Blog Archive for the ‘AZ Cities @ Work’ Category

The ’80s Are Back in AZ Cities and Towns!

parks and rec logoHappy Park and Recreation Month!

Nothing beats spending a summer day biking on a trail, playing in a park, or swimming in a refreshing pool.

During the summer months, we can’t get away from the outdoors. That’s why, as designated by the U.S. House of Representatives, Park and Recreation Month is being celebrated nationwide in the month of July.

Some Arizona cities that aren’t formally celebrating Park and Recreation month in July will instead be celebrating at a later time when the temperature cools down.

This year the National Recreation and Park Association has encouraged communities to show and share the love of parks and recreation with a 2015 theme of the “totally tubular 80s,” making this the year that people are encouraged to rock leg warmers and head bands, break out their 80s hair styles, and get involved in their community through parks and recreation.

We love what several cities, such as Queen Creek, Mesa, Chandler, and Scottsdale are doing for Park and Recreation Month and hope other cities and towns follow suit.

Queen Creek is hosting the National Park and Recreation month with “totally tubular” style with several events including the ‘80s Party at the Splash Pad at the Founders Park from 10 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 11. Guests can enjoy the retro sounds from Dj Notez as well as fun activities for the kids. But that’s not the only “hip” event going on. There is also the ‘80s Week at the Library Recreation Annex, located at 21802 S. Ellsworth Road, where various classes will celebrate the ‘80s theme in their programs as well as seeing the recreation staff rocking the best ‘80s outfits on Wednesday, July 15. The last event to wrap up this “rad” week is the Queen Creek Festival at Horseshoe Park and Equestrian Centre on Saturday, July 18 for food trucks, boutique venders and live music. For more information of any recreational program in Queen Creek, please visit

Chandler’s “gnarly” Parks and Rec Month will be kick started with an Adult Retro Prom on Friday, July 24, at Tumbleweed Recreation Center, where any adult can take part in the old days of dressing up in the best ‘80s attire and dancing the night away. But that’s not all!  A wide array of other retro themed programs will be available at ‘80s prices or for free all throughout July! For more information on all the upcoming activities, please visit

Scottsdale also encourages its residents this 30th Parks and Rec anniversary by taking pictures of the beautiful parks the city has to offer and posting them on Instagram with the hashtag #JulyPRM30. Come and also enjoy the delightful open spaces in this community. For more information, please go to their homepage parks and rec

Mesa will be celebrating Parks and Recreation Month with some special events as well. They are encouraging residents to check out all that they have to offer from more than 200 parks and retention basins, to community recreation centers, pools, golf courses, amphitheater and two ball parks. To showcase the impact parks and recreation has in every community, NRPA encourages people that support parks and recreation to watch and share this video with the hashtag #JulyPRM30.


Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Recieves $3.3 Million FAA Grant

Gateway Entrance

Funds to rehabilitate Runway 30 Center first 1,000 feet

U.S. Congressman Matt Salmon announced Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport was awarded a total of $3,316,790 in Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grant funds to rehabilitate the first 1,000 feet of Runway 30 Center, the Airport’s main air carrier landing runway. The project includes the demolition, removal, and replacement of the existing concrete pavement surfaces, construction of cement-treated base, installation of new runway edge lights, signs, and new pavement markings. Construction is expected to begin August, 2015.

“This grant is further evidence of the FAA’s continued support of Gateway’s role as a commercial airport in the Phoenix-Metropolitan area,” said Representative Matt Salmon. “These funds will not only help boost aviation capacity, they will help ensure that Gateway continues to grow as a major economic engine for Arizona.”

The FAA grant requires an 8.94% match divided between the Arizona Department of Transportation and the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Authority.View More:

Town of Queen Creek Mayor and Airport Authority Board Chairman Gail Barney adds, “Gateway Airport generates over $1.3 billion in economic impact annually. The Airport continues to do an excellent job in managing its capital programs and maximizing its financial sustainability. We appreciate Congressman Matt Salmon’s leadership in securing these funds.”

