The Department of Community and Economic Development is a small department with a wide portfolio of projects and activities that benefit all the residents and businesses in Palm Springs. The department administers the Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG), federal grant funding to non-profit organizations benefiting low and moderate residents, as well as home repair assistance program benefiting many low-income homeowners in the City.
Managing the activities of the former Community Redevelopment Agency, dissolved by the State of California in 2011, is also a function of the department. Even with the dissolution of redevelopment by the State, the City has also developed a number of assistance programs for businesses, including a façade improvement and remodel program and other programs to revitalize vacant properties in under-served areas of the community, which are managed by the department.
Other economic development activities include handling the City’s oversight of the Coachella Valley Innovation Hub (iHub) and Accelerator Campus, which provide high-level assistance to businesses locating to the City of Palm Springs.
Downtown Palm Springs is one of the City’s major economic priorities, and many downtown projects fall under the purview of the department, including the Downtown Revitalization Project, the renovation of the Plaza Theater, and the development of a number of major new hotels and mixed-use projects. One of the City’s primary economic tools, the Hotel Incentive Program, is also administered by Economic Development.
The City owns and manages a number of properties, often historic buildings, leased to other entities, including the Desert Arts Center, Palm Canyon Theatre, the historic Village Green and the Palm Springs Visitors Center. Economic Development also manages the Palm Springs Buzz trolley service which runs Thursday through Sunday, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.
Finally, the Public Arts program is also managed by the department. Acquisition of new artwork and maintenance of the public art collection is the program’s primary responsibility. The program also creates and manages a number of events and public education programs furthering the cultural diversity and vitality in the city.