April 29, 2024

Supervisor Perez Presents Vision at Inaugural State of the Fourth District Event

By Jim Roberts

Supervisor V. Manuel Perez recently presented the first-ever State of the Fourth District event, bringing county staff, community partners, and guest speakers together to address five key areas across the district: health and wellness, housing and homelessness, community services and improvements, infrastructure, and economic development.

The Fourth Supervisorial District encompasses communities from Idyllwild to Blythe and includes the entire Coachella Valley. “By geography, we cover 74 percent of the county, our district spans 5,406 square miles and is larger than two states: Rhode Island and Delaware,” noted Supervisor Perez during his speech.

Dr. Geoffrey Leung from Riverside University Health System set the stage with context on health and explained the county’s approach to health from a holistic view, which is not only about physical health but also about the socioeconomic environment that affects mental health.

Kevin Kalman, General Manager of the Desert Recreation District, discussed partnerships to complete new parks and upcoming projects such as the future park in Thermal and lighting improvements for the Parque del Pueblo in North Shore and Indio Hills Community Park in Indio Hills. Supervisor Perez also reported on a future improvement project for Lake Cahuilla Veterans Regional Park in La Quinta, slated for $7 million in upgrades.

Tanya Torno, Deputy Director of the Riverside County Housing and Workforce Solutions Department, noted that this year, 60 apartments for low-income residents were completed in Palm Springs: the Monarch Apartment Homes. Also, the Palm Springs Navigation Center was opened with an initial 50 beds for people experiencing homelessness.

“Over the last year, we have assisted more than 5,000 individuals in the Coachella Valley and have been able to connect one out of three people to housing. And, after three years, 86% have maintained that housing,” said Tanya Torno.

The community services topic highlighted the new fire station that was just finished in North Shore. The county will be doing the same in Desert Center starting this year. The community improvements segment also covered partnerships between the county and nonprofits to expand community services to residents, such as FIND Food Bank, which will be able to double its efforts with the help of $1 million from Riverside County and Lift to Rise, to which the county allocated $33 million to provide rental assistance to families in the Coachella Valley during the pandemic.

On the topic of infrastructure, Cástulo Estrada, Vice President of the Coachella Valley Water District, discussed efforts to bring cleaner water to communities in the eastern Coachella Valley.

On the fifth and last topic of economic development, Davis Meyer, Vice President of Government & Industry Relations with Visit Greater Palm Springs, reminded attendees that tourism is the top industry in the region. More than 14 million visitors come to the region annually to attend events such as the Coachella Fest, the Tennis Tournament, and golf, among many others.

“If we can have the Acrisure Arena in our county, we can have anything, and let’s continue dreaming and creating other projects as big as this one,” said Davis Meyer.

Following the event, Supervisor Perez remarked, “The message that I want people to take home is that place matters, in the sense that we have to do better, we have had a lot of wins, but we are not done yet.”

More than 500 people attended Supervisor Perez’s State of the Fourth District address at Fantasy Springs Resort Special Events Center.

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