2019 Chandler State of the City Address

Mayor Kevin Hartke

Mayor Kevin Hartke and the Chandler City Council 
invite you to attend the 

Annual State of the City Address

Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019
Light Reception: 5 p.m. | Remarks: 6 p.m.
Chandler Center for the Arts
250 N. Arizona Ave
Chandler, Arizona 

The event is free and open to the public. 

Join us as we celebrate the accomplishments of our community and to take a look into our future. 

Opening Video

Just kidding, folks. Instead of the virtual experience, tonight you get the real deal. I want to thank our communications department for putting that video together. We had a little fun with a virtual Chandler experience and, in reality; we have much, much more to offer. I am passionate about Chandler. It’s a special place made up of talented people, successful companies and unique experiences. I’ll highlight some examples tonight as we talk about our community. While we’re not planning the virtual experience demonstrated by Future Tech, new tourism branding and marketing initiatives this year will encourage business travelers and visitors to explore our community first-hand. On behalf of our City Council and staff, I certainly appreciate that you are here for this State of the City address -- my first, as Mayor of this great community.

I’d like to start tonight with some introductions.

First, I would like to introduce Chandler City Council, please hold your applause for individuals:

  • Vice Mayor Terry Roe
  • Councilmember Sam Huang
  • Councilmember Rene Lopez
  • Councilmember Jeremy McClymonds
  • Councilmember Matt Orlando
  • Councilmember Mark Stewart

I am honored to have Senator Martha McSally join us tonight. Senator, would you please come up to say a few words? Thank you Senator McSally.

I would like to recognize the other elected officials that have joined us tonight from across the Valley, please stand to be recognized:

  • Senator Sean Bowie
  • Representative Jeff Weninger
  • Queen Creek Mayor Gail Barney
  • Apache Junction Councilmember Christa Rizzi
  • Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation President, Bernadine Burnette
  • Central Arizona Water Conservation District Board of Directors
    • Director Alexandra Arboleda
    • Director Jennifer Brown; and
    • Director Ben Graff

I would also like to thank a few other former City officials and City stakeholders in the audience, and again please hold your applause until the end:

  • Former Mayor Jay Tibshraeny
  • Former Councilmember and newly elected Maricopa County District 1 Supervisor, Jack Sellers
  • City Employees and City Manager Marsha Reed; and
  • Board and Commission members, past and present, please stand

There are a few special relationships I want to acknowledge that make Chandler an amazing city:

  • Chandler Unified School District board, educators, and Superintendent Camille Castillo
  • Chandler Chamber of Commerce members and President Terri Kimble

I wouldn’t be here without the support of my wife and family. Thanks everyone for coming out tonight. And shout out to those joining us on Facebook live. Thanks for tuning in! Alright, let’s get down to business!

I’ll start by discussing our efforts to attract businesses and be financially responsible. Chandler is one of the hottest markets in the region for spec office and industrial construction. Office and industrial development are booming with nearly 1.2 million square feet under construction this year. That is on top of the nearly 900,000 square feet completed in 2018. That’s more than two million square feet of office and industrial space added to the market in a two-year period. I thank the many companies in the office and industrial development community for creating these employment centers. We are grateful for your confidence and investment!

In 2018, nearly 7,000 jobs were announced and $180 million was invested in our community through business attraction and expansion efforts. Chandler tied for the largest job announcement in the Greater Phoenix area when Allstate chose to bring 2,500 jobs to our community. And of the top 10 job announcements in the region, 35% of jobs belonged to Chandler projects. Truly, Chandler is a jobs juggernaut! Intel continues its investment of billions of dollars in Chandler to build out its fab facilities and create the technology of the future. As our largest employer, Intel is critical to our local economy and produces a phenomenal economic multiplier through jobs and support of suppliers and service industries. Key industries and employers continue to grow and diversify. Companies like Allstate, Bridgepoint Education, Northrop Grumman and Wells Fargo are creating the largest number of jobs by locating and expanding their operations right here in Chandler. Dignity Health is expanding its healthcare facilities with a new tower, and facilities at Chandler Regional Medical Center. Banner Health has started construction on a new community hospital. Just last week, Voya Financial announced its regional hub on the Price Corridor and plans to employ more than 1,000 people.

