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Celebration Plaza at Tumbleweed ParkCelebration Plaza at Tumbleweed Park

Celebration Plaza, a permanent monument near the center of Tumbleweed Park, is a place where the Chandler City Council recognizes organizations or individuals for their civic leadership, public outreach and outstanding personal service and commitment to the community.

 
2013 inductees Coy Payne and the Chandler Lions Club will be
honored in a public ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014, at 9 a.m.
at Celebration Plaza in Tumbleweed Park, 2250 S. Arizona Ave.
(in the event of rain, the event will be moved into 
the nearby Tumbleweed Recreation Center)
   

CELEBRATION PLAZA
 
Celebration Plaza features a fountain and a decorative wall used to display brass plaques honoring honoring those chosen for inclusion. The plaza is at the center of Tumbleweed Park, which is located on the southwest corner of McQueen and Germann roads. 

The public can submit nominations for 2015 inductees to the Community Services Department between June 1 and September 30, 2014. There is no fee to submit a nomination.

Questions about the Celebration Plaza nomination criteria or the recognition process can be directed to 480-782-2743.

 

Celebration Plaza nominees can be:

  • Community leaders whose outstanding personal service has resulted in significant and enduring contributions to the community (support for this recognition should include endorsements from other groups, neighborhoods, or organizations).
  • An individual or individuals who has made exceptional contributions to the City of Chandler.
  • An individual or individuals who has added to the quality of life for Chandler residents through their involvement or financial contribution to short or long-term city projects or activities.
  • An individual who has demonstrated leadership, innovation and creativity, which have made Chandler a better place to live and work.
  • City of Chandler employees killed in the line of duty. 
      
    Nominees cannot be individuals holding an elected City of Chandler office or serving on the Parks and Recreation Board at the time they are either nominated or approved for inclusion in Celebration Plaza.
         

Celebration Plaza selection process:

  • On an annual basis, the Parks and Recreation Board will solicit nominations from the public of individuals or groups for recognition in Celebration Plaza.
  • Nominations can be submitted on the official form or the requested information can be provided on a one-page letter (typed preferred) via the Community Services staff.
  • Nominations must be returned to the Chandler Community Services Department between June 1 and  September 30 each year.
  • There is no nomination fee. The City of Chandler will assume all costs for the creation and installation of the recognition plaque in Celebration Plaza.
  • The Community Services Department will review the nominations and submit those that fit the criteria to the Parks and Recreation Board for consideration.
  • The Parks and Recreation Board shall appoint a subcommittee that will be responsible for evaluating the nominations and making a subsequent recommendation to the full Board.
  • The subcommittee shall submit its recommendation(s) in a formal written report for review by the full Board prior to the item being placed on the action agenda.
  • The Board shall approve or disapprove, all or in part, the recommendation(s) made by the subcommittee.
  • The Board can limit how many individuals or groups can be honored each year, and can choose to not endorse any of the nominations in a given year.
  • The Board shall forward its recommendation(s) to the City Council, which may accept the names all or in part, or return the recommendations to the Board for further review.
  • The final decision will belong to the City Council.
  • Each nominee or his/her representative will be contacted and asked to submit a pre-determined amount of text for the 12” by 12” plaque.
  • Only text will be included on the plaque, no symbols or images are allowed.
  • The Community Services Department staff will have final approval for the text inscribed on each plaque.
  • The inductions will be held at Celebration Plaza in the spring.
  • Nominations do not carry over to subsequent years. Nominees who are not selected for induction to Celebration Plaza can be re-nominated each year.

Nomination forms are also available at the Chandler Community Center, the Snedigar Recreation Center, the Tumbleweed Recreation Center, local libraries and other City facilities, or by calling 480-782-2727.

Return the nomination form form to:

Chandler Community Services Dept.
Mail Stop 501
P.O. Box 4008
Chandler, AZ 85244-4008
  


Celebration Plaza Inductees

The following individuals have been recognized in Celebration Plaza, since its dedication in spring 2008: 

