Small Town, Big City Advantages

Coachella, known as the City of Eternal Sunshine, is a mostly rural city on the outskirts of Riverside County. Coachella is a community of almost 97% Latinos, mostly Mexicans, according to the 2000 Census, but it also consists of also Native Americans, Arabs, Armenians, Filipinos, Italians, and Japanese, among other nationalities. The community in the desert is family-oriented and heavily filled with culture. Having the rural location that it does, Coachella heavily relies on agriculture.

Coachella might not be as well-known or as visited as its neighboring cities, but that doesn’t stop it from aspiring future goals of large tourism. Coachella aspires to become a tourist attraction, said Mayor Eduardo Garcia, who noted that Palm Desert is a model city to him. What does Coachella have to offer that other cities don’t? Two large casinos operated by Native American tribes are in the city—Spotlight 29 Casino, of the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians and Augustine Casino, of the Augustine Tribe of Cahuilla Indians.

Coachella, of course, has to offer its authentic flare of Mexican culture. Coachella reflects its strong Mexican culture with architecture, authentic Mexican dishes, and festivities. Coachella has three popular fiestas that are celebrated each year—Cinco de Mayo (May 5), the 16 de Septiembre Fiestas Patrias or Mexican Independence Fiestas, and the 12 de Diciembre to celebrate the Virgin Mary. Coachella can serve as a more authentic attraction to tourists, who wish to experience the Mexican culture, Garcia said.

The best way to bring tourism is to invest in what you have. Garcia spoke to Coachella Unincorporated about the balanced budget and the steps being taken to improve the quality of life in Coachella. The 2011-2012 budget is being used towards the redevelopment of streets, the increasing of public safety, the “clean up” of El Pueblo Viejo, and the development of a Farmer’s Market and over 50 acres of parks. Mayor Garcia said there is a need to pay greater attention to parks, which have remained looking the same and even regressed even though the population has doubled. Ninety-five percent of roads in the cities have also been fixed up to improve safety and accessibility. The Coachella City Council also plans to invest time and money into the beautification of the city. The mayor shared his vision of seeing old town Coachella mimic the pueblos in Mexico to serve as a public attraction.

Aside from changing the face of downtown and adding acres of parks, the Coachella City Council also hopes to attract more visitors and residents by reducing graffiti with mural paintings throughout the city. Since 80% of Coachella is underdeveloped, there are hopes to bring in businesses such as an industrial park, hotels, and entertainment. Coachella also hopes to increase the entertainment found in the city by providing more concerts, movies, and a possible mall in the future.

With the future in prospect, the City Council hopes to redevelop Coachella to be an attractive city for tourists, a safe home for generations to come with family-oriented values, and to remind us of our cultural ties.

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