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Arizona Cities and Towns Week

It’s Arizona Cities and Towns Week! Help us celebrate!

Arizona Cities and Towns Week is set aside each year to recognize the services cities and towns provide, as well as honor those elected officials, staff and volunteers who serve in municipal government. This is the 16th Annual Arizona Cities and Towns Week.

We are excited to have so many of our Arizona cities and towns participating this year, including: Chino Valley, Florence, Gilbert, Litchfield Park, Peoria, Sierra Vista, Surprise, Tempe and many others!

Find out how your city or town is celebrating and participate in Arizona Cities & Towns Week by using the hashtag #AZCityWeek on social media.

Vote Your Main Street – City of Casa Grande

The City of Casa Grande is proud to partner with Casa Grande Main Street to participate in the “Partners in Preservation: Main Streets” national campaign to create a vintage Neon Sign Park in historic Casa Grande.  As the only Arizona community competing, Mayor Craig McFarland is encouraging Casa Grande residents and the surrounding communities to vote for the project at VoteYourMainStreet.org.

Located at the Arizona Plaza at 408 N. Sacaton Street (between Florence Boulevard and 2nd Street), the proposed Neon Sign Park will contain salvaged historic neon signs from throughout the community, and will serve as a vibrant downtown destination for visitors.

“This is the perfect opportunity for Casa Grande to showcase its community pride, all by simply voting daily,” said Casa Grande Mayor Craig McFarland. “We may be the underdog compared to other larger competing cities, but I have complete confidence in the dedication and power of our residents to vote early, vote often, and help us create this unique space.”

The public may vote up to five times daily through October 31, and winners will be announced on November 2. The sites with the most votes will get grants of up to $150,000 each, with as many projects funded as possible from a pool of $1.5 million.

In an effort to highlight local preservation efforts and promote the campaign, Casa Grande Main Street will host a Media Open House and Community Mural Event on Saturday, October 7 at the proposed park site. The event will include a press conference to start at 11:00 am, followed by a community mural event that celebrates historic sites until 2:00 pm.

Partners in Preservation is a community-based partnership, created by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and American Express, to raise awareness of the importance of preserving historic places and their role in sustaining local communities. Partners in Preservation: Main Streets will award $2 million in grant funding from American Express to Main Street districts in need of preservation support across America.

For more information about the “Partners in Preservation: Main Streets” projects, or to place your vote, please click here. For more information about Casa Grande Main Street or the proposed Neon Sign Park, please contact Casa Grande Main Street Director, Rina Rien at (520) 836-8744.

Tempe Vice Mayor Honored with Service Award

City of Tempe Vice Mayor Robin Arredondo-Savage has been honored with the 2017 Service Award as part of the third annual Mesa Community College (MCC) Hall of Fame. The Service Award is given to a community member who has provided exemplary service to the community.

“I am honored to receive this award and to be recognized by such a dedicated group of educators,” Arredondo-Savage said. “I remain committed to working towards better education, more economic opportunities and improved care for veterans across our city.”

Vice Mayor Arredondo-Savage was recognized for her years of service to the City of Tempe, the State of Arizona and our country.  She is a U.S. Army veteran and served on the Tempe Union High School District Governing Board for eight years, including two years as President of the Board. She has also been serving on the Tempe City Council since 2010.

As an advocate for veterans’ services, Vice Mayor Arredondo-Savage was instrumental in securing Valor on 8th, Tempe’s first affordable housing community designed for veterans with families.  She also started Tempe’s College Connect program which helps students to apply and find the resources they need to go to college.  Vice Mayor Arredondo-Savage remains committed to serving the community by focusing on education, jobs and programs that help veterans.

This is the third year of the MCC Hall of Fame awards, which recognizes alumni, community members and MCC employees whose personal and professional accomplishments have made positive contributions to the college and the community. Other awards include Alumni Achievement, Outstanding Athletes and Excellence in Teaching.

A reception and awards program to recognize this year’s awards recipients will be held on Thursday, Nov. 2 at 6 p.m. at the Mesa Community College Theatre. Click here for more information.

MEDIA CONTACT: Melissa Quillard, 480-350-8808, Melissa_quillard@tempe.gov

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.

CRESCORDIA AWARDS

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)

AWARDS OF MERIT

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 arizonaforward.org.

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 www.goodyearaz.gov/h2o365.

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 watereuse.org.

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.

Rainwater Harvesting in Tucson

Below is an excerpt from Tucson  Councilmember Paul Cunningham’s newsletter about rainwater harvesting in Tucson:

July 14, 2017:

As a native Tucsonan, the monsoon season is my favorite time of year. There is nothing more magical than rain in the desert, with the drop in temperature, the smell of creosote, and the flowing arroyos. Most people I know in Tucson make it through the oven like heat of June with hopes of a good monsoon season.

Well, our hopes, prayers and good thoughts have been rewarded. Here at the Ward 2 office we have received well over 2 inches this past week and for a variety of reasons, this is good news. As I’ve mentioned before, we make extensive use of rainwater harvesting. The rain that hits the asphalt runs off to water our Palo Verde trees that shade the west side of our parking lot while the rest of our landscaping is watered by harvested rainwater that flows into basins and collects in our cistern from the roof. Given the area of our building, we have collected over 2000 gallons of water that is now saved in our cistern and ready to irrigate when needed.

Monsoon season is a good time to talk about water harvesting and how we can encourage more Tucsonans to utilize this ancient and basic technology in our neighborhoods. Rainwater harvesting made human settlement possible in Southern Arizona 3,500 years ago. The Hohokam Indians captured rainwater with rock dams and built sizable storage tanks. The Tohono O’Odham still store rainwater in earthen tanks for cattle. Here in Tucson, any chance we can use rainwater instead of potable water, we make an investment in our future.

To that end, the Mayor and Council recently directed staff to institute a program using water conservation funds to provide grants to neighborhoods and community groups in the City of Tucson. These funds are available to facilitate the installation of storm water harvesting features in their neighborhoods. The aim of these grants is to provide neighborhoods with appropriate resources to plan and implement neighborhood scale storm water harvesting projects in publicly owned areas or a homeowner association’s common area such as a right-of-way, park or other open space

Taking storm water off our streets is a good thing. Runoff causes potholes and, more importantly, causes flooding, property damage and potential loss of life. Putting that water to beneficial use is even better. One of those uses is to increase our tree canopy. By planting more trees and shading the asphalt and concrete we reduce the heat island effect (therefore reducing temperatures,). Additionally, trees absorb CO2 (helping to improve air quality and mitigate climate change) tree lined streets help calm traffic, provide habitat for birds and lizards, improve aesthetics while increasing property values.

Read the councilmember’s full article here:  https://www.tucsonaz.gov/files/ward2/newsletters/Newsletter_071417.pdf