Blog Archive for the ‘AZ Cities @ Work’ Category

Avondale Employee Receives Gabe Zimmerman Public Service Award

Avondale employee honored with Gabe Zimmerman Public Service Award

Christopher Lopez, Youth Development and Community Engagement Supervisor for the City of Avondale, was honored with a Gabe Zimmerman Public Service Community Builder Award.  The 2017 honors were presented on Thursday, July 20 at the Arizona City/County Management Association Summer Conference hosted this year in Marana, AZ.

The Gabe Zimmerman Public Service Community Builder Award recognizes public servants in cities and towns who advance community pride and connectedness. These leaders have be instrumental in transforming their communities through a variety of efforts including job creation and training, healthy communities, environmental and historical preservation, volunteerism and philanthropy, and educational advancement.

Chris Lopez spearheads numerous programs, services and partnerships that benefit local youth in the Avondale area. Under his leadership, the Youth and Community Engagement Division works to address the needs of underserved youth and provides meaningful community engagement opportunities for all Avondale residents.

Lopez introduced the Kids at Hope philosophy to the city and paved the way for Avondale to become the first official Kids at Hope city in the nation. As a result, staff from various school districts, local government and community leaders have adopted the Kids at Hope support system and belief that all children are capable of success, no exceptions. He also was instrumental in fostering relationships with the Corporation for National and Community Service, as well as expanding youth workforce development and teen leadership opportunities in Avondale.

The Gabe Zimmerman Public Service Awards are sponsored by the Center for the Future of Arizona and supported by Arizona City/County Management Association, Arizona Department of Administration, County Supervisors Association of Arizona, Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc., and League of Arizona Cities and Towns.

The Center for the Future of Arizona is a nonpartisan, nonprofit that combines research with collaborative partnerships and initiatives that drive the state’s economic prosperity, quality of life, and civic health to create a better future for all Arizonans.   www.arizonafuture.org.

 

City of Sierra Vista Wins $120,000 for Tourism Campaign

The City of Sierra Vista won the Arizona Office of Tourism’s Grand Pitch contest on Friday, earning about $120,000 in advertising for a campaign spotlighting international cuisine and bicycling.

The selection was made at the Governor’s Conference on Tourism. Sierra Vista was one of three finalists in its rural category, joining the City of Prescott and the Globe-Miami Chamber of Commerce in making Grand Pitch presentations at the conference. Visit Mesa won the metro category. The selections were made by a panel of judges formed of media partners that contributed to the prize and attendees of the conference who viewed the presentations.

Sierra Vista’s entry pitched a marketing campaign that marries two of the community’s strengths, bicycling and international cuisine. These experiences are available in Sierra Vista all year long and are often enjoyed by the same demographic. The campaign’s tagline, “that’s how we roll,” speaks to many local dishes that happen to be rolled, while also tying in the many avid cyclists and mountain bikers who roll along Sierra Vista’s paths, trails, and roads.

“The campaign will capitalize on our recent designation as a bicycle friendly community, Sierra Vista’s inclusion on U.S. Bicycle Route 90, and previous marketing efforts,” says Judy Hector, marketing and public affairs manager for the City.

“It will give us the resources needed to aggressively pursue a demographic that has responded well to our ad campaigns in the past,” Hector says. “This prize will make a significant difference for a community like Sierra Vista.”

The City will share more information on its Grand Pitch award winning campaign during the annual Spotlight Breakfast at the Thunder Mountain Activity Centre on Tuesday, Aug. 8 at 7:30 a.m. Admission is $25 and includes a buffet breakfast. Seating is limited; call (520) 458-7922 to make a reservation before it’s too late.

Town of Queen Creek Employee Recognized for 20 Years of Service

Congratulations to Sandy McGeorge! The Town of Queen Creek recently recognized Sandy for her dedicated service to the town, commemorating her 20th anniversary. 

The town has experienced many changes since Sandy McGeorge started in 1997. Initially serving as the Town Clerk, Sandy transitioned to the role of grant writer in 1999. As a young community, Sandy was instrumental in securing grants to help develop programs and services, particularly in the area of Parks and Recreation. She also assisted the communications area by coordinating community outreach events and the Citizen Leadership Institute. 

In 2007, Sandy began working on real estate matters on the Town’s behalf in addition to her other duties. In 2010, she became a Management Assistant II, focusing solely on real estate, where she is essential to the success of road improvement projects and economic development efforts. In 2012, she received the Senior Right-of-Way Agent distinction from the International Right-of-Way Association, the most prestigious professional designation granted to right-of-way professionals.