We are also seeing many mid-size and small businesses adding jobs. Councilmember McClymonds has and continues to be a huge cheer leader for small and mid-size businesses. Through business incubation and development programs, we’re helping early-stage companies and individuals advance their ideas into profitable businesses. Our business incubator serves nearly 40 clients, with several generating revenue and preparing to graduate. Yesterday as part of PHX East Valley Entrepreneur Week we re-launched the ASU Chandler Innovation Center, reopening what was once Tech Shop. We thank ASU for their continued investment in Chandler. Our first Angel Investor workshop series, the Start-up Connection weekend and small business development workshops have attracted hundreds of attendees. Thank you Councilmember Stewart for your work with our startup community.

We’ve eased the process of conducting business in our city, making it easier to acquire permits, submit development plans and get expedited reviews. Job creation, employment, development and investments by the business community have made Chandler an economic powerhouse in the region. The foundation for this success was laid by many people and past City Councils with shared vision, financial discipline and wise investment. Thank you to all of our past leaders that have helped us get to where we are today. Our current City Council is committed to building on that foundation and staying true to the principles that have made Chandler successful. We are one of only a few cities in the nation with a structurally balanced budget and AAA bond ratings from all three rating agencies. We use one-time revenue, like monies generated by the construction of office and industrial spaces, for one-time expenses. We maintain healthy financial reserves to weather economic storms, develop responsibly and take care of our financial obligations. In other words, financially Chandler is rock solid.

In the 2018 Citizen Budget Survey, the City received  

  • a 97% satisfaction rating with Overall City Services,
  • a 96% satisfaction rating in the Good Return on Tax Dollars category,
  • and a 96% satisfaction rating in Quality of Life.

These are excellent ratings and I commend staff for delivering outstanding public services. 

A big discussion at the state level centers around water. I want our businesses and residents to know that we have made wise policy and infrastructure investments to serve Chandler for multiple generations. We’ll continue to preserve and protect water resources. We’ve upgraded our water treatment capacity, water distribution infrastructure and transportation network. And, in the process these efforts earned several industry “best” projects of the year. I thank Governor Ducey and our state legislators for passing the Drought Contingency Plan and listening to us and other stakeholders involved. I also want to thank Councilmember Lopez. He is passionate about making sure that Chandler maintains adequate water supplies today and in the long term.

We’re also preparing for the future in other areas. We have agreements for wireless cellular networks upgrades, use of fiber-optics and City conduit. The Transportation and Airport master plans are being updated this year to evaluate future investments. We’re also the epicenter of autonomous vehicle development, with companies like Intel and Waymo shaping the future of transportation. Did everyone get to see the Waymo vehicle outside? Pretty cool, right? Thank you Waymo for being a great partner and for being here tonight. Chandler residents are the first in the nation to ride in fully autonomous vehicles and we’re the first to adopt a zoning ordinance for autonomous vehicles and ride-sharing services. More Chandler companies are developing the technology components and software that support autonomous vehicles. I intend to engage both regionally and nationally in the conversation and policy enactment of advanced vehicle technology.

Chandler is also a destination. People want to live and work here. As a community, we know build out is approaching. We have approximately 12 percent of land available for development, and that land is at a premium. Much of this land already has designated uses for employment, commercial and residential. We’ll continue to work with residents, land owners and the development community as projects are considered.  Our community continues to evolve into a modern, urban center. Downtown is one area experiencing this development activity and investment. It is a hip and historic place for people to live, work and play. You might call us “hip-storic”!

Overstreet has sparked excitement in downtown. Flix Brewhouse is open and will soon be joined by office uses and restaurants. I thank LGE, the developers of Overstreet, and Flix Brewhouse for their investment. Progress has continued with the construction of New Square, which will create highly desired office space, a hotel and commercial spaces right across from City Hall. I am grateful to Spike Lawrence and his team for turning their unique vision into a real amenity for our community. We owe a huge thank you to the Downtown Chandler Community Partnership, its property owners and merchants. I also want to thank Vice Mayor Roe for his support of downtown redevelopment. And, I must mention our favorite downtown amenity. FREE Parking! Tonight, we debut our latest video highlighting some of the latest and greatest things happening downtown. There is a lot going on. Let’s take a look...

Downtown video

The energy and interest in our downtown is exciting.

Now, I would like to shift our focus to the safety and care of our community. Chandler is recognized as one of the safest cities in America. Serious crime fell more than six percent last year… Six Percent!!! And the International Association of Chiefs of Police recognized Chandler with the Leadership in Crime Prevention Award. Our Police Chief also was recognized last month by his Arizona peers as Chief of the Year.

