Chandler prepared for the future by creating master plans that will guide investments for parks, facilities, the Chandler Municipal Airport and technology. The City Council formed a Citizen Bond Exploratory Committee to evaluate future needs and recommend a bond package to support capital and infrastructure investments. Here is a brief recap of significant projects and events that occurred in 2020.
Tumbleweed Recreation Center held a grand reopening to celebrate the refurbishment of the fitness center floor and the jogging/walking track. The new surfaces provide guests with a workout experience designed to reduce impact on the joints when running, walking and stretching. New strength training equipment at the fitness center features technology that enhances the workout experience, with ergonomic designs to alleviate joint stress.
Chandler commemorated its legal incorporation, which was approved by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors on Feb. 16, 1920. To commemorate the anniversary, a new historical marker was installed on the northwest corner of Arizona Avenue and Chicago Street, the site of the original Town Hall that was dedicated in 1923.
Mayor Kevin Hartke signed an emergency declaration proclaiming a local emergency in response to COVID-19. By mid-March, Chandler temporarily closed City facilities including four libraries, four recreation centers, the senior center and six aquatic centers and pools to the public. All special events on City property through April 30 were postponed or canceled to help stop the spread of the virus.
The month of April kicked off with National Census Day as a reminder for all Chandler residents to complete their census online, by phone or return the completed questionnaire sent by mail.
Census outreach efforts continued through mid-October due to COVID-19.
A Veterans Database was created to document our community’s history of military service. The information will be used as a foundation for future initiatives to honor the service and tell the stories of Chandler veterans.
A Memorial Day video tribute highlighted Chandler’s history of military service through interviews, exhibits and a musical performance.
The multi-faceted “I Choose Chandler” marketing initiative was launched to support local businesses and inform the community of the impact residents make when they choose to spend their money and volunteer their time in Chandler. That same month a $200,000 grant program in partnership with the Chandler Industrial Development Authority assisted small businesses to recover costs incurred from purchasing personal protective equipment. Grants were awarded up to $500 for qualifying businesses. In the fall, an additional $500,000 grant program in partnership with the Chandler Chamber of Commerce provided small businesses with kits containing personal protective supplies.
The Chandler City Council allocated coronavirus relief aid towards programs that supported the City’s response to COVID-19 and addressed impacts felt in the community. A program for industries most impacted by COVID-19 offered grants up to $10,000 to help small businesses keep employees on the payroll in recognition of revenue losses and disruptions that occurred in 2020. Allocations for nonprofit and community service organizations assisted residents with basic needs and services, including housing, utilities and food. Funds were allocated to update the City’s technology infrastructure, outfit employees with technology resources to deliver services in mobile and remote work environments, purchase protective gear for employees and disinfect city facilities.
“Bigger Than Boxing: Zora Folley and the 1967 Heavyweight Title” opened its year-long run at the Chandler Museum.
The 3,000-square-foot exhibition featured the stories of two boxers (Muhammad Ali and Chandler’s Zora Folley), the circumstances that weighed heavy on each man and the fight that was a turning point in both of their careers.
Chandler Center for the Arts announced CCA Under the Stars, its first live outdoor concert experience presented on the terrace at the Chandler Center for the Arts and under the outdoor living room space at the Chandler Museum.
The 60-minute intimate concert series were limited to 50 or less attendees in a social distanced seating arrangement to provide a comfortable and safe environment for patrons.
Chandler hosted a free Halloween Spooktacular drive-thru event at Dr. A.J. Chandler Park over the course of two nights. From the comfort of their own vehicle, residents enjoyed a Halloween-themed cul-da-sac featuring a special soundtrack, festive décor, lights and tasty treats from representatives of City departments.
The Chandler City Council approved a historic preservation ordinance, allowing property owners to establish historic preservation districts on private property and neighborhoods to protect historically significant parts of the City from redevelopment.
The ordinance also established a historic preservation commission, a historic preservation officer and a historic property register for the City.
A month-long Chandler for the Holidays program featured the “Tumbleweed Tree Lighting: A Reimagined Tradition” virtual experience in place of the traditional Parade of Lights and tree lighting ceremony. This show included musical performances, footage of past parades, a virtual lighting ceremony and stories about Chandler traditions. An exhibit at the Chandler Museum celebrated the history of the Tumbleweed Tree. The S’more Holiday Fun pop-up event at Chandler Fashion Center featured holiday-themed recreation and library programs. The Downtown Chandler Community Partnership’s Sugarland interactive displays, holiday decorations and food drives in partnership with AZCEND added to this year’s holiday spirit.