Chandler State of the City Address

2021 Chandler State of the City Address

Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021 | 6 p.m. 

Chandler truly earned its title as the Community of Innovation in 2020. When faced with unparalleled challenges, our community came together to develop solutions to keep our community safe and thriving. In this year's State of the City we celebrated our hometown heroes and showcased how our community used innovation to persevere.
2020 Annual Report

2021 State of the City Speech

Opening video

That video was inspired by true events.

Hopefully, you all are having a much easier time joining virtually tonight than Council had in that virtual meeting.

2020 was a year we will never forget.

I will start tonight by honoring the lives lost due to COVID-19.

Their families and loved ones are in my heart and in my prayers.

This past year was a year of learning, listening and adapting (or action? pivoting).

We fought for our lives, for equity, for economic stability.

The unparalleled challenges we faced tested Chandler’s spirit, but we grew stronger together.

Our first responders, frontline workers, non-profits, community organizations, local businesses and so many residents worked tirelessly to support this city.

Through innovative partnerships, acts of kindness and an overwhelming response from the community, we persevered.

I would like to thank For Our City Chandler for their instrumental effort in collecting donations and identifying community needs in response to COVID-19.

In addition to acting as a hub for non-profit and resident resources, For Our City facilitated the distribution of over $90,000 donated by Intel to Chandler nonprofits for services provided to people in need. 

Through $30 million in AZCARES Funding, Chandler put money back into the hands that needed it most – our vulnerable populations and the business community.

I was honored to be one of a hand full of mayors invited to speak to the Governor about local needs and the dissemination of these dollars through cities.

Within our vulnerable populations, we focused on community outreach; providing food and clothing; assisting homeless and housing programs; providing services for our seniors, special populations, youth, and after-school programs; and funding PPE and cleaning programs.

Through the I Choose Chandler program, we were able to distribute over four million dollars to Chandler businesses and will continue to award these vital funds throughout 2021.

Our businesses had to make tough decisions and sacrifices this year, and I thank them for their strength, leadership and going above and beyond to support their neighbors, protect employees and patrons, and working hard to ensure the community’s economic prosperity.

I would like to thank our Economic Development team, the Chandler Industrial Development Authority, the Arizona Community Foundation and the Chandler Chamber of Commerce for their roles in supporting the various programs within this initiative.

In collaboration with the Downtown Chandler Community Partnership and local businesses, we launched several initiatives to support our Downtown as well, including Dine in the Park, On the Street outdoor patio program and changes to parking and signage ordinances.

We also hosted our first-ever job fair, virtually of course, connecting over 600 job seekers with a variety of Chandler companies.

The stories of peril I continue to hear from businesses, residents and community organizations about the devastating effects of COVID are sobering, but the stories of giving and kindness have given me hope and confidence that we will make it through stronger.

Here are some of the stories of our community’s resilience, giving spirit and strength.

Video: Perseverance Through Innovation

These stories of perseverance through innovation in our community are truly inspiring.

Despite the pandemic, we still had much to celebrate in Chandler last year.

We welcomed several new businesses to the community, worked to help others expand and broke ground for future opportunities.

Our economic development efforts in 2020 are expected to create $437 million in capital improvements and more than 2,500 jobs over the next three years.

Nearly 900,000 square feet of office, industrial and flex space was constructed in 2020, with over 750,000 square feet more currently under construction.

And we saw a 72% increase in the value of issued building permits in 2020 from the year prior – equaling over one billion dollars.

These are incredible numbers are a true testament to the benefit of Chandler’s diverse economic base.

And adding to that diverse base, I am thrilled to announce that Honeywell has committed to a long-term lease for more than 150,000 square feet in West Chandler.

This facility will be producing critically important PPE — specifically millions of N95 masks for healthcare and government use.

In addition to the much-needed safety products that will be made at this facility, the manufacturing operations will also provide a significant job infusion to Chandler.

