Coachella to revitalize downtown businesses for earthquake safety, looks

Coachella to revitalize businesses from inside out for safety and looks

COACHELLA, Calif. - If you go down 6th Street in Coachella, you'll spot these dilapidated buildings. Many of them and others occupied by businesses were built in the 1920's.

The city's made major improvements to help improve its downtown in the past few years, but more work needs to be done. And that's why the city approved a $100,000 Structural Property Improvement Grant Program, to revitalize the businesses and vacant buildings from the inside out with the help of property owners.

"If those were repaired it'd make everything look a lot nicer," said Joel Casillas, owner of Casillas Family Funeral Home in Coachella.

The program will use public and private money to fix the structures of several buildings and retrofit them to comply with the city's earthquake safety ordinance.

Exterior improvements include new signs, paint, outside dining areas, decorative lighting and new windows. The goal is to have the buildings meet safety standards and provide a safe and beautiful area for people to shop, dine and create new businesses.

"When people have a vacant building it's a missed opportunity of jobs, a missed opportunity to make money and create business," said Coachella Mayor Pro Tem Steven Hernandez. "Our hope is to start to improve these businesses, storefronts and buildings to create a vibrant downtown."

Based on the size of the property and improvements needed, grantees may be eligible for up to $20,000 in forgivable matching grants.

"We hope it's enough that will motivate our property owners to take advantage of it. It is a matching grant and it's money they can use to help invest in their properties," said Mark Weber, city economic manager.

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