Hello Again Constituents and Neighbors,
First of all I want to wish you all a wonderful summer.
So far this year has been quite dynamic for the City so I feel it is time to update you on the latest developments and activities effecting our city. I hope you find this update informative and helpful. Should you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact me by email or, as many of you know, I am always available by telephone.
The City's Financial Projections
Rancho Mirage is now debt free. City Council voted on March 3rd to use reserve funds to pay off a $3.6 million balance from a 2005 bond, saving the city more than $1.6 million in interest.
On June 18th the Rancho Mirage City Council unanimously adopted budgets for the next two years. The new budgets include the purchase and outfit of a new ambulance in fiscal year 2015-16 and going into service the following year. Also of significant note is the approval of $100,000 set aside for rebates in the Turf Conversion Program beginning July 1st. (Additional program details follow later in this update).
Rancho Mirage sponsors several environmental programs focused on providing sustainable tips, resources & information targeted at moving our city towards a more sustainable eco-friendly city. I would like to draw your attention to two special programs aimed at assisting both you and the City in reducing water consumption during the current water shortage:
Additional Environmental Programs Available to Residents and Businesses
As a resident of the City you should also be aware of and take advantage of these other environmental programs:
Rancho Mirage Community Park Expansion and Amphitheater
This grand expansion is underway. The existing park is being enlarged by approximately three acres to the west and includes construction of an outdoor amphitheater.
The new amphitheater will include terrace seating that will accommodate an audience of up to 600 guests. The stage will be a dramatically covered platform supported by extensive back-of-the-house facilities including restrooms for performers and the public.
Most of the park's existing amenities - basketball and tennis courts - will remain. The children's play area will be upgraded with new equipment, exercise stations will be installed, and pickle ball courts will be added to the recreation options at the park.
Since initial design, a new grand arrival drop-off and vehicular turnaround feature have been added to the Plan as well as expanded parking and pedestrian promenades. Extensive new drought tolerant plant material, a state-of-the-art automated efficient irrigation system and LED landscape and parking lot lighting systems will be installed.
More information and artist renderings are available at this City link.
Senior residents of Rancho Mirage can participate in a broad range of activities found throughout the valley. The two closest senior centers open to all residents of Rancho Mirage include: the Joslyn Cove Communities Senior Center and The Cathedral Center. Both offer numerous classes and social activities. For information on events and services at the Joslyn Cove Communities Senior Center please visit their website or call (760) 340-3220. For information on The Cathedral Center visit their website or call (760) 321-1548.
Senior residents are also encouraged to consider participating in volunteer programssuch as the Rancho Mirage Public Library, Citizens on Patrol Services Program (COPS), Children's Discovery Museum and Eisenhower Medical Center.
The Rancho Mirage Public Library and Community Cultural Commission also host a variety of programs targeting and for the benefit of seniors.
Rancho Mirage Golf Program
Since December 1, 2013, the City's Golf Club has been administered by the Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa.
Membership eligibility for Rancho Mirage residents is issued by the City of Rancho Mirage at City Hall. Rancho Mirage members must receive an official City document verifying that the resident qualifies under the City's current proof of residency requirements. There are no fees charged to residents for this service. To review eligibility requirements and download an application click here.
Golf Membership Cards are issued by the Westin at the Pete Dye Golf Shop. Any and all inquiries for the City Golf Club membership should be directed to The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa, Pete Dye Golf Shop at (760) 328-3198. For more information on our Golf Program please visit this City link.
The City contracts with the Riverside County Sheriff's Department for police services. Services are coordinated from our local police station located at 73-705 Gerald Ford Drive. To learn more about the men and women of the Rancho Mirage Police Department please visit this City link.
IMPORTANT NUMBERS to keep on hand:
The City of Rancho Mirage provides a full time fire department that has state-of-the-art equipment and highly trained and qualified personnel. Through a contract with the Riverside County Fire Department, our residents are provided with fire suppression, fire prevention, fire investigation, fire safety education and paramedic services. Each of the City's two fire stations are staffed 24 hours a day - 365 days a year. Each fire engine is staffed with 3 firefighters and the paramedic unit is staffed with 2 paramedic firefighters on an advanced life support ambulance. Two fire stations are located within the City of Rancho Mirage.
For more information about the Rancho Mirage Fire Department please visit this City link.
Community Development Projects
Sunnylands Expansion Sunnylands is proposing an expansion project to the west of the Visitor's Center that includes a 15,000 sqft administrative building, 7,300 sqft archive storage building, 13,800 sqft operations building, 8,300 sqft general storage building and an 1,500 sqft loading building. The total square footage is about 45,700 sqft Carports with solar are proposed along with water efficient desert appropriate landscaping. The architect for the expansion is Lance O'Donnel, reknowned for his 21st century take on modernism.
If you are new to Rancho Mirage you may be wondering "What is Sunnylands"?
Sunnylands is the 200-acre estate in Rancho Mirage, California that was the West Coast home of Ambassador and Mrs. Walter H. Annenberg. Completed in 1966, Sunnylands was designed by architect A. Quincy Jones with interiors by William Haines and Ted Graber. The 25,000-square-foot midcentury modern house is located on landscaped grounds that include a private golf course, tennis court, swimming pool, and 11 fishing lakes.
In 2001, Ambassador and Mrs. Annenberg established The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands to own and operate Sunnylands after their deaths. The Annenbergs left Sunnylands to be forever used to advance world peace and facilitate international agreement by continuing the tradition of convening powerful global figures for private retreats during which they will discuss ways in which problems can be resolved, difficulties overcome, and solutions reached. To this end, Sunnylands has already welcomed seven United States presidents, British royalty, international political figures, and cultural and entertainment legends to its' roster of guests.
Sunnylands Center & Gardens will reopen to the public Thursday, September 24, 2015. Get more information here.
An observatory in Rancho Mirage is one step closer to reality after our City Council approved funds for the telescope and dome at our meeting on June 4th. The city has put aside $1.7 million from Redevelopment Agency bond proceeds to build the observatory at the Rancho Mirage Public Library.
The telescope building, designed by local architect Charles Martin, will be next to the library, adjacent to the community room. On a deck surrounding the building, amateur astronomers will be able to affix their own telescopes to permanent cement poles. The planetarium would be developed within the interior of the library community room, which seats more than 300 people, and would project what the telescope is viewing onto the planetarium screen. The idea was presented to Dana Hobart (Mayor Pro Tem at the time) at a Tourism Advisory Committee meeting last year after asking the group what they wanted to see in the city. An observatory subcommittee consisting of Mayor Dana Hobart and Councilman Charles Townsend is continuing to work with city staff to provide direction on the project.
Construction is expected to start in September and be completed by March. An architect is preparing design plans that will be presented to the city's Architectural Review Board at a date yet to be determined. Once approved, the project will go out to bid.
I hope you have found this update useful. If you would like more information on the latest building projects and activities effecting our city I urge you to visit my website, www.TedWeill.com, and the City's website, www.RanchoMirageCA.gov.
Thank you for your support and for electing me to be your representative on the City Council. I will work every day on your behalf!
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