City looks back on achievements in past year - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

City looks back on achievements in past year

December 25th, 2021 SanTan Sun News
City looks back on achievements in past year
Community
2

By the City of Chandler

Back in 2020, we were hoping 2021 would bring an end to the worldwide pandemic. But to our surprise, it’s proving to be resilient and continues to evolve. The same can be said of our residents, nonprofits and businesses.

As a City, we haven’t slowed down. In fact, it’s gotten busier with new projects and initiatives. Our amenities have reopened to the public, bringing a sense of normalcy. Staff also continues to serve residents through virtual programming and online appointments, but more out of convenience than necessity.

Chandler has proven once again to be a place with continued growth as a diverse population (we have the receipts from the 2020 Census). We’re also fortunate that Chandler remains a viable City where businesses are choosing to relocate and expand their operations. The major highlight was Intel’s announcement of the largest private investment (of $20 billion dollars) in state history with the expansion of two additional fabs located in Chandler, adding thousands of high-wage jobs to our City.    

Let’s review some notable highlights from 2021.

January

For the 18th annual Regional Unity event, Chandler and other Valley cities came together to host a “Unity ArtWalk: A Visual Journey of Diversity, Culture and Equity.” Instead of the large celebration, each city compiled an online map of signature art pieces for the public to enjoy as a safe outing.

The City hosted a City Council installation ceremony to swear-in Councilmember Mark Stewart and newly elected Councilmembers Christine Ellis and OD Harris. Councilmember Ellis became the first Black woman to serve on the Chandler City Council. Also, Councilmember Stewart was unanimously selected to serve as vice mayor.

Chandler created an incentive program for new landlords and property managers who provided rental opportunities for Housing Choice Voucher families.

The City’s Economic Development Division relaunched its COVID relief program, I Choose Chandler Business Hiring and Retention Program, which supported businesses that kept workers on the payroll as they adjusted to revenue losses and business disruptions caused by COVID-19. More than $5 million was distribute.

Mayor Kevin Hartke kicked off the first CIVIC cohort (of 23 participants) that featured behind-the-scenes tours and department presentations on how they function.

The Community Services Department launched a new park search filter on the City’s website.

February

State Forty Eight expanded its headquarters and retail location in Uptown Chandler. This expansion added screen printing and embroidery services to support growing business demands.

Honeywell committed to a long-term lease for more than 150,000 square feet in West Chandler to produce critically important PPE — specifically millions of N95 masks for healthcare and government use — providing a significant job infusion to Chandler.

March

The City kicked off its Emergency Rental Assistance Program to distribute $7.9 million from the U.S. Treasury Department to Chandler residents who have been affected by the pandemic and are struggling to pay rent and utilities. In response to the pandemic, the City’s nonprofit partners, AZCEND and the Salvation Army Chandler Corps, have distributed a combined $4.6 million in rent/mortgage assistance and an additional $1.6 million in utility payments to more than 2,100 Chandler households. Also, another $56,000 was given towards payment of residential water utility bills bringing relief to more than 200 customers.

City Manager Marsha Reed retired after a 38-year career in public service with eight years in Chandler and a combined 30 years in Texas.

The largest private investment of any kind in Arizona history happened in Chandler with Intel Corporation’s announcement that it would invest $20 billion to expand its semiconductor manufacturing operations by building two new fabrication facilities at its Ocotillo Campus. The investment will result in 3,000 high-paying tech jobs, 3,000 construction jobs and 15,000 indirect jobs.

Northrop Grumman announced they had been awarded a contract by the Missile Defense Agency for the Next Generation Inceptor program. The contract is for the rapid development and flight test of an interceptor designed to defend the nation against the most complex long-ranged threats.

April

Mechanical Keyboards, one of the largest providers of mechanical keyboards in the world, expanded their business operations to Chandler.

May

City Council approved a resolution to call a Special Bond Election to be held on Nov. 2.

A public memorial service was held for fallen Chandler Police Officer Christopher Farrar, who was killed during a lengthy pursuit that started in Pinal County and tragically ended in the neighboring town of Gilbert.

Chandler inducted two new members into Celebration Plaza at Tumbleweed Park. Hal “Tex” Earnhardt, Jr. and Glenn McCollum were honored at a ceremony celebrating their impact on the community.

CVS Health announced a recent $6 million investment in new tenant improvements, and an additional 50,000 square feet of space at its flagship Aetna One Advocate office along the Price Corridor. The location will have the capacity to serve more than 600,000 Aetna members. The company also will hire an additional 500 clinical and service professional positions within the next one to two years, totaling more than 700 employees for the site.

Chandler announced a hiring incentive between $2,000-$5,000 (based on the position) to bolster the recruitment of police officers, detention officers and dispatchers for Chandler Police.

June

The Chandler City Council appointed Alicia Skupin to the position of Presiding City Magistrate to lead the Chandler Municipal Court. Skupin has served as a Magistrate for the Court since October 2014. She’s also the first woman and Latina to serve in this role.

