The new $80 million project designed to connect the valley is drawing both support and criticism. The Coachella Valley Association of Governments (CVAG) says CV Link will connect the Coachella Valley with a continuous pathway along or near the existing Whitewater River for pedestrians, bicyclists and low-speed electric vehicles. "We live in Indio and would love to be able to go into Palm Springs using our golf cart," said Kathy Medved, an Indio resident.
CVAG presented its plans to a crowd of about 150 people at the Rancho Mirage public library. The 52-mile project would stretch along the Whitewater River wash from Desert Hot Springs to the Salton Sea. "This is a major product that's going to stimulate the economy, provide recreation and health benefits for the entire Coachella Valley," said Tom Kirk, the executive director of CVAG.
The project is estimated to cost about $80 million, 65 of which CVAG says its already raised. Some say the money should be used on other things, while other believe its well worth it. "I think it's a very viable and important project," said Ron Erskine. "People need to stay healthy."
Not everyone sees the benefits, though. Several residents from the Rancho Las Palmas community in Rancho Mirage came to voice their concerns. The current plan puts the path through the country club and golf course. "If it infringes in any way on the golf course, it's a safety issue which is a concern of ours," said Wendell McCullough. "The other is security, it's a gated community."
The other concern some have comes from the recent heavy rains and flooding that hit the valley. Most of the path runs next to the wash, but some areas dip into it where you can find mud and runoff during storms. "There's a very complicated solution to that and it's closing the road for one or two days, which is what we do now for some of the bridges across the wash," said Kirk.
For McCullough, the project presents a simple problem, and one he won't support. "It could be washed out," said McCullough. "You could spend $80 million and have part of your trail washed away."
CVAG says construction's set to begin in two to three years, then it'll be seven years before the path's finished.