  • Coy Payne is a long-time Chandler resident, former teacher and administrator, former City Councilmember and Mayor. He has been a community leader for many years. Coy grew up as part of a poor, farm worker family in the historic "south Chandler" neighborhood, experiencing racial segregation for many years. Coy graduated from Phoenix's all-black George Washington Carver High School (the only school he could attend) at the top of his class in 1949. He attended Arizona State university briefly, then served in the Korean War, in the Army's combat infantry. By 1954, he married a Chandler girl -- Willie Woods Payne -- and re-entered ASU using the G.I. Bill. Coy earned a Bachelor's degree in Education and began teaching at Chandler's Winn Elementary School. He continued with the Chandler unified School District and eventually served as Chandler Junior High's assistant principal. While a teacher, Coy became involved in civic service by joining the first Human Relations Commission in the early 1960s. He also helped create and head Chandler's Housing Authority, which developed and oversaw the first public housing in the City. He then served on the Parks and Recreation Board and was instrumental in establishing the swimming pool and other amenities at Folley Park. Coy then joined the Chandler City Council in 1982. He served on the Council until 1990, when he completed a successful campaign for mayor. This election placed him in the history books as the first African American mayor in Chandler and in the state of Arizona. He served as Mayor until 1994. During his time in office, he led the Council in the development of City infrastructure; expanding park spaces, recreational facilities and cultural amenities; and piloted the first recycling program. He led the City in developing regional transportation and a regional mall. As mayor, Coy was known for his strong role as a facilitator and consensus builder, allowing the City to develop in a positive direction during the early 1990s. Once submission states, "Born in the difficult times of pre-Civil Rights and segregation, Coy Payne never allowed the shallow ideas of others to prevent him from achieving his goals. As the first African American mayor, he served all the people. Chandler an all of Arizona is better because of Coy Payne." (2013 inductee)
  • Chandler Lions Club has been dedicated to serving the Chandler community through humanitarian service programs that improve the health and well-being of fellow community members. The group has provided thousands of free eye exams and eyeglasses to needy K-12 students, helped build the first hospital in Chandler, provided for disabled individuals to attend Camp Tatiyee, and collected and recycled thousands of used eyeglasses for missions to third world countries. The group also furnished a major picnic ramada at Arrowhead Park and has co-sponsored and produced the annual Fourth of July Festivals at Tumbleweed park. Lions Club volunteers have given of their time, talents and efforts to support the disabled and the needy, and to make the community a better place. (2013 inductee)
  • Chandler Compadres have contributed to the disadvantaged kids and families of the East Valley for over 30 years. The Chandler Compadres is a nonprofit service organization that was established in 1980. A dynamic organization, the Compadres consists of 40 active members and over 60 life members. Compadre members are civic-minded business and community leaders. This organization embodies dedication, vision, heart and passion. The first project taken on by the Compadres in 1980 and continuing today as a sustaining member, is the Boys and Girls Club. Chandler Compadres' other charitable donations have included hosting an annual awards dinner for high school students meeting academic excellence, sponsoring youth teams throughout the City and funding emergency shelter and homeless children's programs. The Compadres have and continue to support numerous youth organizations including the YMCA, Christmas Family Food Basket Project, youth sports leagues, summer at-risk programs, Thanksgiving dinner at the Boys and Girls club and a toy drive for needy children and families. (2012 inductee)
  • John H. Dick spent almost the entire 86 years of his life making significant and long lasting contributions to the City of Chandler as well as to those around him. In 1953, after completion of military service and law school, John moved to Chandler where he enthusiastically served the City and surrounding areas. Serving as a City of Chandler Prosecutor and City Attorney, John helped to uphold the vision of Chandler as a City where families could enjoy residing in a safe and wholesome environment. (2012 inductee)
  • Najeeby Basha was one of the most forceful and enterprising businesswomen and philanthropists in the history of Chandler. Her family emigrated from Lebanon in 1897 and took up residence in New York City. In 1901, Najeeby married Najeeb Thomas Basha and in 1910 she persuaded him to go west to Ray, Arizona, for a better life. In 1920, Najeeby moved seven of their eight children to Chandler where she and her husband opened a general merchandise store on Boston Street. In June of 1932, Najeeb died and Najeeby was left with dependent children, doctor bills, a store to run and the Great Depression. That same year, Najeeby converted the merchandise store to a grocery store and, thus, became the founder of the first in a chain of Bashas supermarkets. Najeeby's charity was legendary in depression-era Chandler, and she set a precedent for the Basha family that continues to this day. The homeless and hungry of the 1930s knew they could always show up on Najeeby's doorstep for a warm meal. When World War II arrived, Najeeby invited servicemen from the surrounding air bases to the family's house for dinner and even chauffeured them to various destinations when they lacked transportation. (2011 Inductee)