A couple other notable highlights from 2018 include:

  • 5,000 criminal cases were prosecuted by our Law Department, and about the same number of residents were helped to navigate the criminal justice process
  • Our court participated in programs to help veterans and mental health offenders
  • We implemented text to 911 and non-emergency systems for our hearing-impaired residents
  • We opened our last planned fire station, Fire Station Number 11

The Insurance Safety Organization rated Chandler’s fire suppression capabilities in the top 1% of communities nationwide and our fire department earned the highest rating of excellence from the American Heart Association for their care of cardiovascular patients. Training our emergency responders is a top priority.

We made significant investments in state-of-the-art facilities and opened the first phase of the Public Safety Training Center, providing real-world training experiences for our police and fire departments. The second phase is under construction, adding a firing range and multi-purpose buildings. I want to take a moment to recognize the care and compassion provided to residents who are in the midst of traumatic events.

The Family Advocacy Center at police headquarters has been remodeled to provide comprehensive care and investigative services to victims of crime. The police department’s Victims Services Unit and Family Crimes detectives help residents

  • deal with the emotions and trauma associated with being victims and witnesses of a crime,
  • aid in recovery, and
  • assist with navigating the criminal justice process. 

Their newest member, Annie, is unable to join us tonight due to training so we have her picture to share with you while I ask members of the Victim Services Unit and our Family Crimes detectives to stand and be recognized.

Chandler is a safe community because of the dedicated people working in public safety AND the support from the community. Last year, volunteers donated nearly 20,000 hours in support of our police and fire departments. Their efforts have installed smoke alarms, participated in crime and fire prevention activities, attended citizen academies and supported community engagement events. The Chandler Fire Department’s crisis response team is an example of the important services provided by community volunteers. This team of highly trained staff and volunteers are dispatched during emergencies to assist our residents with practical and emotional needs in the aftermath of traumatic events, while first responders attend to the needs of a scene. I ask members of CR 288 to stand and be recognized.

A few years ago, pension reforms implemented by the state were found to be unconstitutional. Every Arizona City and Town now faces an unfunded liability that must be paid into the retirement system for police and fire personnel. Other communities chose the option to pay off those liabilities over 30 years with interest. Chandler chose to pay it back much sooner and we expect to have it paid off by 2025. I want our police officers and firefighters to know that we appreciate the sacrifices you make in service to our community. We stand with you and will fulfill our obligations to the public safety retirement system. I want to thank all our City Council for a strong commitment to public safety and considering our Police and Fire departments a point of pride.

Changing gears, I want to talk about community engagement and neighborhoods. Active residents are vital to preserving the quality of Chandler neighborhoods. Thankfully, we have many active and engaged residents! Each year, hundreds of our residents participate in listening tours and programs that educate, empower and outfit them with resources to address issues facing their neighborhoods. Crime and fire prevention programs prepare residents with information to be an extra set of eyes and ears for our community. Our code enforcement alley maintenance program took an educational approach and attained a 93% compliance rate with the help of residents. The graffiti elimination team responded to more than 1,000 incidents and worked with my Youth Commission to increase awareness among youth about its negative impacts. Change Up gives residents a way to donate via text to organizations that help end homelessness. Our homeless navigators also connect people with housing and services in the community.

Grant funding covered the renovation costs of the public housing youth center and the ASPIRE Read to Succeed tutoring program was recognized for its innovative approach to improve the reading skills of first-grade students at our public housing sites. Another program, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, helped nearly 1,500 low-income residents file their taxes and generated more than $1.6 million in refunds to these families. We are shooting for 2,000 residents and $2 million in refunds this year!

We’re also looking at services needed in the future. A community needs assessment is being conducted this year to determine the services and service levels needed to stabilize Chandler neighborhoods and promote quality of life improvement for low-to-moderate income families. At the city, we work closely with businesses, nonprofits and faith-based groups to leverage resources and serve residents in need through For Our City-Chandler. Today there are over 100 organizations collaborating through For Our City-Chandler. Operation Back to School brought out more than 300 volunteers from 50 organizations as they distributed supplies to prepare Chandler students for the first day of school. Last year’s event was the most successful to date and reached students at 43 schools in the Chandler Unified School District, as well as Kyrene, Charter and home school students.

Let’s Pull Together was a great success with 1,400 volunteers doing yard clean up at nearly 120 households. Local businesses and 500 students from Valley Christian High School came together for a program called Pancakes and Pavers to work on a project. Volunteers renovated Gazelle Meadows Park and installed new playground equipment with a grant from KaBoom. And during For Our City Day, with $28,000 in donated materials, including $15,000 in paint and supplies from Sherman Williams, 700 volunteers descended upon a Chandler neighborhood as they improved 42 properties and a neighborhood park.

