Changes coming to downtown Indio include new jail and law building

The changes will occur over the next years

PALM DESERT, Calif. - The look of downtown Indio will change over the next three years, as a new jail, law building and other structures are built to support Riverside County's public safety apparatus, the head of the Economic Development Agency said.

``This is the most complex project the county has ever undertaken,'' EDA Director Rob Field told the Board of Supervisors during an off-site board meeting in Palm Desert. ``It's going to be an attractive addition to the city of Indio. It will be appropriate for that location.''

Field outlined the schedule for the East County Detention Center which will contain 1,273 inmate beds, helping relieve capacity constraints at the county's five detention facilities, including the existing Indio Jail, which the ECDC will replace.

According to Field, the county should have a contractor in place and ready to demolish the county administration building on Highway 111 and Oasis Street by January, clearing the site for the ECDC.

Groundbreaking for the detention center is slated for the summer of 2014, with completion sometime in the fall of 2016.

When it's fully operational, the facility will provide employment for 300-plus guards, clerks, technicians and other personnel, according to Field.

Along with the $350 million jail, a County Law Building is going up, providing space for two courtrooms, a law library and housing personnel from the District Attorney's Office and the Office of the Public Defender, according to Field.

The structure will be located at the southwest corner of Highway 111 and Jackson Street, occupying a 5.6-acre lot.

The county broke ground on the East County Emergency Operations Center on July 31, Field said. The facility, to be located on Dr. Carreon Boulevard and Oasis, will feature updated communications systems and other high-tech equipment to be activated in the event of a natural or manmade disaster. The existing operations center is located at the now-vacant Indio sheriff's station.

The final component of the downtown Indio development will be a three-level parking structure containing about 1,000 stalls for use by government employees and the general public. The 24-foot-high enclosure at Plaza Avenue and Oasis will feature rooftop photovoltaic panels to generate electricity on- site.

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