Palm Desert hosts street party to celebrate San Pablo Avenue makeover
Palm Desert completes $ 18 million project on San Pablo Avenue
Palm Desert is completing an $ 18 million project on San Pablo Avenue in hopes that the area will become the “heart of the city”.
Jay Calderon, Palm Springs Desert Sun
Palm Desert has spent most of the past two years and nearly $ 18 million transforming San Pablo Avenue into what authorities call “the heart of the city.”
The Vision: To create a downtown area that invites people to cycle, walk, or use their golf carts to shop and dine at local businesses, take classes at the College of the Desert, or connect with the CV Link.
The city will celebrate the completion of the project on Saturday with a grand opening and street party on San Pablo Avenue, closing a section between Fred Waring and Magnesia Falls by car from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Music, food trucks, vendors, games, a beer garden and a children’s area are among the highlights planned for the evening, city spokesman Thomas Soule said.
The street will be closed to vehicles for the event – the new causeway is specially designed for events like this – and, in the spirit of the evening, residents are encouraged to reach the celebration on foot, by bike. or by golf cart when possible.
Parking is available at Civic Center Park for those wishing to come by car.
âIt’s really a community event, in a lot of waysâ¦ because we got the collaboration of a lot of organizations,â said Thomas Soule, city spokesperson.
The event is expected to begin with a ribbon cut at around 4:45 p.m. marking the recent completion of San Pablo phase two, he said.
With the reconfiguration of San Pablo Avenue from Hwy 111 to Magnesia Falls Drive, Palm Desert officials set out to create a downtown – or “heart of the city” – that served as a cycling and pedestrian link. ‘El Paseo at the Civic Center, College of the Desert, Public Library, McCallum Theater and other areas.
The street is lined with small businesses and local restaurants between Hwy 111 and Fred Waring Drive, and features a community garden, parks, and benches that invite people to sit and visit.
A street party for all ages
The first phase – from Highway 111 to Fred Waring Drive – was completed in August 2020 at a cost of $ 8.4 million.
Phase two, on the north side of Fred Waring Drive at Magnesia Falls Drive, was completed this summer and cost approximately $ 9.4 million. It included replacing the tamarisk trees in the median at the southern end of the street with desert landscaping; the installation of roundabouts at the entrance to College of the Desert and Civic Center Park and at the intersection of Magnesia Falls Drive; and the addition of improved pedestrian bridges.
The pavement was repaved to include an on-street cycle path that connects to the CV Link portion of town – a 40 mile bike, walk, jog and golf cart trail slated to connect much of Coachella Valley.
The Coachella Valley Association of Governments, which is funding and leading the construction of the $ 100 million CV Link, will also attend Saturday’s event.
âThe city has redesigned and redesigned Avenida San Pablo. Its north end intersects CV Link and creates connected paths for walkers, joggers, cyclists and operators of golf carts and other small electric vehicles, âsaid Tom Kirk, executive director of CVAG.
âI would not miss the opportunity to celebrate the city by making the streets safer and more enjoyable for residents and visitors and encourage the public to join in the event,â said Kirk.
The Saturday street party is free, with the exception of the food that people can buy from the food trucks.
The Palm Desert Area Chamber of Commerce offers the beer garden, hosted by La Quinta Brewing Company, a kids’ area where there will be games, including a Corn Hull tournament hosted by Desert Four Baggers, said the president and CEO of the Randy Florence chamber.
The Auen Foundation is sponsoring the children’s area, said Florence, which will include rock climbing, face painting and various other activities.
The chamber will also have a vendors’ booth, he said.
âWe weren’t part of it in the initial planning, but after having to postpone the Golf Cart Parade, the city was kind enough to hand those sections to us,â said Florence. This gives the chamber the opportunity to raise awareness and promote the business community that has been hit hard by the pandemic, he said.
The event will also feature a variety of booths from vendors and community organizations, including SunLine which will bring one of its hydrogen buses, Soule said.
âWe really encourage this theme of creating a downtown area where people can get around other than just by car,â said Soule.
Those attending Saturday’s event can help the city choose which of the two sculptures should be placed in the center of a roundabout at the intersection of San Gorgonio: “Dueling Palms” by Kyle Absolom or “Sunburst” by Donald Gialanella.
Those who cannot come on Saturday but wish to vote for the roundabout sculpture can do so online at engagepalmdesert.com.
When considering the remake of San Pablo, the southern part of the street, between Highway 111 and San Gorgonio, was envisioned as the location where special events will take place. For Saturday, authorities decided to move the street party to the north end of the street, just to see how it works as an event space.
The north end with the Civic Center provides easier access to more plentiful parking, which some say is hard to find for events on the south side of the street.
âWe encourage people to come to this event by bike or on footâ¦ but if they choose to come by car, we will have the parking lot right there,â he said. âSo we’re excited to see how this space works. “
The Wednesday Morning Certified Farmers’ Market has returned to its original location near Highway 111, after organizers told council members that San Pablo presented logistics issues to vendors and customers.
âWe play with the imprint of our events and see where they fit the best and how we can benefit everyone,â said Soule.
Desert Sun reporter Sherry Barkas covers the towns of La Quinta, Indian Wells, Rancho Mirage and Palm Desert. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @TDSsherryBarkas