By Ivan Delgado
Coachella, Calif. – Residents of this Eastern Coachella Valley city expressed their top concerns at a workshop held February 9 by Raimi + Associates, the city’s consulting firm, as part of the city’s efforts to update its general plan later this year.
According to findings exclusively released to Coachella Unincorporated, the top concerns of the residents in attendance were transportation, toxics and pollution, and access to health care providers.
The report read, in part, that the purpose of last month’s workshop was to “provide an update on the General Plan and Health Element process, present the existing health conditions, and gain participant feedback on potential policy directions/solutions to health problems in Coachella.”
As part of the workshop, which the city called “Fiesta de la Salud #2,” residents in attendance participated in a voting exercise conducted by the consulting firm. Attendees were shown a series of photos to compare and vote on. Matthew Raimi, a principal of Raimi + Associates, explained the general plan and the current update process in Coachella.
Residents were instructed to visit seven stations and place three blue sticker dots to their areas of greatest concern. They placed additional red dots to identify the strategies the city should pursue.
Receiving the most votes was the Active and Safe Transportation station, with an emphasis on improving bus stop locations. This strategy is intended to work with Sun Line to evaluate bus stop locations, in order to improve transit and access to key destinations.
“Transportation should be priority,” read one comment left by a community member. “No improvement without it!”
The station receiving the second highest number of votes was Toxics and Pollution, with an emphasis on pollution sources. This strategy restricts the building of new schools, childcare centers, and senior homes within 300 feet of pollution sources.
A community comment at this station read, “Awareness should be counted due to the fact ignorance doesn’t stop the law!”
The Urgent and Primary Healthcare Providers station was rated the third top priority by attendees. This strategy encourages the development of urgent and primary health care facilities that are committed to serving Medi-Cal and Medicare enrollees.
When voting on the top community health goals from a list of 12, the three highest vote-getters were: 1) create close-knit and safe communities, 2) support the economic prosperity and vibrancy of households and businesses, and 3) improve access to schools and increase community facilities.
Of the 124 participants who signed in, only 55 completed surveys. This is the second of three planned community meetings to help the city update its general plan. It is unknown how much of this citizen input will make it into Coachella’s general plan until the update is finalized later this year.