The announcement means contractors will be able to reconstruct deteriorating concrete resulting from years of heavy commercial aircraft operations.

“Safety and efficiency are paramount at Gateway,” said City of Mesa Mayor and Airport Authority Board Treasurer John Giles. “With all the growth Gateway Airport has experienced, Runway 30 Center has received significant use and is in need of rehabilitation. A portion of the runway will be closed but Gateway has three long runways so impacts to passenger operations will be minimal.”

Phoenix Mesa Gateway Airport-airport-002Small3

The Airport Improvement Program (AIP) is a federal grant-in-aid program that represents a major source of funding for airport development and planning. Funding is supported from user fees, fuel taxes and other revenue sources. Each fiscal year, the FAA apportions Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funds into major entitlement categories. The FAA distributes the remaining funds to a discretionary fund. Airports throughout the nation compete for discretionary funding to help finance capital improvement projects. The FAA distributes these funds to projects that best carry out the purpose of the AIP, with highest priority given to safety, security, reconstruction, capacity and standards.

To learn more about Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, visit

Surprise Police volunteer program wins award for outstanding achievement




Recently, the Surprise Police Department’s Volunteer Program won the 2015 International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Award for Outstanding Achievement in Law Enforcement Volunteer Programs.

The comprehensive volunteer program consists of citizens participating as members of the Surprise Citizen’s Patrol, Victim Assistance Unit, chaplains, reserve police officers, interns and other volunteers such as those serving in the Records Unit, Training/Recruitment Unit and the Professional Standards Unit.

“The police are the public and the public are the police.” When Sir Robert Peel, the father of modern policing, spoke these words, it is unlikely that even he could have imagined the selfless acts of the Surprise Police Department’s volunteers. The fine men and women that make up the Surprise Police Department’s volunteer program are a true representation of Sir Robert Peel’s words.

The Citizen’s Patrol has grown from 7 volunteers in 1997 to 50 active program participants today. The program was established to assist the Surprise Police Department in responding to the City’s 1000% growth rate over the past 16 years.  Having grown into its role as an integral part of the Department, the Citizen’s Patrol volunteers carry out many operational and administrative functions. In 2014 alone, the volunteers from the Citizen’s Patrol provided 26,483 volunteer hours. That is the equivalent of nearly 13 full-time employees and an estimated cost avoidance of $662,000.

There are very few functions that the Citizen’s Patrol members do not have some involvement in. On any given day, you will likely see numerous volunteers working within the Surprise Police Department; whether it be the day-to-day activities such as going out on patrol, conducting vacation watches and making sure vital police equipment is ready for deployment; or the less common events like traffic control for spring training baseball games, rapid response for emergency incidents and deployment of SWAT vehicles.

The members of the Surprise Citizens Patrol are part of a larger group of auxiliary volunteers here at the Surprise Police Department. These are members of our community who have given up their own time and energy to make their community a safer and better place for all, having done so for over 18 years.  The overall effort of these hardworking volunteers has amounted to more than 280,000 volunteer hours for an estimated cost savings of over $7 million.

While these numbers are substantial, what is even more important is the immeasurable positive impact these volunteers have had on their community. Because of the volunteers, the agency navigated an extremely difficult expansion period with relative ease. As a result, our volunteers, who exist as both citizens and members of the department, also serve as a bridge between the Police Department and the public, further strengthening the agency’s roots within the community and helping to develop trust and cooperation from our residents.

The volunteers in the Victim Assistance Unit provide a continuum of services to support victims of crime and empower them to exercise their rights. Volunteers from this unit assist with obtaining orders of protection, accompanying victims to court, transporting victims for forensic and/or medical examinations, and finding temporary housing for victims in need. In 2014, the volunteers in this unit alone provided an additional 1,245 volunteer hours to assist with some 824 cases and provided direct services to 607 victims.