  • Jerry Brooks, a longtime Chandler resident, former councilmember and mayor from 1984 to 1988, was instrumental in helping to create high standards and quality development during Chandler's rapid growth period. It was Jerry's vision and desire to help create a recognizable and unique community in which Chandler residents would be proud to live. Mr. Brooks was essential in the implementation of Chandler's first development fees. The fees initially helped to expand water production, storage and distribution. Jerry had significant input in the creation of the Chandler Center for the Arts (CCFA). He can be credited with rallying public support to build the facility as well as the development of an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) between the City and the Chandler Unified School District for its shared use. This agreement saved substantial taxpayer dollars. Through the years, Jerry always looked out for the best interest of the City and its residents. He finds value in Chandler's history and believes there is much to be learned from the past. (2011 Inductee)
  • Patti Bruno's commitment to Chandler and the many community organizations operating within it is extensive. She has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Chandler and its citizens and continues to do so while changing lives every day through the many organizations that she supports. Further, Patti served eight years on the City Council and was highly regarded as a fair and practical representative. (2010 Inductee)
  • Lowell Huggins has been known as a constant advocate for the community, whether in his barbershop or in his office. A longtime member of this community, Lowell first came to Chandler in 1956. In 1965, he began his career in law enforcement as a Chandler Police Officer and served in that capacity until 1985. Lowell's reputation of being an advocate for the citizens of Chandler grew over the years as his barbershop was known as Chandler City Hall ''Two." Anyone could walk into his barbershop to seek assistance or advice regarding City government. This past September, the Office of the Governor of Arizona commended Lowell for his 35 years of dedicated service to the City of Chandler and the State of Arizona. (2010 Inductee)
  • Detective Carlos Ledesma lost his life in the line of duty on July 28, 2010. Detective Ledesma was serving as a member of the department's Narcotics Unit when he was shot and killed during a narcotics operation in Phoenix. Carlos was dedicated to the community and lost his life serving it proudly. (2010 Inductee)
  • Dave McDowell is an excellent example of an individual who strongly believes in serving his community. Dave dedicated 25 years of service to the Chandler Community Services Department where he oversaw the design, construction and operation of many of Chandler's parks and recreational facilities. In addition to, and outside of his long career and exceptional contributions to the City of Chandler, Dave has provided community service through various groups and activities. Dave has served as an active member of the Ojo Rojo Lions Club in Chandler since 1986. He has held every leadership position in the club and in 2000, he received the Melvin Jones Fellowship in honor of his community service. (2010 Inductee)
  • Marty Wright was an engaged and dedicated Chandler citizen who gave his all for his community for over 30 years. After moving to Chandler in 1978, Marty quickly became involved in his newly adopted city through his active participation in the Lions Club, Faith Community Church and various Chandler youth sports programs. Marty became an integral part of the community supporting community activities both monetarily and through personal involvement. (2010 Inductee)
  • Eddie Basha, Jr., is honored for his leadership in Arizona’s business community and for his many decades of good works on behalf of the people of Chandler. He is Chairman of Bashas' Family of Stores, which was founded in Chandler by his father and uncle in 1932. Since the company’s inception, Bashas’ has given back more than $100 million to the communities it serves. The family-owned and -operated grocery chain has 130 stores and is still headquartered in Chandler. (2009 Inductee)
  • Chandler Service Club is a non-profit local charity that was formed as the Chandler Service Guild in January 1933 by eight local women: Louise “Sue” Beer, Elizabeth “Betty” Blake, Pearl Bouton, Frances Marian Johnson Edwards, E. Josephine Stiles Eikenberry, Eleanor Fogal, Gladys “Babe” Madison, and Helen Newhouse Handley Pernell. These women organized to feed hungry school children in Chandler at the height of the Great Depression. Since then, the group’s mission and membership changed, but not its commitment to Chandler. Over the past 75 years they have donated countless volunteer hours and given more than a million dollars in grants, gifts and scholarships to Chandler and members of the community. Their signature endeavor is the Flower Girl Program, an educational and scholarship program for high school senior girls. Today, Chandler Service Club has more than 100 members. (2008 Inductee)
  • Lenford C. Calley, the Chandler Superintendent of Public Works from 1941-1959, was killed in an automobile accident on a return trip from a City of Chandler gravel pit. His responsibilities included street development and maintenance, the waterworks, parks, sewers, garbage collection and street sweeping. Calley guided the infrastructure development of 20-25 subdivisions and saw water department connections increase from 324 to 21,000 during his time of service. (2007 Inductee)
  • Officer Robert J. Nielsen joined the Chandler Police Department shortly after graduating from Arizona State University. As a young, energetic, and athletic officer, his peers gave Nielsen the nickname “Moose”. Officer Nielsen proudly wore badge #445 and served the people of Chandler from 2000 until June 12, 2002. Officer Nielsen gave his life in the line of duty while driving to a call for assistance. (2007 Inductee)
  • Henry Salinas founded Improving Chandler Area Neighborhoods (ICAN) in 1991. Through ICAN, he created an institution that addressed problems facing youth in the poorer areas of the City. Salinas helped youths achieve a new appreciation for life by showing them the importance of obtaining an education, learning new skills, and having people in their lives who cared for them. His dedication and creativity have improved the lives of many young people and strengthened neighborhoods in Chandler through ICAN. (2007 Inductee)

 

Celebration Plaza induction ceremony will be held:

  • Fall 2014 (for 2013 inductees)