Dear Constituents and Neighbors,
On Thursday, April 20th, the Rancho Mirage City Council completed its annual rotation of Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem seats. I am truly honored to have been given the opportunity and privilege to serve as Rancho Mirage's Mayor for the past year. I am also grateful to my fellow councilmembers and the incredible and dedicated staff for their continuous support.
We have much to be proud of in the 92270 zip code. The following are some key accomplishments that were highlighted in the final Mayor's Message of my term:
In November, we opened the Rancho Mirage Dog Park. The City's first dog park, located on Key Largo, south of Dinah Shore Drive, has proven to be more popular than expected. It's no wonder given the 4.5 acre park has separate play areas for large and small dogs and seating, shade and a walking path for owners, not to mention beautiful views of the valley mountains.
Photo Credit: Mark Davidson
Construction is underway on the Rancho Mirage Observatory. This facility will be a first of its kind in the valley with a research level telescope allowing residents and visitors the opportunity to view and learn about the universe. This incredible amenity, slated to open in January 2018, will be located adjacent to the west entrance of the Rancho Mirage Public Library - a fitting cap to the 20th anniversary of our world class library. Serving an average of 800 patrons daily with a plethora of top notch programming and events, the Rancho Mirage Public Library continues to solidify itself as the cultural center of our valley.
During this past year, we continued a number of popular community events. The annual Rancho Mirage Art Affaire was held for the 16th consecutive year at the Rancho Mirage Community Park. Hundreds of art lovers and families came out to enjoy our beautiful November autumn afternoons and view a variety of artwork from over 90 artists who traveled throughout the Southwest to participate.
In January 2017, the City celebrated the 10th annual Rancho Mirage Speaker Series which proved to be another overwhelming success with speakers that included Marlee Matlin, Dr. Robert Ballard and Linda Greenhouse sharing their uniquely significant stories to sold-out audiences.
Following on the heels of the inaugural Music in the Park Series, the City presented another very well received series at the state-of-the-art Rancho Mirage Amphitheater. This year's lineup featured performances by Pam Tillis, Pablo Cruise, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Ted Herman's Big Band with a production of "A Chorus Line" performed by Rancho Mirage High School students from David Green's Musical Theater University. The series concluded with the highest attended show yet - Starship featuring Mickey Thomas.
Once again, the now nationally acclaimed Rancho Mirage Writers Festival was a magnificent hit attended by over a thousand people and viewed by more on taped delayed telecast on the CSPAN network. This extraordinary festival is a sold-out event that features a host of intriguing and famous authors and presenters. Coinciding with the 2017 Rancho Mirage Writers Festival was the unveiling of the 4th annual edition of our premier destination publication, R/M Magazine, featuring Writers Festival founder Jamie Kabler as the cover featured story.
The continued success of our shopping centers and commercial establishments is vital to our economy and quality of life. During the past year, the community celebrated the redevelopment of the Rancho Las Palmas Shopping Center. Key to the transformation of the City's original shopping center, was the inclusion of a dedicated vehicular access directly off of Highway 111 showcasing the new national anchor stores - Stein Mart and Hobby Lobby. The extremely popular CVS Pharmacy was relocated into a new building providing the store with a drive-thru, better visibility and a modern footprint. Further improvements include new eateries such as Pieology, Norma's Italian Kitchen, Starbucks and as of today Haus of Poke. The center is also home to neighborhood grocery store, Green's International Market.
The River began several large-scale improvements including a new contemporary paint scheme and landscaping improvements that will complement the solar covered parking currently under construction. Century Theaters finalized the installation of luxury lounge recliner seating in all auditoriums. The first Fox & Fiddle in the United States opened near the main entrance off of Bob Hope and Jerry Keller is returning with Acqua California Bistro working towards a May opening in a larger and improved space in the same location as his former restaurant. In keeping with The River's position as the valley's entertainment destination, The Renova Rink at the River was unveiled during the holiday season allowing visitors from all over to ice skate outdoors right in Rancho Mirage! Owners of The River are pursuing additional improvements including enhanced customer amenities such as upgraded and additional seating and shade structures in the amphitheater for increased usage.
The Gelson's Shopping Center at the corner of Bob Hope and Gerald Ford completed a new landscape plan, significantly improving the look and customer experience at this important neighborhood center. Residents will be pleased to hear that the Gelson's store itself has been planning substantial physical improvements for this summer. The store will be reconfigured and upgraded (including new amenities for shoppers) in keeping with the upscale Gelson's brand.
