DESERT HOT SPRINGS - City and county leaders broke ground Friday on what will be a 26,000 square-foot community health and wellness center.
"This will be an iconic building in the city of Desert Hot Springs," said City Manager Rick Daniels.
The center will provide people with information and services promoting a healthy lifestyle.
"Desert Hot Springs has the worst health indicators of any community in the Coachella Valley. We have a higher instance of diabetes, obesity, stroke, heart disease. That's borne out of poverty and lack of access to medical care," said Daniels.
Officials say the jobs and services that will be provided by the facility are badly needed in a city where unemployment is hovering around 19 percent.
"One of the neediest communities in the county based on per capita income. There's all kinds of reasons to understand we need to focus some attention here," said Riverside County Supervisor John Benoit.
The $12 million facility will include an aquatic center and gymnasium. And located right across the street from Desert Hot Springs High School, it'll also be the new home for the Boys & Girls Club -- which has its own challenges in its current location.
"They don't have the resources, they don't have the visibility. They don't have what we do best. In recreation, arts, computer training and homework. We really can't perform in the current facility. It really doesn't do the job," said Brian Harnik, Vice-President of the Boys & Girls Club of Coachella Valley.
The city says construction will begin within the next month. The center could be completed as early as next May.