By Johnny Flores, Jr., Coachella Unincorporated
Coachella, Calif. – Last week’s third Fiesta de la Salud moved the city of Coachella closer to completing the long overdue update of its general plan, which will be the first in the Coachella Valley to include a community health element.
On September 20, community members gathered to provide city leaders and the city’s consulting firm with their input. The event was kicked off with a welcome from Mayor Eduardo Garcia, who gave an overview on the progress of the general plan and his hopes for the city’s future.
Representatives from Raimi and Associates, the city’s consulting firm, recapped the previous two Fiestas de la Salud and introduced the interactive portion of the event later that night.
“It is really important that all of these ideas be addressed in every aspect,” said Matt Burris, a senior associate with Raimi and Associates. “Many aspects are dealing with health and safety.”
A total of seven stations were set up around the multipurpose room at Bobby Duke Middle School, entitled: Community Participation; I Commit to a Healthier Me; Guiding Principles; Healthy Neighborhoods; Jobs; Retail, and Economic Development; Climate Change; and Transportation and Safety.
Community members used stickers to vote on the subtopics within each station that mattered most to them. A large sheet of paper was also placed at each station for additional comments, complaints, or concerns.
Among the most visited stations were: Community Participation; I Commit to a Healthier Me; and Jobs, Retail, and Economic Development. Some of the most voted subtopics within the seven stations were: organize walking, bicycling, and other active living events; a city of education; create streets with wider sidewalks on both sides of the street; and require new buildings to include solar panels.
Some comments posted at the stations included:
- “Youth council”
- “Lit up streets”
- “No more homeless people in parks”
- “Reduce wasted water”
- “Eat healthier”
After completing the interactive portion of Fiesta de la Salud, guests were treated to dinner, two bike raffles, and Farmer’s Market gift card raffles.
According to Luis Lopez, the city’s development services director, the general plan is six months away from completion. Now that all three Fiestas de la Salud are completed, he says the next step is a community meeting in about two months to share a rough draft of the general plan to residents.
“It is important that we hold a few more meetings so that the city can finally see all their opinions and ideas come together,” said Lopez.
A city’s general plan sets the polices for how the city uses and manages physical, social and economic resources. Elements of a general plan include land use, public services and infrastructure, agriculture, economic development, and housing. A city usually updates its general plan every 10 years. Coachella’s general plan was completed in 1997 and has not been updated.
If you would like to know more about the general plan or would like to submit an idea, comment or concern, please email Luis Lopez at [email protected], call (760) 398-3102, or visit http://cityofcoachellageneralplanupdate.weebly.com.