The Chandler City Council approved the City’s annual budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021-22 in the amount of $1.058B and the 10-Year Capital Improvement Program budget in the amount of $1.3B.

Through an annual allocations process, the City’s Neighborhood Resources Department administered $1.8 million in human services grants that were awarded to 35 nonprofits that help Chandler’s families in crisis, special populations and youth.

The City reached an agreement with the Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District to under-ground a 2.65-mile segment of a 230kV transmission system in South Chandler.

Council directed City staff to include review of its draft non-discrimination resolution as part of an upcoming diversity, equity and inclusion study that will include public outreach.

July

After a national search, Chandler announced the appointment of Joshua Wright as City Manager.

Bestway® announced that the company acquired a new building and will move its U.S. headquarters location to Chandler. The company manufactures an array of inflatable outdoor and leisure products, selling thousands of products in more than 100 countries.

Netherlands-based ASML, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of chip-making equipment, has signed a seven-year, 38,000 SF office sublease at Chandler Freeways Crossing on the Price Corridor.

August

The Council adopted the 2021 Parks Strategic Master Plan, which provides a roadmap for equitable future development and improvement of park facilities and opportunities.

The Council approved a Shared Mobility Licensing Program, allowing rentable electric scooters and bicycles in Chandler. The program requires shared mobility companies to obtain an approved license agreement with the City prior to staging and renting devices within city right of way.

The Council authorized the purchase of the Overstreet Parking Garage, a five-story 113,100 square foot public parking garage, located at 150 N. Oregon St. in Downtown Chandler.

September

The City launched Voices of Chandler, The Podcast,  giving listeners an inside scoop on all things Chandler, from history to the arts to downtown.

Chandler Senior Center held a grand opening event for the Center’s new outdoor garden space. The new courtyard garden contains three garden beds, one for herbs, roses and vegetables, and three portable garden beds.

October

Chandler Public Library officially opened its new makerspace, The Makery. The Makery is a state-of-the-art space where the community can turn an idea into reality, develop a product or start a business, and create something they only dared to dream up.

Council authorized staff to hire a consultant to perform a diversity, equity and inclusion assessment.

Pickleball Kingdom announced it will open the first dedicated indoor pickleball facility in Arizona and the largest in the United States.

The Chandler Airpark Area Area Plan was officially adopted and will serve as a guide for the next 20 years to the area surrounding the municipal airport. The last update was completed in 1998.

November

In an effort to build a strong brand identity, the City installed seven, 15-foot signs that read “West Chandler” near major intersections throughout the area.The installations were placed in an area that is home to more than 630 businesses which employ more than 29,000 workers and is part of an effort to strengthen West Chandler’s image.

Chandler hosted a Field of Honor Memorial ribbon cutting ceremony on Veterans Day. The Field of Honor is the first veterans memorial of its size and scope in the Southeast Valley, reflecting on the enduring sacrifices made by the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces. The Field of Honor also is the new home for the F86d Sabre Dog Korean War-era plane that was moved from Downtown Chandler.

The City held a Special Bond Election on Nov. 2 and Chandler voters overwhelmingly supported the $272.7 million dollar bond request. The bond election approval now authorizes the City to issue bonds to fund capital projects planned in the 10-year Capital Improvement Program.

Chandler became the first city in Arizona to test blockchain technology, which allowed residents to experience what voting using a mobile device could look like.

December

City Council approved an ordinance to form a Military and Veterans Affairs Commission. The Commission will advise the Council on veteran programs, policies and practices and will act as a community forum for Chandler’s active-duty military members and veterans.

The Mayor and Council hosted a dedication ceremony of Chandler newest park, Lantana Ranch, located at the northeast corner of McQueen and Appleby roads

Accolades abound in 2021

Chandler was among the top cities on many lists this year. Special recognitions included:

• WalletHub – #13 Best City to Find a Job, #16 Best Cities for People with Disabilities, #17 Best Places for Veterans to Live, #21 Best Places to Raise a Family, #28 Best Cities for Recreation, #23 Safest Cities, #49 Happiest Cities, #64 Best Cities to Start a Business, #96 Greenest Cities in America

• SmartAsset – #11 Best Cities to Work from Home, #14 Best Cities for Women in Technology, #15 Where Millennials Are Moving

• Storage Café – #3 Best Cities for an Active Lifestyle

• Livability – #29 Best Places to Live in America

• MoneyGeek – #19 Cities where Latinas are doing well financially

• DrivingTests.org – #20 America’s Safest Cities for Young Drivers

• Arizona Institute of Architects award for shade structure art at Public Safety Training Center

Anupa Jain – Environmental Stewardship Award – Arizona Water Association

Traci Conaway – Recycler of the Year – Arizona Recycling Coalition

Christina Pryor – Carlton P. Parker Award – National Procurement Institute

Center for Digital Government – #4 Digital Cities award population 250k – 500k

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