Our Chaplains always make themselves available for call-outs and respond to assist citizens with grief counselling. They provide timely motivational support for our Department and complete a myriad of other helpful tasks that lend support to our overall mission.

Reserve Police Officers fill in gaps that otherwise might create operational challenges. The unpaid service of these volunteers allows for maximum efficiency in both day-to-day operations as well as during special events.

Interns within the Surprise Police Department fill a wide variety of roles and allow for a direct communication of the Surprise Police Department’s philosophy and mission to educational institutions within our city and partnering communities.

Records Unit volunteers provide additional support for the unit by sorting and filing departmental reports. They also complete time-sensitive data entry projects that allow the Records Unit personnel to continue to meet important deadlines.

Training and Recruitment Unit volunteers routinely donate countless hours conducting background interviews and are deeply rooted in many facets involved in the hiring process with the Surprise Police Department.

The volunteers in the Professional Standards Unit complete interview transcripts and perform a variety of administrative tasks and functions. Their efforts relieve the daily responsibilities placed upon the investigators within the unit and allow for them to focus their own efforts on their assigned administrative investigations.

The members of the Surprise Police Department’s Volunteer Program have truly become an integral part of the DNA that makes up our organization. The support provided by these men and women ultimately plays a key role in the Department’s mission to maintain a safe community by providing extraordinary law enforcement customer service. Their hard work, dedication and exemplary efforts are inspiring and truly deserving of the 2015 IACP Outstanding Achievement in Law Enforcement Volunteer Programs Award.

Arizona’s Playful City USA Communities

11406721_10152890631191016_1366047240839771119_oKaBOOM! recently announced its Playful City USA honorees: communities that are leaders in “playability,” the commitment to providing balanced and active play to children.

The KaBOOM! Playful City USA program honors cities, towns and communities across America that are taking bold steps to ensure that all children, especially the 16 million American kids living in poverty, have easy access to balanced and active play in their communities. 241 cities nationwide have been recognized this year, 14 of which are in Arizona.

Playful City USA honorees include major cities such as Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Chicago. In Arizona, these honorees include cities and towns across the state. They range from nine-time honorees like Chandler, Gilbert, and Tucson, to first-time recipients like Avondale, Florence, and Queen Creek.

Tempe is once again recognized by KaBOOM! as a Playful City USA for its commitment to keeping kids active through accessible playspaces and youth sports programs.

Tempe is once again recognized by KaBOOM! as a Playful City USA for its commitment to keeping kids active through accessible playspaces and youth sports programs.

These Playful City USA communities are making a commitment to transform their communities to become more playable by developing unique local action plans to increase the quantity and quality of play in their community. Listed below are the Arizona cities that were given the “playful” title and the number of years they have won:

Avondale: 1

Buckeye: 4

Casa Grande: 7

Chandler: 9

Coolidge: 8

Florence: 1

Fountain Hills: 5

Gilbert: 9

Mesa: 7

Oro Valley: 5

Prescott Valley: 2

Queen Creek: 1

Tempe: 7

Tucson: 9

Playful City USA Honorees in Arizona: 

To see the full list of the 241 communities named 2015 Playful City USA honorees, or for more information on the Playful City USA program, visit

Tempe adopts goal to increase multifamily recycling


Tempe has a new goal to provide on-site recycling to 70 percent of all multifamily housing complexes by the year 2020. About 38 percent of Tempe homes are in complexes of five or more living units.


“Multifamily homes represent a significant portion of our city’s waste collection operations,” said Tempe Councilmember Kolby Granville. “Increasing the diversion rate will help us become better stewards of the environment while also saving money on landfill disposal costs.”