Honeywell expects to hire hundreds of workers to support the production efforts during the first year with the potential to grow in the coming three years.

Fortune 100 companies like Honeywell can choose anywhere in the world to locate their manufacturing facilities like this and we are very proud that Honeywell chose Chandler.

Year after year Chandler is recognized as a top City to live, raise a family, find a job, for women in tech and much more.

Some of my favorite new accolades, unique to 2020, include being a top 10 city to be quarantined, work from home and as one of the happiest cities in the U.S.

Amidst a year where our lives were turned upside down, it is a true testament to the strength and hard work from this community that our City was still nationally recognized for all of these things.

Through adapting to the challenges of 2020, Chandler never stopped planning for the future.

Council remains focused on Innovation and Technology, Infill and Redevelopment, Mobility, Neighborhoods and Quality of Life. 

Last year we conducted updates to master plans that will guide investments for parks, facilities, transportation, the airport and technology, with many more studies underway to make our City more mobile, bike-friendly and connected.

The City Council formed a Citizen Bond Exploratory Committee to evaluate future needs and recommend a bond package to support capital and infrastructure investments that will come before the community this fall for a vote.

As our community continues to evolve, preserving the unique character of Chandler’s neighborhoods and landscape remains a priority.

A historic preservation ordinance adopted this year enabled property owners to establish historic preservation districts on private property and in neighborhoods to protect historically significant parts of the City from redevelopment.

Updates to City Code allowed for a more precise focus on maintaining and preserving Chandler neighborhoods, while a framework for neighborhood revitalization plans was developed to guide investments in aging neighborhoods.

The Chandler Fire and Police departments continue to aid in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in partnership with Maricopa County Public Health Department and Dignity Health.

I am proud that Chandler was chosen as one of few locations across the state for initial vaccine distribution, and am thankful to Chandler Fire and Police for their role in the planning, logistics and protection of this major initiative.

Despite the national angst this year with protests seeking justice in response to deaths that occurred in other cities, the community expressed overwhelming pride and support for the Chandler Police Department.

Public demonstrations in Chandler were facilitated by Chandler Police to occur in a safe and lawful manner, ensuring citizens could exercise their right to free speech in a safe environment.

I spent significant amounts of time last year meeting with community leaders and groups surrounding the topic of diversity and inclusion in Chandler.

We will continue that work in 2021 to ensure Chandler fosters a contemporary culture that embraces unity, celebrates diversity, boasts inclusivity and is a place of equal rights and opportunity for all.

In response to community feedback, we are working to develop and implement a Community Court Program for people experiencing homelessness who have committed misdemeanor offenses and would benefit from treatment and case management services in lieu of incarceration.

Our focus on the Active Adult community and a high-quality park system will continue by incorporating evaluated needs for a multi-generational recreation center and adopting the Parks Masterplan.

A big thanks to Amazon for their $20,000 donation that will launch a new program to address the neighborhood preservation needs of seniors in our community.

Work on the final phases of the Veterans Memorial at Veterans Oasis Park is planned for completion in time for Veterans Day in 2021.

And while I am not looking forward to saying goodbye, this year we will celebrate the retirements of two women that have had an incredible impact on this community.

Camille Casteel served the Chandler Unified School District community for nearly 50 years, and as she retires her superintendent hat, she leaves behind a legacy that will impact many generations to come.

Marsha Reed, our fearless City Manager, is retiring after 38 years of public service, with her last eight years in Chandler.

Marsha’s strong vision and passion for Chandler made her an incredible leader and the City has much to thank her for.

2021 will be our year to recover together.

We will continue to work for our community with regional and state leaders to ensure Chandler’s state shared revenues are invested in Chandler, that areas of local control such as zoning, nuisances, fireworks and others are best decided here by your City Council.

We have shown that when we come together, we can take on anything.

We still have much work to do, but I am looking forward to working alongside each of you to ensure a bright future for all.

Video: A Look to the Future