Rancho Mirage continues to attract new development as well. In what will be the largest single family housing project in Rancho Mirage since Victoria Falls in 1996, Pulte Homes is working towards the buildout of 320 acres of land north of Dinah Shore, directly across from the entrance of The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa. The City is annexing this land paving the way for the construction of approximately 1,100 homes. Grading is expected to begin shortly with phased development occurring over the next several years.
Thunderbird Resort & Spa is a proposed luxury hotel entitled for development in the vacant cove property across from The Atrium on Highway 111 (just east of city hall). Plans for the property include a 125-room resort hotel and spa with 48 residential condominiums. The resort will include a 6,800 square foot restaurant, 11,070 square feet of meeting facilities and a 16,305 square foot spa and fitness center. The City is currently considering several operator specific revisions to the site plan. If constructed, this hotel would enhance Rancho Mirage's status as the premier luxury destination for visitors to the valley and add to our ever important transient occupancy tax ("TOT") revenue.
Another exciting proposed project has been moving towards approval on the vacant 13-acre cove property on Highway 111 to the west of city hall. Referred to as Rancho Cove, this project is a planned mixed-use development that would consist of a hotel, commercial/retail, and residential uses. The hotel is a 100-125 room midlevel operation nestled on the western mountain slope. Along the frontage of Highway 111 would be approximately 20,000 square feet of commercial/retail broken up in several pads. The residential component would include up to 35 condominiums along the eastern and southern mountain slopes. If developed, both Rancho Cove and Thunderbird Resort & Spa would greatly help to revitalize and enhance the western stretch of Highway 111 in Rancho Mirage.
The financial health of Rancho Mirage remains robust. We have maintained a balanced budget every year since the City's incorporation in 1973. Our TOT and Sales Tax, which comprises over 50% of our annual revenue has shown excellent growth. We retain reserves equal to one year's budget in the event of an economic downturn along with funds for emergency preparedness and capital improvements.
I am grateful to have been a part of the growth and enthusiasm of living in the 92270 Zip Code. As I have previously stated, our brand has never been stronger.
I extend my very best to our new Mayor Charles Townsend, who was sworn in on April 20, 2017. I know that Charlie will be an outstanding Mayor and hope you join me in wishing our new Mayor great success.
I thank you for the many calls, emails, letters and faxes during the past year. I have attempted to reply to every one of them so forgive me if I missed any. Our rotation system allows me to remain on the city council along with my other four colleagues and thus I am afforded the privilege to continue to serve our great city. I can always be reached through the City of Rancho Mirage at email@example.com or (760) 324-4511.
Thanks and once again for allowing me to be of service.
My very best wishes,
Latest News and Headlines
Mayor Ted Weill Gives Rancho Mirage State of the City Address April 7, 2017
For the city of Rancho Mirage, the future is bright.
"Our brand is the strongest it has ever been," Rancho Mirage Mayor Ted Weill told a crowd of about 250 people attending the annual state of the city address on Wednesday. "I am happy to say the state of the city of Rancho Mirage is excellent and will continue to thrive now and into the future." ... Read Complete Article
Construction on Rancho Mirage observatory begins December 7, 2016
It all started with an idea. Rancho Mirage resident Marilyn Bauer suggested an observatory during a community meeting three years ago. Funding for the project was approved in June of 2015. Now the city is taking cues from Los Angeles and bringing astronomy to the people. ... Read Complete Article
Rancho Mirage Gives its Dogs New Place to Play December 1, 2016
Tails were wagging as dogs patiently waited for the gates of their new park in Rancho Mirage to open Thursday afternoon. ... Read Complete Article
2nd valley city gives $10k to families of fallen officers October 24, 2016
The city of Rancho Mirage has donated $10,000 to the families of the two Palm Springs police officers killed on duty earlier this month. ... Read Complete Article
rancho mirage reports higher surplus than expected October 21, 2016
Rancho Mirage finished the past fiscal year with a $2.4 million surplus – more than double what was originally expected.
When the 2015-16 budget was first adopted, the city projecteda $1.2 million surplus which was downgraded to about $562,000 mid-year ...Read Complete Article
ted weill looks ahead as rancho mirage's new mayor May 9, 2016
Keeping Rancho Mirage fiscally fit and continuing his focus on boosting economic development are the two primary goals of Ted Weill over the next 12 months, as he serves his first term as the city's mayor.
"Most important, we want to make certain that our revenue remains solid," said Weill, a retired developer who rotated into the position on April 12, just days after being re-elected to his second term on the City Council.... Read Complete Article