Tempe’s Solid Waste Division will work to reach the new goal by encouraging voluntary recycling programs in all city multifamily complexes. The strategy includes:


  • Working with existing multifamily customers to start new recycling programs or to ensure their existing programs are meeting their full potential
  • Developing customized programs that address the needs of multifamily residents
  • Participating actively with developers and property owners to provide recycling and to encourage their residents to participate
  • Ensuring that new multifamily complex projects include adequate space for collecting recyclables
  • Continuing to educate residents and students about the benefits of recycling and why it is so important for the environment and the city’s bottom line
  • Working with private haulers as needed to provide recycling programs to their customers to help reach the goal

“Tempe has a long history of taking on challenging environmental issues and coming up with solutions that create positive change,” said Tempe Councilmember Lauren Kuby. “The city’s commitment to sustainability has reached new heights with this recycling goal.”


In February 2015, Tempe City Council provided direction to form a working group to discuss multifamily recycling, which can often be more challenging than curbside because of space constraints on apartment properties and a lack of convenient options for residents. The working group included Tempe Vice Mayor Corey Woods, Councilmembers Kolby Granville and Lauren Kuby and several staff members with recycling and solid waste expertise. After several meetings and research, the working group developed a resolution proposing the new goal. The City Council adopted the goal at its June 10 Regular Council Meeting.


For more information on Tempe’s recycling programs, visit


“Community Begins Here” – 2015 National Public Works Week


You may not always realize it, but your city or town’s public works department is at work all day to keep your life running smoothly. From making sure your recycling is picked up at your curb and the streets are paved for your commute into work; to ensuring that water is always clean when coming out of the tap and street lights are blinking correctly for a safe drive home, a city’s public works department is responsible for many of our day-to-day activities. 

May 17-23 is Public Works Week! This annual events celebrates public works professionals of our Arizona cities and towns who work tirelessly. The National Public Works Week is a celebration of the tens of thousands of men and women in North America who provide and maintain the infrastructure and services collectively known as public works. 

Communities across Arizona are taking time to recognize individuals who dedicate services to cities and towns, which include road construction, cleaning and maintenance services, sanitation and recycling, fleet services, and various other community provisions.

The City of Glendale and the City of Surprise both issued proclamations at their recent council meetings to announce their celebration of National Public Works Week and thank those members of their public works departments for their dedication.

NPWW proclamation 5.12.15

City of Glendale issuing a proclamation celebrating National Public Works Week and recognizing those individuals who serve on their public works department 


Valley Cities Celebrate Earth Day

April is Earth Month!

Many of Arizona’s cities and towns are participating to promote the Earth this month. Check out a few of the fun events below for some Earth Day inspiration:
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Tempe’s Earth Day Expo  – Wednesday, April 22 

Earth Day is a time to celebrate the successes and ongoing commitments of community members, municipalities and businesses to protect the environment and promote a more sustainable future. Valley residents are invited to attend Tempe’s Earth Day Expo, where city departments and local businesses will showcase their innovative environmental programs. Attendees will experience hands-on exhibits while enjoying free lunch, courtesy of Gordon Biersch.

Wednesday, April 22
11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Tempe City Hall (west side of pyramid building)
31 East Fifth Street, Tempe, AZ 85281

For more information visit

Glendale 19th Annual Arbor Day Tree Planting – Wednesday, April 22

Arbor Day marks the nineteenth year that the City of Glendale has planted trees in celebration of the globally-observed holiday and been awarded the Tree City USA designation by the National Arbor Day Foundation. This year, 12 new trees will be planted at Dos Lagos Park, 63rd Avenue and Utopia Road, as part of the Glendale Arbor Day Celebration on Wednesday, April 22.

Glendale Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services will be joined at the Glendale Arbor Day Celebration by fourth grade students of neighboring Highland Lakes Elementary School.  The students will celebrate the theme “Grow the Future” with posters and poems that will be presented during the ceremony, followed by the tree planting.

Gilbert Earth Day Event – Wednesday, April 22  

Spring is in the air so it’s the perfect time to celebrate Earth Month in Gilbert, Arizona. Gilbert Parks and Recreation, in partnership with Gilbert’s Environmental Services Division, will be hosting an Earth Day event at McQueen Park Activity Center (510 N. Horne Street) on Wednesday, April 22nd from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. This free event is a great way for kids to celebrate Earth Day through arts and crafts, games, and face painting.

