Rudy Gutierrez made waves in 2012 when he set out to reactivate the long-defunct Coachella Parks and Recreation Commission. After months of campaigning, his payoff may come tonight when the Coachella City Council votes on the reactivation of the resident group.
Gutierrez, 35, who lives in Coachella with his wife and two young sons, talks to Coachella Unincorporated about the reasons he made this his mission in 2012 and the high hopes he has for the commission going forward.
Coachella Unincorporated: When you were growing up, what did recreational spaces mean to you?
Rudy Gutierrez: It meant the world to me. I was able to forget about all of my family problems and focus on being a kid and enjoying life.
CU: Why do you think parks and recreational spaces are important for the community?
RG: It is important because everyone can do something active and healthy. There are personal benefits, social benefits, and facility benefits for the community.
Personal benefits for the community: provides a place to exercise, fitness and conditioning, family fun and entertainment, learning and education, relaxation and health.
The Social benefits for the community: getting to know people, group participation, interaction of adults and kids, community awareness, team spirit.
Facility benefits for the community: having instructional classes, the joy of playing, a place to go, a place for recreation, exposure to arts & crafts, watching organized sports. I can go on and on.
CU: Why did you decide to take on the task of reactivating the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission?
RG: Our residents currently don’t have anywhere to go or anyone to help with any questions, complaints or suggestions for parks and recreation. The current youth development programs using the parks don’t have anywhere to go for help when they need it. There is no standard or policy in place for the youth development programs. I want to create resident’s engagement because non-Coachella residents are ruining our community by their own personal vendettas.
CU: What are your goals for this commission? Why should people get involved?
RG: My goals for this commission would be to provide a space where residents can go and discuss the importance of parks and recreation programs. Create a Parks and Recreation Foundation so there is an unlimited supply of money for parks and recreation programs. Hold every program to a high standard that provides parks and recreation to our residents and builds more parks for our community. This has to do with building and creating a healthy community. That is why people should get involved.
Coachella City Council will vote this evening on the reactivation of Parks and Recreation Commission, an advisory committee made up of five adults and two youths. The meeting will take place at 6 p.m. at Coachella City Hall, 1515 Sixth St. The public is encouraged to attend.
- Alejandra Alarcon, Coachella Unincorporated