When I first heard about plans for the CV Link, a bike path traversing 50 miles between Palm Springs and Coachella, I was thrilled. Imagine being able to bike in the scenic outdoors instead of going to the gym for your daily exercise. Imagine being able to share the beauty of the desert with your guests. Imagine younger generations choosing to bike instead of drive a car – because they can do it safely.
As a resident of Thunderbird Heights, I’m concerned that Rancho Mirage residents might lose out on this vision because our City Hall is engaged in a vitriolic fight against the CV link.
I’ve attended meetings and tried to understand where Mayor Dana Hobart is coming from. But where he sees inconvenience, I see an opportunity. There will be a multitude of residents who will enjoy this path and the addition of something new and spectacular will bring even more tourists to our valley. Mayor Hobart has said he is trying to preserve the integrity of the developments on Highway 111, but take a look at the businesses along Highway 111, whose empty parking lots indicate they could benefit from additional customers. Some potential re-landscaping and minor changes along the Thunderbird communities and Whitewater River seem well worth it for those results.
Our city’s leadership doesn’t seem to be representing people like me, who will want to buy property next to a bike path that offers them easy access to glide onto the path right from their home. Some of the issues that Mayor Hobart is raising are valid concerns. I only wish he was raising these issues from a place of support and not opposition. Instead of drawing a line in the sand and dividing us further, I would like to see our mayor, with all his experience and intelligence, refocus his energy and help the Coachella Valley Association of Governments figure out a way to make the CV link a reality.
The demographic of the Coachella Valley is changing rapidly. Riverside County is one of the fastest growing counties in the nation. With growth comes change. We are no longer only a community of retirees and vacationers. We are a diverse community, and we’re seeing more and more of our children – who have grown up here – decide to stay here to live, work and raise their families. We don’t need obstructionists who will fight change; we need people who will work together to plan for those changes.
As we age, we think not only of ourselves but the next generations. When we age with integrity, we exhibit a willingness to invest in the next generation – a willingness to risk, explore, produce and be open to change. Rancho Mirage City Hall has yet to embrace this change. They've taken our city out of the project – but maybe they'll change course. There’s still time. And since the tourists don’t get a vote, it’s up to us residents to embrace change when we cast our votes for the April 12 election. Let’s not be shortsighted and stunt our growth potential by resisting forward momentum.