Gilbert’s Environmental Services Division is also hosting an art calendar contest for 4th grade Gilbert Public Schools and Higley Unified School District students until April 22nd.  Thirteen winning students will be featured in Gilbert’s 2016 Environmental Services calendar. Visit to find out more information about this contest and to print an entry form.


Tempe’s 6th Annual Arbor Day 5K  – Friday, April 24  

Break out the running shoes and get ready for the 6th Annual Arbor Day 5K on Friday, April 24. With 125 acres of trees, activity areas and an urban fishing lake, Kiwanis Park is the perfect setting for this community fun/run walk that benefits the Trees for Tempe program.

Arbor Day 5K activities start at 4:30 p.m. with on-site registration and an event expo, followed at 6 p.m. by the 1-Mile Kid’s Dash, and 6:15 p.m. with the Arbor Day 5K Run/Walk.

Friday, April 24
4 p.m.
Kiwanis Park – 5500 S. Mill Ave. Tempe, AZ 85283

For more information, visit

EVENT-Phoenix Earth Day 2015


6th Annual Earth Day Phoenix – Saturday, April 25 

Come celebrate Earth Day at this family friendly festival in Downtown Phoenix! Free Admission!

Keep Phoenix Beautiful will host the 6th annual Earth Day Festival, presented by Republic Services, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 25th, located at PHX Renew, the north east corner of Central Avenue and Indian School Road.

PHX Renews will be filled with local exhibitors that include nonprofits, businesses, and city, state and county departments providing information and relevant giveaways with a core message of sustainability. From solar energy, recycling, to gardening our exhibitors are on site to provide resources and information on how you can live sustainably!

Unlimited Possibilities @ Your Library



Pull out that library card and head on over to your municipal library to check out a book – it’s National Library Week!

National Library Week is sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and has been going on since 1958. The week is set aside each year to celebrate libraries and municipal public libraries are a perfect example of the great support libraries can provide for their communities.

You may remember your public library as just being a place to check out a book or do some research. But that’s no longer the case! Today’s libraries are gathering places to meet with friends and colleagues, attend in-person classes, get information on current technology and learn through a variety of activities. And of course, you can still check out books – both off the physical shelf and straight to your mobile device!


See what your city or town has to offer and check out National Library Week! And if your local library has made an impact on your life, share your story! Maybe your local library has helped your child discover a love for reading or maybe you learned a new hobby through a class offered at your library. Whatever your story, share it by using social media and the hashtag #LibraryMade. More details on the #LibraryMade contest from the American Library Association can be found here.

Here’s a look at some of the ways Arizona’s cities & towns are celebrating:

  • The City of Sierra Vista will be hosting a variety of events to help celebrate the week, starting with a book signing on Saturday, April 11 with travel writer Roger Naylor. The library will also offer events through the week including reading sessions with therapy dogs, a magic and juggling show and a special children’s storytime. For more info, click here.
  • Phoenix Public Libraries will be offering Food For Fines, a fundraiser  that offers residents the opportunity to decrease their library account fines by donating canned food items.

Visit your local city or town library to find out what they’re offering this week in celebration of National Library Week!

Tempe Saluted for Veterans Programs and Services

The Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services and the Arizona Coalition for Military Families will recognize the City of Tempe during the inaugural Arizona Roadmap to Veteran Employment Summit.

The summit, a collaborative effort of public and private sector partners led by the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services and the Arizona Coalition for Military Families, launches a statewide initiative to connect service members, veterans and their families to employment opportunities, training and resources.

The City of Tempe will be named the first Arizona Veteran Supportive Employer, a designation of the Arizona Roadmap to Veteran Employment for efforts to improve quality of life for veterans and their families. Additionally, Tempe will be announced as a Military/Veteran Resource Network Partner Organization, making it the first city in Arizona to earn this designation, based on the Guidelines for CARE for counties, cities and towns.

