As cities continue to roll with the punches to keep businesses alive, we’re taking a deeper look at what Coachella Valley cities are doing to help businesses thrive during this pandemic.
NBC Palm Springs visited both Palm Springs and Palm Desert to see what is being done.
After some trial and error issues, the city of Palm Springs has now opened a portion of Palm Canyon Drive to help with the flow of traffic and business. But some businesses didn’t like the idea of the man street being completely closed to traffic.
“All of the restaurants that went out into the street were able to keep their space, the city has paid for the k-rails to make sure they’re safe, to protect diners and cars throughout the city,” said Mayor Geoff Kors of Palm Springs.
And looking to the future, the mayor says they are working on plans to create a promenade shopping experience in Palm Springs.
“We’re working with the business community on how we can best look at potentially closing parts of Palm Canyon in a way that benefits everyone.
In the city of Palm Desert, they are taking a different approach, setting up an outdoor common dining area and keeping El Paseo Open.
“This is a blank slate in an attempt to create a plaza that restaurants can use to send people for to-go meals, could actually host pop-up restaurants or bars, or could come up with any other creative ways of using this space,” said Ryan Stendell, Direct of Community Development in Palm Desert.
“It’s something we’ve been talking about for a long time, and I think it’s an excellent idea to provide a rest area and somewhere where people can eat, as well because of the pandemic,” said Ellis Goodman, Owner of Coda Gallery.
“I think it’s great, it adds interest to the area, it makes the area more walkable. We plan on expanding a little bit of our sculptures into here so that we can have more of a sculpture garden,” said Sam Heaton, Art Director of Coda Gallery.
Meanwhile, business owners in Palm Springs are taking a different tone.
“They are trying to create an area, like a courtyard type that’s in el paseo. now what do you do when you close a road like this, on both sides you could see, what good is it if there is no parking? the merchants suffer,” said Ken Shearn, Founder of R.C.P.M. Group.
The city of Palm Desert has not decided whether this common dining area will be permanent or not, but they say if the project is successful they will take a further look into the idea.