I’d like to turn your attention to a video about For Our City-Chandler. Let’s take a look…

For Our City video

That video demonstrates how many hands make light work. Thank you Pastor Victor Hardy for your leadership and dedication to For Our City.

Partnerships in Chandler are important. This facility is an example of a partnership that has been in place for decades. We share it with Chandler Unified School District and Chandler High School. We also share libraries and aquatic centers at Hamilton and Basha high schools. The Chandler Center for the Arts is coming off its most successful year in its history with 18 sold-out performances and a 45 percent increase in paid attendance. I moved the State of the City back to the Center for a variety of reasons. Among them is that this year marks its 30th anniversary and there are some special things happening. A new marketing brand and website will launch in about a month. The new brand visually communicates the engaging, welcoming and innovative space the Center has become. I would like to recognize the Cultural Foundation and our staff for their efforts to raise nearly $275,000 that goes toward supporting cultural and educational programs, securing performers, promoting events and marketing. Make sure to check out exhibitions and public art here at the Center, at the Vision Gallery in City Hall and throughout the community.

Just west of Chandler Fashion Center, the Chandler Museum opened its beautiful new facility and already has received multiple awards for its exhibit illustrating the history of the Japanese internment camp at Sacaton, south of Chandler during World War II. It was a pleasure to welcome officials from the Consulate General of Japan during their visit to the museum and tour of this exhibit last month.

Chandler is rich in cultures from around the world. We collaborated with cultural organizations and held our first Dia de Los Muertos event last May. We also recently hosted multi-cultural and film festivals as well as unity events. Language and literacy are important to the education and livelihood of residents in our community.

Fortunately, there are great things happening at the Chandler Public Library with the launch of their new app, growth in e-book use and great success of the summer reading program with support from the Friends of the Library. This year, all four Chandler library locations are being outfitted with interactive early literacy and learning spaces through a grant. These spaces will support the development of early literacy skills in children and the involvement of their family members.

Many years ago, past City Councils recognized the importance of our parks and recreational facilities with a vision to have a park in every square mile of our community. I am pleased to announce that we just started the planning of our last of these parks, Homestead North. We also added multi-purpose fields with lights at Tumbleweed Park and made renovations to existing parks, baseball fields and multi-purpose fields. Many thanks to Councilmember Orlando for his dedication to improving the quality of life of our residents through his support of parks.

Water safety and drowning prevention are emphasized year-round through classes, events and community walks. Nearly 9,000 people learned to swim this past year at our aquatics centers and more than 500 of those new swimmers received free lessons thanks to the support of Salt River Project and the American Red Cross.

Our digital presence also improved with a new City website and expanded use of social media. I hope you tune into my weekly Morning Minute with the Mayor and be sure to check out my new social media pages at @ChandlerAZMayor!

Next week, we’ll conduct Budget Connect – an online forum where residents can ask questions and learn about the City’s financial position and policies. I have met a lot of people during my time on City Council and now as Mayor. Everyone has a unique background and story about why they came to Chandler. A common thread is that they’ve stayed. There is something special about this city. I would like to recognize Councilmember Huang for being an international advocate for what makes Chandler great.  

For our last video of the night, let’s hear some of those Why Chandler stories.

Why Chandler video

Chandler is a special place with great people who care about this community and are invested in its future.  Chandler achieved the success and lifestyle we enjoy today with the dedication of many talented people.  People often ask this brand new mayor how they can help. I hope I am not projecting desperation!! My answer, apply your talents and get involved in an area that interests you. Get active in your neighborhood or school, come out to a For Our City-Chandler community event, volunteer at the city, a nonprofit or a local faith community doing great work. Apply for a board or commission with the city.  Involved residents provide the City Council and City staff with informed and practical advice. You have a voice and we want to hear it.

Tonight, we highlighted people and programs that are making a difference in our community. We talked about our financial stability and the investment and growth in the business community. And we talked about the places and experiences unique to Chandler. We look to the future with optimism and know that the state of our city is rock solid. On behalf of the City Council, I thank you for being here tonight. As Mayor, I look forward to working with you to take this City into new heights and places.

Thank you.

2019 Annual State of the Downtown

was held Tuesday, May 14, 2019
at Flix Brewhouse 

Mayor Hartke was introduced by Peter Sciacca, the DCCP Chair and owner of QuartHaus.

Downtown Chandler Video

Good evening. I am honored to be here tonight.

I want to thank the Downtown Chandler Community Partnership, its property owners and merchants for all you do to make Downtown Chandler an excellent place to live, work, visit and play.

I would also like to acknowledge Kim Moyers, the City’s Cultural Development Director, for playing such an instrumental role in the growth and development of this downtown.

