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Stretch of Avenue 51 in Indio to be renamed Haagen Way

City of Indio

A stretch of Avenue 51 in Indio will soon be known as Haagen Way. City councilors approved the renaming at a Wednesday night meeting, in honor and at the request of Alex Haagen IV. The Haagen family owns the Empire Polo Club, home of the Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals.

The family is credited by the city in a staff report for "significant contributions to the community resulting from being the property owners of the venue site that hosts world-renowned music and art festivals in the City of Indio, such as the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and Stagecoach Festival, which attracts more than 100,000 concertgoers over three weekends every spring."

A resident named Vanessa Rivera was among several people who spoke in public comment in objection to the renaming. "It's these festivals along with some cities and some City of Indio policy that has led to locals like me being priced out of the kind of neighborhood I grew up in," Rivera said. "There's an obvious housing crisis connected to the festivals. Many Indio houses for sale aren't marketed to local residents anymore but advertised as ready for short-term rentals for the festivals or not for permanent residents. This proposal to change the street name feels like a disconnect to this crisis."

Councilmember Elaine Holmes spoke in support of the proposed change, saying that it reflects "a community member that has brought a lot to the city -- to the sleepy town that had a lot of blighted areas, who first brought in the polo matches, who has made a significant, beyond significant investment, in our mall, who bought the concerts which carry with it 'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,' but at the end of the day, they have brought our city ... some economic vitality that we never had before."

Jonathan Becerra, who is running for a seat on the Indio City Council in District 3, asked for the decision to be tabled, saying "Streets are important. What we name our streets are important. It reflects our culture, our community as a whole."

News Channel 3 reported last week that Alex Haagen IV submitted a request to rename part of the available public right-of-way on Avenue 51, between Madison Street and Monroe Street, to Haagen Way.

Mayor Pro Tem Oscar Ortiz, who voiced concerns about the renaming, was the sole vote against the motion, which passed 3 -1. There are "a lot of very important community figures that we failed to name in these streets," Ortiz said, suggesting the council consider "figures that are important to our native history here, our Cahuilla history, and focusing on those kinds of things as a priority for renaming streets."

The effective date of the street name change will be November 21, 2022.

The estimated cost to the city is approximately $600, which is the cost to place new street signage.

The Empire Polo Club

The Empire Polo Club and Goldenvoice, Coachella's parent company, which own the majority of the properties that would be affected by the street name change, are in support of the proposal.

The Empire Polo Club has been home to the Coachella Valley Arts & Music Festival since its inception in 1999. It also hosts its country music counterpart, Stagecoach. That music festival first took place on the grounds in 2007.

The Haagen Family also operates world-class polo leagues during the winter season, attracting players from around the world, and year-round hosts corporate meetings and private gatherings.

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KESQ News Team

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