the public at large.
“Greg had so many admirers and was respected in so many areas, it seemed as though it would be logical that Greg’s name could be attached to several possible projects or ideas,” Aguilar said.
Some ideas included naming or renaming the Fountain of Life, Festival Lawn, Amphitheater, Rainbow Crossing, various streets, intersections, interchanges, parks, bridges, High School, and the like.
A new school that is being built in Tequila is being named after Pettis, Aguilar said. He shared that news with the Legacy Committee.
“How appropriate given the time, effort, commitment, resources, and love Greg had for that community,” Aguilar said. “An annual scholarship set up in Greg’s name for a Cathedral City High School student was also proposed. We are reaching out to potential non-profit sponsors to manage the Scholarship.”
City staff will be getting back to the Legacy Committee with costs associated with the appropriate plaques, etc., Aguilar said. A final recommendation is expected within the next two weeks.
“Our goal is to have something ready to dedicate at the opening of LGBT days at the end of March,” Aguilar said.
Pettis founded the Healing Field Program at Patriot Park that honors fallen soldiers. He fought for the LGBT Veterans Memorial at Desert Memorial Park. He raised the first Rainbow Flag at Cathedral City LGBT Days.
Pettis was a man who had many interests and was also looking for the next big thing to make Cathedral City shine. He fought for better roads and bridges and rail transportation in the Coachella Valley. Pettis played a significant role in turning the city’s downtown corridor into an Arts and Entertainment District and so much more.
“He loved the schools and their programs,” Townsley told Uken Report. “He wanted to put some kind of decals on the sidewalks around the schools — that won’t happen now. He loved the choir. He loved watching kids play in the fountain. He was a tireless advocate for LGBT issues. I proposed a few things as did others at the meeting. There will be another meeting before the ideas go to Council. Greg’s passing will leave a hole for many of.”
He left a vast legacy of accomplishments. Many are visible; others are not. He left an imprint on many people’s souls including the young man for whom he purchased a pair of shoes.