PALM DESERT – Sidewalks, public art, even the lights on the trees would have been improved under a renovation plan on El Paseo. Much of it has been around for 15 years.
The total cost for renovations is around $4.5 million.
The city council just voted the idea down. Councilwoman Cindy Finerty called the idea “pretty pricey.” But the council remains split.
When asked how disappointed he was, Mayor Bob Spiegel responded, “Whenever I don’t get my way, I’m disappointed. But it will happen eventually. I’m sure.”
We asked some of the tourists we found if they think El Paseo even needs a few million dollars in improvements.
One responded, “I don’t think it does. We enjoy coming here for the atmosphere it is.”
Another said, “Spend money in infrastructure. Infrastructure employs people. It’s good for the economy. Go for it.”
Construction continues, slowly, on the El Paseo Village shopping center. There’s still a few businesses planning to come in to El Paseo while a few are calling it quits.
Some of the millions of dollars would go to widening the crosswalkseight feet on each side. They want to create a plaza-like atmosphere. But are those taxpayer dollars well spent?
Bert Bruning, owner of Palm Desert Tobacco, sees around 60 people walk in a day. He says the renovation ideas are one way to a create a more pedestrian-friendly El Paseo.
“I’d love to see it. I’d like to see some more of a pedestrian street then people ripping up and down the street real fast.” says Bruning.
But, for now, that’s not going to happen.
Bruning adds, “The economy the way it is right now, from a business perspective, I’d like to see it right away, but I know it makes no sense to do something like that at this time.”