It is because of our collective vision and efforts that Downtown Chandler is thriving.

It continues to evolve into a modern, urban center, or as I like to refer to it – a “hip-storic” heart to our community.

I like to brag that I have the best view in the City because from my office I can see much of the exciting development happening Downtown.

Overstreet has sparked a lot of that excitement. As an Entertainment District, we aim to offer diversity in the activities that residents and visitors experience downtown.

The addition of Flix Brewhouse and the amenities that Overstreet offers have helped make downtown Chandler an entertainment destination.

And the Overstreet family is expanding!

Revint Solutions, a revenue recovery provider for healthcare, recently announced their lease of the entire 2nd floor of office space (18,000+ SF) and will be fully moved in, in July 2019.

Truland Burgers and Salads will open in November of this year.

Also coming soon will be Screamery Ice Cream and Over Easy.

I thank LGE Design Build, the developers of Overstreet, and Flix Brewhouse for their investment.

And we still have more to look forward to. Phase 2 of construction will continue in the next two years, adding even more office space in our downtown. 

Each day I come in to work, something different is popping up at New Square.

Currently, you can see the retail shell has been completed and they are putting up the architectural elements on the building, the Hilton Garden Inn is coming out of the ground, and the 3-story office building is completing their steel structure. I understand we will be seeing the glass come in soon!

Office space in the downtown is in high demand, and this project will provide some much needed square footage. It also provides more opportunities for people to live and work in the downtown.

I am grateful to Spike Lawrence and his team for turning his unique vision into a real amenity for our community.

I look forward to New Square’s completion in November when I can look out my window and see visitors shopping, families playing in the courtyard, and employees headed to lunch.

New Square is also important in the connection between the Historic Square and the redevelopment we are encouraging in Downtown South.

Downtown South is transforming with adaptive reuse projects such as Flo Yoga and Cycle, FaithLife, Gadzooks, Sleepy Whale, Quarthaus and Civic Market.

The City invested $6.1M in updating Arizona Avenue. Some of the improvements you will notice as we continue to invest in this area include

  • widening sidewalks,
  • carrying the curved light poles down to Pecos Rd,
  •  adding a light at Fairview,
  • monument signage, and
  • street markers.

I would like to extend a thank you to the residents and businesses that patiently worked with City staff during the construction process. We appreciate your cooperation as we continue to improve this area.

Looking to the future, the development continues!

The long-awaited DC Heights is breaking ground in the 4th quarter of this year. As we continue to add office space and entertainment amenities, more multifamily options will provide people an opportunity to experience urban living right here in our downtown.

City Council recently approved a development agreement with LGE for Site 7, adjacent to Jack in the Box, adding additional entertainment options to the area.

We will see many new businesses opening as developments complete construction. We are also seeing new businesses pop up throughout the downtown like Mingle and Graze, Craft 64 and Hidden House.

Announce Tipsy Egg and Uncommon

And, I must mention our favorite downtown amenity. FREE Parking!

Between the Overstreet and the Oregon Street Parking Garages we will have added almost 1,300 new parking spots in downtown. The Oregon Street Parking Garage is just west of New Square across from City Hall and is set to complete in November.

In total, we will have five free parking garages and several surface-level parking options.

In 2018, the City launched the Wave, offering free shuttle rides from the four parking garages to destinations throughout the downtown area.

Ridership has recently surpassed 10,000 people and demand for rides has resulted in extended operating hours on Friday and Saturday nights!

Another project that I would like to acknowledge is the Commonwealth Canal Promenade. This redesign project recently won two awards:

  • The 2018 Environmental Excellence Award of Distinction from Arizona Forward; and
  • The Honor Award of Outstanding Professional Achievement from the American Society of Landscape Architects
  • and was named Best New Attraction In A Downtown Setting by Phoenix Magazine.

I would like to commend our City staff for leading this project:

    • Cultural Development Director, Kim Moyers;
    • Public Works and Utilities Director John Knudson, and staff Andy Goh and Daniel Haskins
    • And I would like to acknowledge J2 Engineering and Environmental Design for making this space so beautiful and functional. 

Downtown is the heartbeat of our city and it is a true reflection of our efforts to make Chandler a safe, inviting, and vibrant community for everyone to enjoy. We are focused on embracing our history while keeping an eye on the future.

This is an exciting time to be Mayor and I look forward to continuing to work with all of you to make Downtown Chandler a safe, vibrant destination within Arizona.

At this time I would like to introduce Mary Murphy-Bessler, DCCP Executive Director.