City Council lays out bold vision for Chandler’s future SanTan Sun News

City Council lays out bold vision for Chandler’s future

City Council lays out bold vision for Chandler’s future
Community
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By Kayla Rutledge

Staff Writer

Along with a new logo and tagline, the City Council has made some major changes to its vision for Chandler.

Since February the council and directors of all city departments have collaborated to create a five-year framework for enhancing economic development and bringing more people to Chandler.

The framework helps bridge council members’ vision for Chandler with the departments and policies necessary to make it a reality.

Council envisions for Chandler as a leader in government trust and transparency and fostering a contemporary culture that embraces unity.

The translation of the council’s vision to actual projects is being supported by a recently approved $927 million operating budget and $937 million budget for capital improvement projects.

Community members can expect to see the city focus on infill and redevelopment, innovation and technology, mobility, neighborhoods and quality of life.

Various projects that align with council’s vision for the city include the maintenance of parks, utilities, roads and technology as well as the construction of an airport runway extension and the first phase of Lantana Ranch Park.

Each major theme comes with an umbrella of focus areas department heads can look into for creating the policies council can vote on.

Mayor Kevin Hartke said looking forward, the themes will also provide a framework for future councils to use to guide them in their decision making.

“I’m proud to be laying the groundwork that we are that will set a foundation for Chandler,” said Hartke.

“As future leaders take over our seats, we know that we’ve really done a good job of giving them direction on how to follow this as well as we have with those that have preceded us,” Hartke added.

Redevelopment

The council wants the City to use various marketing tools and economic development strategies to maintain existing businesses as well as plan for future businesses to enter the area.

In order to complete the City’s vision, city departments suggested increasing efforts to repurpose vacant retail spaces and using unique experiences and events that can only be found in Chandler to attract visitors to the area.

The City will also be putting an emphasis on workforce development and providing high-quality educational opportunities to employees. Additionally, the City will be adjusting their approach to infill projects and annexation.

Innovation and technology

Chandler, known for being a test ground for new and innovative technology, has no plans of slowing down on that front any time soon.

The city recognizes high-tech industries are drawn to Chandler for their talented and educated workforce.

Currently, 43 percent of residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher and 92 percent have a high school diploma.

With the population projected to grow by over 48,000 people in the next 11 years, the council wants to continue encouraging large corporations to plant roots in the city.

To do so, the council would like see leveraged partnerships with businesses, departments to continue marketing Chandler as a premier location for the tech industry to set up shop and for the city to invest in smart and sustainable solutions to improve the overall quality of life for residents, businesses and visitors.

“City leadership is dedicated to ensuring a high quality of life, diverse job opportunities and safe neighborhoods that our residents value and have come to expect,” said Hartke in a strategic plan pamphlet.

Through public and private partnerships, participation at the state and national levels and constant civic engagement, we will continue to invest in the necessary improvements and changes as a community of innovation,” Hartke added.

Mobility

City Manager Marsha Reed said the city has done an excellent job in planning arterial street networks that filter traffic into three major highways; however, the council has expressed they want to expand city transportation offerings moving forward.

Council members want projects that provide more convenient connections to the rest of the East Valley while the city ensures safe and well-managed roadways.

They also want to update and modernize the airport to drive economic development, along with create more multi-use paths to connect developments and neighborhoods, and generate “high-tech, multi-model transit options for residents and visitors.”

Neighborhoods

“Chandler boasts a mixture of modern homeowner associations, mature traditional neighborhoods, apartments, condominiums and other housing types,” said Reed.

“To sustain an exceptional quality of life for Chandler residents and keep Chandler safe, clean and beautiful, the preservation and enhancement of neighborhoods is paramount,” Reed added.

The council would like each neighborhood to maintain its own image and character, but wants to take a holistic approach to overall neighborhood improvement.

By coordinating with city departments, nonprofits, business partners, faith agencies and community members, the council wants to generate communities that align with the needs of the people that live there. They also want to promote aesthetics, safety and community vitality.

Quality of Life

Though council’s vision revolves around maintaining and improving the high quality of life for residents, this particular theme, Reed said, “includes a renewed focus on arts, culture and recreation.”

The council wants to see “re-imagined” public spaces that can be used year-round, destination parks and more open spaces. They also want to utilize existing and new partnerships to provide entertainment and recreational fun for families and residents.

Along with the key themes covered by the council, the city’s communications and public affairs department has redone the city’s logo, tag line and brand statement.

“The brand statement is really an identity of who we are now as a community. The vision is an aspiration, a direction, that council has set for the community to go. Our brand is who we are today,” said Communications and Public Affairs director Matt Burdick.

The new brand statement will read, “a safe community that connects people, chooses innovation and inspires excellence,” and was determined after various meetings and public input to gain insight of how residents view their city.

“We’ve been using ‘Chandler the innovation and technology hub of the southwest’. That’s difficult to fit on a business card, so we have condensed that down to something really that is referencing our community today,” Burdick said.

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