“Sandy plays an integral role within our organization,” stated Public Works Director Troy White. “Not only does she have a vast amount of knowledge related to real estate activities, her knowledge of Town history is invaluable.”

Learn more about Sandy, Queen Creek and read the full story by clicking here.

 

Tempe History Museum Receives National Accreditation

The Tempe History Museum has been awarded the highest honor of National Accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums, an organization that recognizes institutions that meet or exceed national museum standards. The museum joins the ranks of some of the most recognizable institutions in the Phoenix-metro area and nationwide.

The accreditation process took several years and involved an in-depth self-assessment by city staff, peer reviews and an analysis of the museum’s management of resources. In particular, the Tempe History Museum was recognized for its openness to engaging in partnerships and listening to public feedback. It was also given high marks for its well-maintained, well-catalogued collections, many of which are digitally accessible. Additionally, it was recognized for its educational programs and how relevant they are to classroom instruction.

Tempe’s Public Works and IT departments also played a role in the accreditation, along with the History Museum and Library Advisory Board, Tempe Historical Society and the African American Advisory Committee.

To find out more and read the full release, click here.

Lake Havasu City Top Finisher in America’s Best Communities

Congratulations to Lake Havasu City!

The city was one of the top finishers in the national America’s Best Communities event last night!

Lake Havasu City received a $2 million prize as coming in second in the competition. The prize money will help the city accomplish its goals of implementing its Vision 20/20 plan.

America’s Best Communities began in 2014 to spur economic development in small  towns throughout the country. It challenged local communities to submit ideas and proposals for bettering their communities. Winners would receive prize money and grant funding to help execute their plans. 

Lake Havasu City entered the competition submitting their Vision 20/20 Plan, which included five pillars: economic development and job creation, education and workforce talent, tourism and place development, water preservation and management, and community engagement.

The city was first selected from more than 350 entrants to compete in the quarterfinals among 49 other communities. They then advanced to the second round of 15 competing communities back in January.

Huntington, West Virginia took home the top prize last night. Lake Havasu City came in second place Statesboro, Georgia was third place as the top finishers.

For more information on the America’s Best Communities competition and the Lake Havasu City Vision 20/20 plan, click here: https://americasbestcommunities.com.

Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation, Paul Goldschmidt sponsor Goodyear Youth Ball Field

Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation, Paul Goldschmidt sponsor youth ball field
Goodyear’s Falcon Park receives $500,000 in upgrades 

Youth baseball and softball players will now have the opportunity to play on an upgraded field, thanks to a generous donation from the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation, APS, and Paul Goldschmidt The newly-upgraded field feature: new lights; an electronic scoreboard; new fencing and backstops; new irrigation, grass and dirt; as well as updated dugouts and bullpens. The upgrades to Falcon Park are valued at more than $500,000 and were completed at no cost to the city.

Paul Goldschmidt, nicknamed “Goldy”, is the first baseman of the Arizona Diamondbacks. With the team since 2011, Goldschmidt is a four-time Major League Baseball All-Star. He has won the National League Hank Aaron AwardGold Glove Award, and Silver Slugger Award.

For more information on youth recreation opportunities in Goodyear, call 623-882-7525, email gyrec@goodyearaz.gov or visit www.goodyearaz.gov/rec.

See more photos from the day’s events at the City of Goodyear Facebook page.

Tempe Fire Medical Rescue Department Veterans Telemedicine Program

Military veterans with high-risk health conditions who live in Tempe are getting health care in the comfort of their own homes thanks to a partnership between the Tempe Fire Medical Rescue Department and the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care System.  The two entities have joined forces to create a Veterans Telemedicine Program that has been helping some of Tempe’s more than 13,000 veterans conserve their health.  “Joined Forces”, a newly-produced video by Tempe11, highlights two of the veterans in the program.

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The telemedicine program combines an old-fashion house call with modern technology to allow the Tempe fire department’s nursing team and the VA medical staff to concurrently monitor the program participants, who are selected by the Phoenix VA. The registered nurses provide the hands-on health assessment while a VA nurse practitioner consults with the patient via a video conferencing platform to determine their medical needs.

“Our city high-risk veterans now have an alternative to stressful and costly emergency room visits,” said Tempe Fire Chief Greg Ruiz. “We believe there are more veterans in our city who have health conditions that may benefit from this program.” Veterans can contact the Tempe fire department or consult with their VA doctor about the program, which has been in progress for about a year and was recommended to the fire department by Vice Mayor Robin Arredondo-Savage.

To read the full release on the City of Tempe website click here.

To learn more about the program, click here.

