I loved this time of year growing up in Chandler. Downtown was an energetic place that always seemed to amplify the essence of the holidays. That spirit continues even today with a square that is brimming with new stores, restaurants, decorations and events that celebrate the season. Of course, the Tumbleweed Tree has been a constant. It is a great reminder of our past and how we have managed to keep Chandler’s traditions and heritage alive in the community despite tremendous growth and change these past couple of decades.
In 2011, we witnessed a lot of good in the community; reflecting upon this past year, there is much to be thankful for in Chandler. We created thousands of new jobs through the expansion of Intel and the location of employers like Ports America, Phoenix Packaging, CyrusOne and the Triumph Group.
We took a serious look at the many vacant retail spaces along our major corridors — a reminder that the economy is still fragile and it is more important than ever to shop locally and patronize those small entrepreneurs who have chosen to build their business here in our community.
We brought community leaders together through a series of neighborhood initiatives that included my Listening Tour, a Traditional Neighborhood Academy, a virtual town hall and blight-fighting programs like the Voluntary Demolition initiative. These programs, and others, have allowed me to get out into the community and meet so many people — an objective I felt very strongly about when taking office this past January.
And in 2011 we began to make serious plans for the biggest celebration of the century — Chandler’s Centennial year of 2012. It is great to see the many residents who have offered to volunteer their time to make next year a great one. And the local business community has also stepped in with sponsorships to help pay the bills for the many activities we have planned in the coming months.
That includes our 100-day birthday countdown on Feb. 7. That night we will highlight a number of Centennial contests and events and the evening will culminate with my annual State of the City address. There, we can celebrate and reflect in greater length on all that is great about our community.
This time of year is best spent with friends and family. It is a time to share in the joys of those favorite traditions that can sometimes span generations. And, it is a period of warm reflection and of celebration. I wish you all a holiday season filled with wonderful moments and lasting memories. And finally, here is to a very happy and prosperous 2012.