The Palm Springs City Council has approved an ordinance aimed at improving the appearance of vacant businesses by requiring art work or historic city photos in street-front windows.
The council voted for 5-0 Wednesday night in the first reading of the Storefront Improvement Program ordinance, said city spokeswoman Amy Blaisdell. The ordinance is expected to be adopted Oct. 7 after its second reading.
According to a city report prepared before the council's vote, “vacant commercial buildings are a major cause and source of blight in both residential and nonresidential neighborhoods, especially when the owner of the building fails to actively maintain and manage the building to ensure that it does not become a liability to the neighborhood or surrounding businesses.”
The ordinance requires property owners to register a building with the city's Building Department within 10 business days of it becoming vacant.
The costs of the program are “anticipated to be modest,” according to a previous report.
The council Wednesday night also voted 5-0 to award a contract to complete construction of the Jackie Lee Houston Plaza Project, which will create a new entry way to the Palm Springs Convention Center.
The project, representing the final phase of the convention center remodel, is projected to cost $522,000, said City Manager David Ready.
“It's to complete the sense of arrival experience,” Ready said. “That's what we were really focusing on a dramatic new front of the convention center.”
The project is expected to be completed in time for the 2010 Palm Springs International Film Festival, he said.
The initial projection was closer to $1 million, but “the bids came in lower than we anticipated,” according to Ready.
The council will approve funding for the construction at the following city council meeting, he said, adding that some private donors are also expected to help.