PALM SPRINGS – Arguing that this community cannot be rebuilt “with Band-Aids and twine,” Alan P. “Alfie” Pettit is promoting the idea of building a new Palm Springs Public Library, and more.
In a Q&A with Uken Report published on June 13, Pettit said, infrastructure is of paramount concern. He maintains that the last plan for infrastructure maintenance was 28 years ago.
“We have been just fixing as needed as we go,” Pettit said. “This includes building in my district like Fire Station 1 on Indian Canyon and the main Public Library on Sunrise.”
The current library, built in 1975, has served its purpose. It’s time for a new library for the 21st century. The building has upon investigation has rusty pipes, a bad electrical system and small bathrooms which are inconveniently located. This is due to the fact that that the main entrance was moved years ago, Pettit said.
Asked to elaborate on why he believes the community needs a new Palm Springs Public Library, Pettit told Uken Report, “The library desperately needs event space. Currently it can hold 90 persons. A recent library function that brought in throngs of excited fans hoping to hear — and meet — a noted author, resulted in twice as many people being turned away as attended.”
The potential $30 million deal with GRIT Development, to “claw-back” money from ill-gotten contracts could pay for — or help pay for — a new library, Pettit said.
He is referring to potential settlement the city of Palm Springs is considering with a once-prominent developer. The potential settlement deal is worth $30 million. The city would get more than 70 acres of land and a new library, according to a city staff report.
The proposed settlement involves Grit Development and its affiliate, Palm Springs Promenade, as it relates to developments in downtown Palm Springs.
Grit was previously named Wessman Holdings. Its former leader, John Wessman, was charged in an alleged public corruption scheme that involved former Mayor Steve Pougnet and developer Richard Meaney. The trio of men has pleaded not guilty. A court date has not been set.
Grit is now led by Michael Braun, whose father-in-law is Wessman.
The City Council discussed the proposed settlement at its June 19 meeting. No vote was taken.
“But all options should be studied,” Pettit added. “The current library could be transformed into a new community center, which is sorely needed particularly since Roy’s Desert Resource Center, here in Palm Springs, closed.”
With more than 100,000 individual items, plus downloadable eBooks, music and eMagazines, the Palm Springs Public Library offers a varied and comprehensive collection to the community. The Library is located at 300 S. Sunrise Way, on the corner of Sunrise Way and Baristo Road.
For more information about the Library call 760-322-READ (7323) or log on by clicking here.
As for Fire Station 1, Pettit said, “I want to make sure our Fire Stations are well-maintained and have all the equipment necessary to protect and assist our residents and businesses, when needed.”
Asked if the the current stations are not maintained or lack equipment, Pettit told Uken Report, “The stations are well-maintained and we must make sure that we have the most modern technology available in order to help save lives.”
The primary response area for Fire Station 1 includes the area West of Sunrise Way bordered to the South at Mesquite to the North at Vista Chino and to the West at Mt. San Jacinto.
In addition to the Palm Springs Public Library, finally, Pettit said he wants action taken to restore the Town and Country Center in downtown. It was built in 1948 and designated a Class 1 historic site.
“(Action) seems to have stalled, Pettit said. “The vacant site is very vulnerable to vandals and trespassers that could further damage the complex or even worse.”
The Town & Country Center, 146-174 N. Palm Canyon Drive, was designed by two internationally-famous architects, Paul R. Williams and A. Quincy Jones, according to the Palm Springs Preservation Foundation. The Town & Country Center is one of the best examples of the international-style of architecture in southern California and is an important early “mixed-use” development.
On Oct. 22, 2018 the city’s Downtown Project Standing Subcommittee, composed of councilmembers Lisa Middleton and J.R. Roberts, hosted a presentation by the architectural firm of Marmol Radziner (representing Grit Development) which unveiled a “rehabilitation” plan for the Town & Country Center. The plan proposed demolishing a significant portion of the complex’s historic fabric. The general public reaction to the proposal was highly skeptical, according to the Palm Springs Preservation Foundation.
Now comes the stall to which Pettit refers.
- Palm Springs Public Library: Palm Springs Public Library
- Fire Station 1: City of Palm Springs
- Alfie Pettit at Library: Alfie Pettit campaign