Prop 68 Brings $44M to the Coachella Valley and Imperial County, Officials Say

Ceci Partridge

Riverside and Imperial Counties will be receiving more than $44 million to create new community parks.

Funding for the new projects resulted from grant allocations of Proposition 68 and the 2018 State of California Parks and Water Bond.

The announcement was made Tuesday by the Statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization Program (SPP)

The awards include the cities of Calipatria, Cathedral City, Coachella, El Centro, Indio, Thermal, and Heber.

“These dollars will significantly impact and hopefully spark joy for our Imperial County and the Coachella Valley families. Parks are the gifts that keep on giving with benefits ranging from health, public safety, education and so much more,” said Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, joint author of Proposition 68 and Chair of the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks, and Wildlife.

The SPP is the largest park-related grant program in California’s history and possibly U.S. history, according to the press release.

Statewide, 468 project applications were submitted requesting $2.42 billion for the available $548.3 million. Last year, the 56th Assembly District received $15 million from the program for Mecca, Calexico, and Heber. In 2017, Riverside County completed the transfer of an approximately 4.38-acre parcel from the county to the Desert Recreation District for a future community park. The land is located between Church Street and Olive Street in Thermal, across the street from the Jerry Rummonds Senior and Community Center. The district is seeking to acquire five additional acres to make it a 10‑acre park.

With major county and state support, the Desert Recreation District has built the five-acre North Shore Community Park in 2018 and the first, 2.5-acre, phase of Oasis del Desierto (Oasis of the Desert) Park in the community of Oasis, which was dedicated in October 2021. The district is in the planning stages of the Thermal Community Park, and this grant will help move the project forward to construction after the design process is completed.

Riverside County is also utilizing a $5.8 million grant from the State of California for the Mecca Regional Sports Park, which will bring further green space and recreation next to the Boys and Girls Club in the community of Mecca.

Reginal SPP Grant Award Summary:

City of Calipatria — Calipatria Community Center Park $7,000,000

Create the new Community Center Park in the City of Calipatria. Construct a new community center, community garden, splash pad, picnic areas with gazebos, a playground/tot lot, and a parking lot with lighting, with landscaping and fencing throughout the park.

City of Cathedral City — Dream Homes Park $8,498,000

Create the new 7.52-acre Dream Homes park in Cathedral City. Construct two new playgrounds with shade, soccer/multi-use field, soccer field, futsal field with lighting, two basketball courts with lighting, fitness station with shade, central plaza, dog park with small and large dog areas, five covered picnic/BBQ areas, walking trails, restroom, two parking lots with lighting, perimeter fencing, with lighting and landscaping throughout the park.

City of Coachella — Central Park $8,454,600

Create the new Central Park in the city of Coachella. Acquire 4.7 acres. Construct a new playground with shade, splash pad, multi-purpose pavilion with restrooms, walking path, botanical/community garden, multi-purpose court, fitness area with shade, three picnic areas with shade and BBQ’s, multi-use field, perimeter fence, with lighting and landscaping throughout the park.

City of El Centro — Gomez Park Improvement Project $5,700,000

Improve Gomez Park in the City of El Centro. Construct 3 inclusive playgrounds (2-5 play area, 5-12 play area, and zip track), a multi-sport field, 2 multi-sport courts, a fitness area, a walking path with exercise stations, an amphitheater, a picnic ramada, a restroom facility with concession stand, and a parking lot and access road, with new landscaping and lighting throughout the park. Renovate the existing parking lot.

City of Indio — Indio New Sports Park $8,500,000

Create the new 31-acre Indio Sports Park in the city of Indio. Construct two baseball fields with lighting, four soccer fields with lighting, one football field, seven open play fields with lighting, parking lot with lighting, restroom/concessions building, eight shade structures on sports fields, two shade structures, five picnic areas with shade, public art, walking pathways with lighting, with landscaping and lighting throughout the park.

Desert Recreation District — Thermal Park Project $4,500,000

Create the new Thermal Park in the town of Thermal. Acquire approximately 5 acres. Construct a new playground, jungle gym, tennis courts, basketball court, baseball field, soccer field, three picnic areas, splash pad, garden, lighting throughout the park, restroom with snack bar, and landscaping throughout the park.

Heber PUD — Correll Park $1,579,566

Create the new Correll Park in Heber. Construct a playground with shade, three basketball courts, a walkway with lighting, and a bio retention basin, with landscaping and fencing throughout the park. Renovate the existing retention basin.

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