Fool me once, shame on you. Twice a fool, shame on me.
We fear that Palm Springs is about to be fooled again by College of the Desert. The townspeople should not stand for this.
Palm Springs has sent the College of the Desert a $5.7 million offer to buy just under 120 acres of land in the city’s north end, once COD’s West Valley campus. The situation? COD must agree to build its long-proposed West Valley campus at its current proposed location, the former site of the Palm Springs Mall, and operate within the originally planned scope.
But this is the same land that Palm Springs bought and gave to COD a decade ago. The city purchased the land from the Department of the Interior for $2.1 million, then transferred it to COD at no cost in 2010 with the intention of building a COD campus.
COD was later withdrawn from the site saying it was not developable.
Regardless of COD’s sense of honor or shame, he would simply return the package that was originally a gift to the city. Instead, the school is trying to sell to a property developer, Watermark Homes.
But the catch is Palm Springs has an advantage in the deal — no homes can be built unless it changes the land from its current “educational” designation to residential use.
The offer is contingent on COD opening the campus at the old mall to students “on or about December 2025”. The city said this date is consistent with current COD schedules. However, a facility update presented at the most recent COD Board of Trustees meeting estimated that the first parts of the campus would likely not open until 2027 or 2028.
On August 4, the timelines got even muddier in the community forum.
Good to see Palm Springs trying to put pressure on COD to get the mall plan back on track. But we think this is giving too much, too soon, with too few safeguards.
Palm Springs for COD: Hey, we’ll fix that land and you can sell it to a developer after the new campus opens at the old Palm Springs Mall. Until then, no deal and no dice.
This would save $5.7 million in taxpayer money, and put more pressure on COD to move forward with the campus plans without delay.
Otherwise, Palm Springs will have to let COD sit and mature — as taxpayers and students in the West Valley have been doing for years while waiting for a new campus they’ll pay for.