City of Coachella
Our Growning, Thriving City
A place where families, businesses, and neighborhoods thrive.
Words by Gayl Biondi.
Photographs by George Duchannes
MAYOR: Steven Hernandez
MAYOR PRO TEM: Josie Gonzalez
COUNCIL MEMBERS: Josie Gonzalez,
Megan Beaman Jacinto, Denise Delgado, Neftali Galarza
YEAR INCORPORATED: 1946
Community is the spice of life in Coachella. Known as the “City of Eternal Sunshine,” Coachella is an active City covering 29 square miles with a mix of agriculture, light industry and well-established neighborhoods with plenty of room to grow. Quality of life in the form of affordable housing, access to healthcare and a sustainable environment, and educational opportunities are paramount to this City on the move.
“The city of Coachella has grown strides over these past several years, but our work here is far from done,” stated Coachella Mayor Steven Hernandez. “From affordable housing to Urban Greening, our vision is to continue evolving our community to draw in quality businesses and build our workforce so we can enable our residents to lead fulfilling lives.”
The City’s historic downtown area has been transformed into Pueblo Viejo — a walkable arts and cultural hub with the new Spanish Revival-style library and conference center at its core. A clock tower designed with mission bells in mind anchors the center and chimes ring out across the plaza. Six Instagram-worthy murals dot the quaint downtown streets. Wellestablished eateries, some of which have been in the same family’s hands for generations, attract locals and visitors, including devotees of the nearby Coachella Music and Arts Festival.
The City’s main thoroughfare — Grapefruit Boulevard — shadows the former Southern Pacific Sunset Route that carried passengers starting in the early 1900s from the cold confines of the eastern U.S. to the welcoming warmth of California. Even today, all roads lead to Coachella as it sits at the confluence of Interstate 10 and Highway 86, making it an integral transportation hub with a market reach to more than 25 million people from Los Angeles to Phoenix and well beyond.
Our Sustainable City
Coachella is making climate change investments to ensure long-term sustainability.
The California Natural Resources Agency granted Coachella a $3.2 million award for the Grapefruit Boulevard Urban Greening and Connectivity Project — the largest award of its kind in the state. The project links people to the places where they can walk or bike between community gathering places such as schools, parks, the library, post office, senior center and more. Bike lanes, sidewalks, pedestrian crossings, landscaping, shade structures, lighting and signage are all designed to serve as a valuable urban forest that contributes to human health and quality of life.
Cities globally are using sustainable development practices to enhance economic development projects. A report from Coachella Valley Association of Governments (CVAG) recounts how urban greening promotes myriad social and wellness benefits. The Grapefruit Boulevard project is a perfect example as it is designed to encourage physical activity and strengthen community engagement, create visual and sound buffers, offer safe places to gather, and moderate temperature and microclimate.
Our Just and Equitable City
Coachella will have an inclusive, equitable economy that offers well-paying jobs and opportunity for all to live with dignity and security.
Officials recently took part in the grand opening of Pueblo Viejo Villas, a net-zero 105-unit affordable housing community enhanced with a transit hub and vanpool ridesharing options. The $47.9 million project is a collaboration between multiple funding agencies and public service organizations. It includes one, two, and three-bedroom units targeted toward families. At least ten units were set aside for individuals and families with at least one member who has a developmental disability. Onsite adult education and skill building classes are offered in computer literacy, ESL, job counseling, financial literacy, health and wellness, and art. A food distribution program is also in place. In addition, the city of Coachella will soon be launching a universal basic income pilot program that will provide direct cash payments to 140 residents enduring high levels of poverty, income inequality or other related disparities. The program will be administered by Mission Asset Fund and will acknowledge that families know how best to meet their own needs.
While retaining aspects of the City’s history in older buildings in the Pueblo Viejo area can provide a sense of nostalgia and respect for the past, some things are meant to change. Palm View Elementary School was built in 1928. It was retrofitted to current earthquake standards in 1988 but has been plagued for years by asbestos issues that are not easily fixed. The CVUSD Board of Education approved that the buildings be razed to make way for a new school campus. Board president Blanca Hall, a former student at Palm View, said, “This school sits in the heart of downtown Coachella, so it is not only a place where academic education takes place, but a place where our community gathers. The Board hopes that our children and staff at our new Palm View Elementary School feel proud and comfortable when they enter a school building that is modern and able to provide them with the tools they need to succeed.”
School Principal, Delia Alvarez, is also excited to open a new school, especially after distance learning brought on by the recent pandemic. “The newly remodeled Palm View Elementary has already been proven to inspire hope for our community. The S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) Lab, multi-purpose room, and theater stage are all new resources that will open more opportunities and career paths for our students. The staff is excited to come to work and our enrollment continues to increase.”
Our Resilient City
Our neighborhoods, economy and public services are ready to withstand and emerge stronger from the impacts of climate change and other unforeseen shocks.
Access to medical services has been challenging for some in the community. A longstanding clinic in nearby Thermal did its best to serve patients. Now, the new 41,000-square-foot Coachella Valley Community Health Center is open to provide pediatric and family medicine, dental, lab work, urgent care, behavioral health, and pharmacy services. Offering early morning appointments at a convenient location is a benefit to residents who can’t easily leave their jobs or find child care to travel a long distance for care. The clinic, operated by Borrego Health, is dedicated to improving the health and wellness of underserved residents and essential Coachella workforce. Using the same model that has been successful at their other clinical sites, Borrego Health will have a staff of care coordinators who can assist patients with enrollment in insurance programs.
Coachella’s recipe for success is a combination of available land; exceptional access to transportation; financial incentives; and a young, flexible labor pool. With 70% of its raw land still undeveloped, Coachella’s story of eternal sunshine is still being written.
For more information, visit coachella.org
Total Population – 42,554
Annual Growth Rate –
Median Household Income –
Per Capita Income – $19,254
High School Diploma –
Bachelor’s Degree or Higher –
Civilian Labor Force (% of population) –
Accommodation / Food Service (Total Sales) –
Healthcare / Social Assistance (Total Revenue) –
Transportation / Warehouseing (Total Revenue) –
Retail Sales –
SOURCE: United States Census Bureau