Obama Visits Chandler to Promote Better Bargain for the Middle Class

Today President Obama visited Chandler to promote homeownership and his “better bargain for the middle class“. Obama is no stranger to Chandler. He visited in January 2012 to celebrate the construction on Intel’s new fabrication facility. Erickson Construction got to spend some time sharing with him the current state of the industry.

6763275309 168f4de1b8 z Obama Visits Chandler to Promote Better Bargain for the Middle Class

Copyright Nick Knupffer

Chandler Mayor Jay Tibshraeny said it well, “The East Valley is really the perfect backdrop for anyone wanting to showcase what is good about our country. Strong family values, an economy that is emerging from the Great Recession with dynamic job growth, and a quality of life that continues to remain unsurpassed. It is nice to see that the president embraces all that is positive about the region and continues to promote the East Valley for all that is good about America” (via East Valley Tribune)

I think we have something to learn from Obama’s wise words. He said, “Phoenix has also led one of the biggest comebacks in the country. You should be proud of what you’ve done here.” We have a fighting spirit and are investing in our community. Chandler is the epicenter of the new economy in Arizona. There is something special going on here, join us in helping make it continue to rise. #whyAZ

Chandler Named “Playful City USA” Community For 7th Straight Year

We are proud to acknowledge that KaBOOM! has named the City of Chandler a Playful City USA community for the 7th straight year. Recognizing the effort to provide children ample opportunities for play.

playground Chandler Named Playful City USA Community For 7th Straight Year

Copyright Ronn Tan

Play is essential to the social, emotional, cognitive and physical well-being of children. We are proud to have our Health, Local and Junior initiatives working with the city to provide opportunities and guide policy that encourages play. It is fantastic to see the lack of play in this generation of children being addressed the mayor, council, staff, school district and community.

“Quality parks, playgrounds, and aquatic centers have been a Chandler priority for decades, because we value families and we want our children to have opportunities for fun and fitness,” said Chandler Mayor Jay Tibshraeny. “We are committed to developing healthy, fulfilled children and families, and that’s why we are honored to be recognized as a Playful City USA for the seventh straight time.”

Sometimes it is easy to forget that children spend nearly eight hours a day in front a screen, many have no or little recess time and one in five children don’t live within walking distance of a park. Chandler has been actively creating innovative programs and initiatives to combat these problems by developing unique local action plans to increase the quantity and quality of play in their community.

Chandler is now eligible for grants via Let’s Play, a community partnership led by Dr Pepper Snapple Group to get kids and families active nationwide.

Local Initiative Improving Chandler Through Public Space

The Urban Times has a great piece on “10 Ways to Improve Your City through Public Space“.  It speaks volumes to the work we are trying to do with the Local Initiative in Chandler.  So lets take a look at what we have done to strengthen these areas.

1. Improve Streets as Public Places

When we first came to downtown Chandler we helped push for the widening of pedestrian ways, including adding benches and trees for shade.  In fact, it won an International Downtown Association Award. We have pushed for the city to close Arizona Avenue on a more regular basis for events starting with the Chandler Block Party.  We have a long way to go, but we are making a dent.

2. Create Squares and Parks as Multi-Use Destinations

We have worked with the Downtown Chandler Community Partnership to strengthen the Chandler Farmer’s Market and the Chandler Art Walk in the historic town square and AJ Chandler Park.  We have encouraged a number of events and expansion of the park to include a stage for 10,000+ person events such as the Great American BBQ and Beer Festival.

3. Build Local Economies through Markets

Once again the Artwalk and Farmers market are key examples, but Gangplank itself is an example of a bustling market for ideas.

4. Design Buildings to Support Place

We are working closely with the City on a number of RFPs for new building and have been active in zoning, adaptive reuse code and encouraging of pedestrian flow to connect all parts of the downtown area including access to public transportation.

5. Link a Public Health Agenda to a Public Space Agenda

We have failed here.  We have tried a number of attempts to various bicycle depots and other connectivity.  We have been moderately successful with the Gangplank Mile (GP Health) getting people out of their office and walking around downtown.

6. Reinvent Community Planning

Between City Camp AZ, Vibrant Phoenix, The Manifesto Project and various other events we have significantly changed the engagement level of residents by including them in the process of defining the future.

7. Power of 10

Gangplank, San Tan Brewing, Chandler Center for the Arts, Chandler Library, Vision Gallery, Paletas Betty, Vintage 95, Bourbon Jacks, and more.  We are getting closer, but still working on this one.

8. Create a Comprehensive Public Space Agenda

We have started discussions with the City but it is slow going.  Change is hard.  We have a few things up our sleeve.

9. Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper: Start Small, Experiment

We recently did a community garden using a neighbors front  yard.  We have done pop up events and played with space.  We can do better here but we are trying.

10. Restructure Government to Support Public Spaces

It is hard, but it is happening.  We meet with the city every two weeks and share ideas and explore new possibilities.  Working towards a relationship of mutual respect and trust in building great public space together.

I am also President of the Downtown Chandler Community Partnership so my work with the Local Initiative and the DCCP blurs greatly.  The Local initiative has a direct influence on the work in every way.

What are you doing for your community?

Gangplank Avondale Feature in Arizona Health and Living Magazine

Things continue to keep buzzing at Gangplank!  We have recently had the privilege to be featured in the June issue of Arizona Health and Living magazine.  Michelle Talsma Everson spent some time with Co-Director Cody Landefeld and C0-Founder Derek Neighbors to discuss the vision for Gangplank Avondale along with some commentary from City of Avondale Mayor Marie Lopez Rogers.

Click here to check out the magazine online (contains flash embed)

Thanks again to Arizona Health and Living for their support and interest in our community!

-codyL

Chandler Photo Throwdown Awards

Back in April, Gangplank received a $500 grant from the Downtown Chandler Community Foundation for a photography event celebrating Historic Downtown. That grant became the Chandler Photo Throwdown.

Downtown Chandler was divided into 20 grids. 20 photographers were selected and given three months to submit a minimum of one photo per grid. The result? More than 650 photographs were submitted displaying both the beauty and occasional oddities of Chandler.

Those photos were eligible to win one of five awards (linked to winners):

Additionally, each photographer chose their best photo to be framed and matted as a token of their participation in the event.

The winning photographs, as well as each photographer’s chosen shot, will be displayed in Gangplank during the Chandler Block Party this Saturday. The five award photographs will be put up for silent auction to benefit the Downtown Chandler Community Foundation.

Thank you to everyone who voted in the people’s choice award, as well as supported these amazing photographers as they braved the summer heat to capture every inch of Downtown Chandler.

Participating Photographers:

Claire Marilee
Mercedes Cantu