Blog Archive for September, 2017

Town of Gilbert Named Most Prosperous City in the Country

Gilbert, Arizona is the most prosperous city in the country according to the Economic Innovation Group (EIG). Gilbert is touted as being a “young up-and-comer” with 99.9% of the population living in prosperous zip codes.

“It’s an exciting time in Gilbert as our community is transitioning from a small town to a strong and booming community,” said Gilbert Mayor Jenn Daniels. “The work of generations of community leaders and our smart financial planning has set Gilbert on a path of success and we are proud to be recognized as the most prosperous city in the country.”

The top 100 largest cities were ranked on seven criteria: housing vacancy rate, adults not working, the poverty rate, median income ration, change in employment, and change in business establishments. Learn more about this report here.

City of Phoenix Recognized with Nine Environmental Awards

Arizona Forward awarded its prestigious Governor’s Award for Arizona’s Future to the City of Phoenix on Saturday for its landmark 2017 agreement with the Gila River Indian Community to preserve endangered Colorado River water in Lake Mead. In all, Phoenix received nine awards at Arizona Forward’s 37th Annual Environmental Excellence Awards, including four Crescordia Awards, the highest honor in each category.

Mayor Greg Stanton and Phoenix City Council unanimously approved the Colorado River Conservation Agreement in June in partnership with the Gila River Indian Community, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the Walton Family Foundation. Under the agreement, Phoenix works with the Tribe to preserves 13 billion gallons of its yearly portion of Colorado River water in Lake Mead, which helps preserve water levels in the dangerously over-allocated reservoir.

“To ensure a long-term water supply for our city and state, Phoenix must lead by working with tribes and other communities on creative solutions and smart policies,” Mayor Stanton said. “Arizona Forward’s recognition for this landmark agreement – as well as for our other innovative sustainability efforts at the City – means the world because it shows that Arizonans get it and are committed to climate resilience.”

“Through partnerships, Phoenix has been able to leverage innovative ways to improve our sustainability efforts,” said Councilwoman Thelda Williams, chair, Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee.  “We’re grateful to our many partners, stakeholders and staff who have worked hard to achieve outstanding results.”

“I was thrilled to be present at this wonderful annual event to celebrate all of the hard work and innovation that the city of Phoenix continues to accomplish,” said Phoenix District 3 Councilwoman Debra Stark.


Governor’s Award for Arizona’s Future:

– Colorado River Conservation Agreement (City of Phoenix Water Services Department)

Healthy Communities (Sustainable Communities):

– Pueblo Viejo Fields and Food Hub (City of Phoenix and a partnership with Quincea-Green on Purpose Alliance)

Healthy Communities (Public Policy/Plans):

– City of Phoenix Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Reduction Program (City of Phoenix Office of Environmental Programs, Office of Sustainability)

Site Development (Parks & Trails):

– Desert Hills Trailhead (City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department; J2 Engineering and Environmental Design, LLC)


Healthy Communities (Sustainable Workplaces):

– Phoenix Green Business Leader Program (City of Phoenix Public Works Department)

Site Development (Public Sector):

– 27th Avenue Phoenix Compost Facility (City of Phoenix Public Works Department)

Art in Public Places:

– Bloomcanopy Gimme Shelter Shade for Pierce Street (City of Phoenix Office of Arts & Culture)

– Passage, Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park Public Art Project (City of Phoenix Office of Arts & Culture)

Environmental Education & Communication:

– Student Council Sustainability Officers Initiative (City of Phoenix, Office of Sustainability)

Since its inception in 1969 as Valley Forward and expanding statewide in 2013, Arizona Forward has brought business and civic leaders together to convene thoughtful public dialogue on regional issues in an effort to improve the sustainability of communities in the state.

For more information about Arizona Forward or the awards, call 602-240-2408 or visit

Surprise Receives National Parks and Recreation Accreditation

The City of Surprise Community & Recreation Services Department has received accreditation by the National Recreation and Parks Association. The Association recognized Surprise’s efforts to provide high quality parks and recreation services and experience to its residents and visitors.

The Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) has issued a five year accreditation to the city’s Community & Recreation Services Department after meeting more than 140 standards ranging from hiring practices to marketing techniques, from park planning to program implementation.

Community and Recreation Services Director, Donna Miller said the department is “excited for the accreditation”, which came after a preliminary application, self-assessment study and an onsite visit by peer review performed by a CAPRA visitation team. The three-member visitation team spent several days evaluating the departments administrative and operation practices.

“The accreditation stamp reaffirms that we are among premier agencies in the country,” said Miller. We have proven that our department follows proper practices and procedures in the administration of our parks, facilities and programs.”

The application and accreditation process was intensive, lasting more than 14 months. The final step was a hearing through the commission in September. Immediately following the hearing city staff received the good news and are thrilled to be recognized for following these important standards.

The public will benefit from the accreditation by knowing that the city is adhering to best practices in the field of parks, facilities and programs. It also shows partners, potential funders and the public that Surprise operates under such standards.

“The best part of this process is that all of the staff was involved, which provides ownership and pride in the programs and services in which they offer to the residents,” said Miller.

Goodyear Water Project Wins National Award

Water professionals from all over the country were on hand Sept. 12 when the city of Goodyear’s Vadose Well Injection Project was selected as the 2017 Project of the Year Award by the national Water Reuse Association.

The project consists of wells that take treated water from the city’s reclamation facility and directly pump it into the ground. This allows the city to ‘bank’ water for use during times of need.

The award comes with the water industry’s acknowledgment of the significant contributions the city of Goodyear continues to make to advance water reuse. Another award-winning city water reuse program is the ‘Brine Wetland Feasibility Project’ which takes otherwise unusable water and proved it can help nourish native vegetation, therefore creating natural wetlands.

“We know that ensuring a sustainable and reliable supply of water for the city’s future growth is essential,” said Mark Holmes, water resources manager for the city of Goodyear. “That’s why we continuously focus on how to maximize the water we have. Water reuse is a huge part of our efforts, along with conservation and partnerships.”

The city of Goodyear, ranked as the fourteenth fastest growing city in 2015 by the U.S. Census Bureau, recently announced a historic agreement with Salt River Project that, for the first time, will bring surface water to the far West Valley further expanding and diversifying the city’s water portfolio. For more information about the city’s water initiatives, visit

WateReuse is an organization dedicated to educating and advocating for water reuse. Members include water utilities, businesses, government agencies and not-for-profit organizations dedicated to recycling water to ensure communities have a safe, reliable and cost-effective supply of water. More information is available at