A block in downtown Palm Springs is undergoing a transformation with hopes of revitalizing the area, and attracting visitors with architecture, art pieces and nearby restaurants.
“We just saw this and thought it was a really fantastic place to be taking photos,” said James Collins, a resident who enjoys his free-time in the downtown area.
For the last year ,the pandemic has kept residents and visitors from enjoying what the street has to offer.
“Oh we love shopping here, it’s just fantastic,”said Cathy Rycraft, who was enjoying her lunch at Tommy Bahamas with her mother.
Now, Michael Braun, President of Grit Development, formerly known as Wessman Development, is in charge of the project. He says his goal is to bring the community back together.
“We’re calling it the Block Palm Springs. It’s the area where the community spends their time, it’s the area where people socialize together and have conversations,” said Braun.
Although it has existed for years, the renewed focus on the area hopes to bring more diversity and attract people of all ages.
“How do you engage with the next generation, by art pieces? Art pieces generate discussion. Some people like art, some people don’t like a particular art piece. that generates dialogue,” said Braun.
Recent art installations have already brought attention — most notably the controversial return of the marilyn monroe statue on museum way.
“Despite these obstacles, she brought a lot of traffic to restaurants, businesses and she embraced in her time the LGBTQ community,” said Braun.
While plans for the statue are still up in the air, Braun says the plans for the block continue to highlight inclusion and welcoming everyone to downtown Palm Springs.
“People right now embrace Palm Springs, they feel comfortable visiting here. It’s diverse, it’s not too homogeneous. I think that’s one of the main reasons people enjoy coming to Palm Springs,” said Braun.