Ward 1 - January Update

Ward 1 Februrary Update
CM Erin Edwards at Lunar Fest in January.

Dear Neighbors,

The Mayor and I welcomed the Lunar New Year Celebration in Downtown (pictured right), and there is much to look forward to in the Year of the Tiger already. City Hall is opening on Valentine's Week for regular operations, and City meetings will return to hybrid format (we hope to see you in Council Chambers.) Mark your calendars for opportunities to discuss inclusionary housing, downtown parking, new housing developments, and the retail sale of cannabis in Riverside, and the Mayor's State of the City. Join us in celebrating Black History Month in Fairmount Park on February 12th and the Dickens Fest on February 26 & 27th. Finally, catch a sneak peak of Arcade Roasters' Downtown Location and The Cheech.

In service,


Virtual Office Hours Graphic

Join me from the comfort of your home for virtual office hours on February 16th from 7:30-8:30 PM. As always, I look forward to hearing your ideas and questions!

VIRTUAL Office Hour Minis

Join Paloma on February 23rd from 5:30-6 PM for Virtual Mini Office Hours to submit service requests or check in on existing inquiries. 

I toured a cannabis retailer. Here's what I learned.

Councilmember Edwards visits cannabis retailer, Authentic 909.

Since the Economic Development Committee is re-evaluating bans on retail cannabis sales in Riverside on 2/17, I wanted to do my homework and share my findings with you. As I toured Authentic 909, a (woman-owned!) cannabis retailer in San Bernardino, I thought about how retailers can benefit our community, allow for innovative revenue resources, and foster the safe and well-regulated purchase of cannabis. 

  • Cannabis retailers prioritize community safety by employing security guards, requiring multiple ID checks before purchase, and installing security cameras surveilled by local police departments. 
  • Cannabis products are tested and treated with care for safe consumption. The seed-to-shelf pipeline ensures products are tested for chemicals and are safe to consume. 
  • Retailers contribute to local economies. Cannabis retailers pay taxes to the State and City. 
  • If Riverside allows cannabis retailers in the City, we can control how many retailers there are--and we can decide how we bring that tax revenue back to you. 

What do you think? Share your thoughts on this topic before the meeting here, or tune into the meeting and share your ideas via phone. 

The Future of Food Trucks

Patrons at a food truck in Riverside County

Riverside currently bans food trucks. If we changed this policy, what could it look like?

Allowing food trucks could help local entrepreneurs thrive and support our local economy. On the Council's Land Use Committee, Councilmember Edwards has explored changing the City's food truck rules to ensure clear vending times, restrictions in certain parks, and ways to keep merchants and pedestrians safe. Learn about this and tune into the discussion at the March 15th City Council Meeting at 6:15 PM. We want to hear from you!

Housing You Can Afford

Key chain graphic

The Housing and Homelessness Committee will discuss Inclusionary Housing on February 28th at 3:30PM.

Councilmember Edwards has spent the last 6 months working on an inclusionary housing policy. Why? Our community thrives when  people have housing options that don’t cost more than 30% of their paychecks. This means that students at our local universities won't leave our community in search of affordable housing when they graduate (no more brain drain!) People who work in the city can afford to live in Riverside. Neighbors won't be priced out of their neighborhoods. When people can afford to live here, they'll invest in our local economy.

Affordable housing is a win-win. 

We can't make this policy without hearing your input. In an inclusionary housing policy:

  • What percentage of developments should be affordable?
  • Should developers be allowed to opt out of building affordable units and pay a fee instead? (Known as an "in lieu fee")
  • If so, what is the right fee?
  • Should the program be phased in, or start right away?
  • What else can the City provide to incentivize affordable housing?

On February 28, our consultant will share the research on this topic and provide a round up of the community input from stakeholder meetings. Join the meeting in-person or virtually, and reach out to share your thoughts.

Garages 1 & 2 on Orange Street may get a makeover. 

Garages 1 & 2 Renderings - brick facade buildings

At the 2/17 Economic Development Committee meeting, we'll discuss the proposed development of 59 multi-family units and parking at Garages 1 and 2, recently declared as surplus by City Council. 

25% of the proposed units will be affordable. With ground-floor retail space included, Riversiders can look forward to a new spot to shop. Garage 1 will serve as private and public parking

Learn more about this project by tuning into the meeting here, or join us in Council Chambers to see the presentation in person. Share your thoughts here.  

Free Parking Isn't Free

The City is proposing to keep parking garages safe, set smart parking rates, and bring the Parking Fund into the black. 

See the chart below for the proposed changes to Downtown Parking. Note a Tuesday Discount Day, all garages having the same hours of operation, a daily rate increase based on demand, and phasing out free parking.
Find the full report here. Tune into the conversation during the February 15th evening session at City Council.

Parking ecosystem table
parking ecosystem pt. 2

New Spots on the Block: Arcade and The Cheech

Councilmember Edwards with Arcade Roasters Team

Arcade Downtown is opening in March. Boasting competitive culinary talent from around our region, Arcade will offer cappuccinos by day and delicious meals and libations by night. Welcome to Downtown, Arcade!

CM Edwards looking over the zocalo at The Cheech.


The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art and Culture is close to completion. Soon, the wall behind Councilmember Edwards (pictured right) will have a mural from Mexico-based artists, the De La Torre brothers. The future meets our past through features like the beautiful restored staircase and exposed brick throughout the building. The Cheech will open on June 18th after facing COVID-related construction delays. 

Coming to the dais

*For meeting information, videos, agendas, and e-comment submissions, visit us here.

Black History Celebration in Fairmount Park - February 12
Grant workshop: February 16th
Mayor's State of the City happening on February 24th