“Local veterans and their families sacrifice so much to serve our community. Tempe’s programs and services are a great way to show our gratitude and give back,” said Mayor Mark Mitchell. “Our military service members deserve personal and professional success. Our goal is to ensure they have the tools and support to help them achieve their dreams.”

As part of a multifaceted effort to help improve quality of life for veterans and their families, Tempe joined forces with local veterans and veteran service providers to create the Tempe Military and Veterans Working Group in 2013. The group created a strategic plan with four initiatives: establish a Tempe Veterans Commission; partner with the East Valley Veterans Education Center to establish a center that connects veterans and their families to resources, services and programs; create affordable housing projects for veterans and their families; and earn the Veterans Supportive City designation from the Arizona Coalition of Military Families. Tempe is pleased that much progress is being made on all fronts.

The Tempe City Council unanimously voted to establish the Tempe Veterans Commission on Jan. 8. On Feb. 28, the city formalized the partnership with the East Valley Veterans Education Center through a Community Resource Fair and Celebration. Last month, the City Council adopted a resolution to pursue an affordable housing project for veterans. Additionally, in October, Tempe launched the eighth Veterans Court in Arizona.

For more information on Tempe’s veterans efforts, visit

Glendale Water Celebrates 100 Years of Service

A look at Glendale's 100 year water history

A look at Glendale’s 100 year water history

Water; we all use it every day for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and public health and safety. On Feb. 25, 2015, Glendale Water Services Department will commemorate its 100th year of providing safe, reliable, high quality water and wastewater services to the community. As part of the Glendale Water Services Department Centennial Celebration, a traveling display featuring historic photos and captions titled, “Glendale’s 100-Year Water Story” will be on display across Glendale through the year. The display was developed in partnership with Arizona Public Service, Central Arizona Project, Glendale Arizona Historic Society, and Salt River Project. A century ago, the then-town of Glendale purchased the Water Works Company from Floyd Holmes Sine for $12,000 and created the new Municipal Water Works Department on Feb. 25, 1915. The initial system had two wells, two elevated tanks, distribution pipes and 160 customers. The town immediately upgraded the system by drilling additional wells and installing new pressure pumps. A storm water disposal system, fire protection system and sewage system were installed just a few years later.

The water tower that was part of the purchase of the Water Works Company from Floyd Holmes Sine, which was sold to the Town of Glendale for $12,000 on Feb. 25, 1915 and resulted in the new Municipal Water Works Department. Photo courtesy: Glendale Arizona Historical Society.

The water tower that was part of the purchase of the Water Works Company from Floyd Holmes Sine, which was sold to the Town of Glendale for $12,000 on Feb. 25, 1915 and resulted in the new Municipal Water Works Department. Photo courtesy: Glendale Arizona Historical Society.

Although Glendale has changed significantly over the last century, one thing remains constant; the city’s commitment to providing exceptional water and wastewater services to more than 230,000 people. Glendale uses state-of-the-art technology and a highly trained workforce to operate four water treatment plants, two water reclamation facilities and maintain more than 1,000 miles of water mains and more than 680 miles of sewer mains. Glendale Water Services Director Craig Johnson said “lessons from the past have helped us plan for the future.  We have a remarkable wealth of talent and experience among our employees.  Working in partnership with the community, the Water Services Department is committed to building on this firm foundation to meet the challenges that come our way.”

Members of Floyd Holmes Sine’s family join members of the Water Services Department at the Jan. 27, city council meeting where the proclamation was read declaring February 2015 through February 2016 as Glendale Municipal Water Service Centennial Year.

Members of Floyd Holmes Sine’s family join members of the Water Services Department at the Jan. 27, city council meeting where the proclamation was read declaring February 2015 through February 2016 as Glendale Municipal Water Service Centennial Year.

For a full listing of when and where the Glendale Water Services Department display will be located, visit Partner locations include the Arrowhead Towne Center, Glendale libraries and recreation centers, and Glendale Community College.