Residents, businesses and city officials in Cathedral City are calling on College of the Desert to stick to its plans to build an automotive training center there.
The Roadrunner Motors training center is one of the projects the school has put on hold, along with a Palm Springs campus, amid questions about the use of hundreds of millions of dollars in bond money that voters approved.
The "Build It Here" rally is being held Saturday morning at the Cathedral City Festival Lawn near city hall. It starts at 9 a.m.
Organizers of the rally said COD excluded the public from its decision-making process when, last October, school officials announced they were evaluating alternative locations for Roadrunner Motors.
Andy Jessup, Jr., president of Cathedral City Auto Center, said he wants to put some pressure on College of the Desert to deliver on its earlier promises because it provides a local pipeline for in-demand auto industry workers.
"I would like COD to reconsider their their decision-making to relocate the Roadrunner school and and continue with their commitment to invest in Cathedral City," Jessup said. "Offers opportunity for those that are high school educated or have a two-year degree to come in and learn a trade, earn a very desirable income, provide for their families."
In Fall 2019, COD bought a parcel of land for the project adjacent to the Cathedral City Auto Mall. Earlier this year, officials switched gears after identifying expensive challenges to the site including extensive grading, massive storm drain improvements, and a traffic light on Highway 111.
COD President Martha Garcia said the additional funding necessary would put the project more than $13 million over budget.
Cathedral City submitted several alternative sites, but COD is now also considering a site in Indio near the I-10 Auto Mall.
Director of Economic Development in Cathedral City Stone James said millions of taxpayer dollars had already been spent purchasing land and designing architectural plans.
"They bought an ideal piece of property within Cathedral City. They made the right decision then, and I think they need to make the right decision now and bring that program back online," James said. "We want them to move forward on the property that's best for COD, that's best for our residents, and best for the valley."
Friday, College of the Desert officials announced a special board meeting on Wednesday, April 6th at 3:30 p.m. to discuss the future site of Roadrunner Motors.
The board will not take action then though. COD leaders are expected to vote on a site at its regularly scheduled board meeting on Friday, April 22, at 9:30 a.m.