Gilbert’s Fire Hydrant Story

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To ensure fire hydrants work properly when needed, Gilbert must effectively maintain, test, and replace these critical pieces of infrastructure.

In the past, an outside contractor was utilized to replace Gilbert’s aging fire hydrants. While contractors focused on the replacement of fire hydrants, Town employees concentrated their efforts towards preventative maintenance activities such as fire flow testing, fire hydrant painting, and fire hydrant repairs.   As Gilbert researched how to best maintain its existing infrastructure through Long Range Infrastructure Planning (LRIP), the Water Department identified that they could perform the necessary care of fire hydrants in-house, with Town employees, in a more cost-efficient manner.

In 2016, Gilbert’s Water Department increased the number of fire hydrants it inspects and maintains each year.  Inspecting more fire hydrants means that more routine maintenance can be performed and repairs made as needed to keep fire hydrants in service for the primary function of fire suppression. This allows fire hydrants to perform in a safe and reliable manner for a longer period of time, and reduces the number of new hydrants purchased for replacement.

It’s like the new car analogy—if you purchase a brand new car and never get an oil change, you can run it at a lower cost, for a little while, until the engine busts. Instead, Gilbert drives its car (maintains its fire hydrants) with routine oil changes (industry-standardized maintenance protocols) to ensure we get the most safe and reliable use out of our purchase, and that it lasts for a long time.

On top of these efficiencies, Gilbert has been able to renegotiate contracts for the price of materials to repair and replace hydrants, as well as collaborate with other municipalities to get the best deal on purchasing new fire hydrants. Now, Gilbert spends $600 less per new fire hydrant.

The infrastructure built during Gilbert’s rapid growth years requires careful maintenance, repair, and reinvestment to keep it working as well now as the day it was installed. Gilbert’s fire hydrant story is just one example of how the Town plans, in order to maintain system resiliency.

Queen Creek Moves Forward with New Park

 

The Queen Creek Town Council recently approved the conceptual design for a new park, located on the West Park site a 196th Street and Appleby Road, near Ocotillo and Sossaman roads. The 30-acre park will help meet the need for additional parks and recreational space in the community. The conceptual design includes lighted baseball/softball fields, lighted multi-purpose field (soccer, football, etc.), play and picnic areas, splash pad, wheel park, walking trail, lake, restrooms and concessions.   Qu

“Approving the conceptual design takes us one step closer to having a new park in Queen Creek,” stated Mayor Gail Barney. “The conceptual design provides a framework for the park as it is developed. As a Town Council, we are very excited about the quality of the new park. Over the past several years we’ve seen a number of new homes being built in our community, and every new home results in impact fees that ensure that growth pays for the impacts of growth. We’re using our bank of impact fees that have been accrued over the years to pay for this much-needed new facility in our community. As a Town, we have to balance the needs for recreation opportunities with making sound financial decisions with taxpayer dollars.” 

West Park, which will be named as the park is developed, will be funded through a variety of sources. The park improvements will be completely funded through impact fees designated specifically for parks. The parking and streets associated with West Park will be funded through street impact fees and the two percent dedicated construction sales tax, and the lake will be funded with water and wastewater capacity fees and savings. Changes at the state legislature in 2011 dramatically impacted the use of development fees, restricting the use for new parks to 30 acres, and eliminating the use of impact fees to fund recreational centers larger than 3,000 square feet. 

The development of a new park is supported by feedback on the 2016 Queen Creek Citizen Survey and the 2016 Parks and Recreation Survey, completed for the Parks and Recreation Master Plan Update. In the 2016 Queen Creek Citizen Survey, more recreation opportunities and more parks were both in the top 10 most desired benefits. The 2016 Parks and Recreation Survey had similar results, with 53% of respondents indicating they felt Queen Creek needs more parks and 24 to 29% reporting they felt Queen Creek needs more fields (softball, soccer, baseball, and football). The development of West Park also supports two goals identified in the Town’s Corporate Strategic Plan, superior infrastructure and quality lifestyle.

View the full release and get more information by clicking here

City of Mesa opens Inclusive Playground

The City of Mesa held a ribbon cutting ceremony to bring in a new playground in their Dobson Ranch Park.

The park includes several new inclusive features including a multi-level play structure that has activities connected through ramps, sensory play sandbox, a double zip line with a supported seat, a climbing wall, cozy cocoon for children who need quiet space and updated restrooms to meet ADA requirements, among others.

The 10,000 square-foot playground will allow parents and caregivers to play alongside their child.

The previous playground was donated to the Mesa Sister City of Guaymas, Mexico.

For more information on the new playground and City of Mesa Parks and Recreation, click here.