Downtown Chandler Construction – Walkability is Coming!

This morning is a glorious day.  Construction is in full swing for doubling the size of the sidewalks in front of Gangplank 3.0.  It was one of the things that we required to move.  Seeing it be built before our eyes is great.

Normally the sound of a jackhammer would be irritating, but today it is sweet sweet music.  This is the beginning of a new chapter for downtown Chandler and we are excited to be involved.  In a time when other cities are panicking Chandler is preparing for it’s future.

Oh, and by the way, you’ll need to enter from the back door for the next week or so.

IMAG00111 e1284566064978 1024x766 Downtown Chandler Construction   Walkability is Coming!

IMAG0012 1024x682 Downtown Chandler Construction   Walkability is Coming!

Downtown Chandler Zip Bikes

All paper work is signed and we are on our way to a new downtown Chandler location.  As part of that plan we are serious about a walkable/bikeable city.  We are going to assemble a half dozen bicycles to be used as “zip” bikes.  Similar to ZipCar‘s only with no cost associated.  Reserve. Ride. Return. It’s that simple.

Authority Labs has donated our first ZipBike. (below)
4728929809 1ee212bfd2 Downtown Chandler Zip Bikes

In true Gangplank style we are looking to build the rest of the fleet from scratch.  Our first project bike is an “Overkill Chopper” from Atomic Zombie Extreme Machines.

We need your help.  We are looking for some one to loan us the following tools to help us complete this project.20100624 qr5iu84ijt15w4jpfejp8378yc Downtown Chandler Zip Bikes

  • Metal Cutter
  • Angle Grinder
  • Welder (for tack welds)
  • Pipe Cutter
  • “Shoe” Pipe Bender
  • 15″ Rim

We have plans to build several more and partner with local businesses and Heat Sync Labs to have a wicked stable of ZipBikes for your enjoyment!!!!

Please email katie@gangplankhq.com if you have access the the above equipment or want to get more involved.

Announcing Gangplank JR Book Club

Gangplank Junior has decidStargirl large 205x300 Announcing Gangplank JR Book Clubed the grown-ups shouldn’t be the ones having all the fun.

Starting next month, the kids of Gangplank will begin hosting their own book club. Each month’s book will target a different age range, from 7-15, though all children are welcome to attend any of the book club meetings. We will post the reading grade-level of each titles, as well as caution parents for any strong language or themes.

Our first meeting will be Tuesday, July 20th at 6pm inside Gangplank HQ. The discussion will be led by Brittany Neighbors, a Queen Creek High School Junior.

For our first title, we will be reading Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. The book takes place in Arizona, with main character Stargirl Caraway making a splash at her new high school. Having been home schooled for the majority of her life, Stargirl moves to beat of her own drummer in dress, behavior and personality. In this book, Spinelli “captures the collective, not-always-pretty emotions of a high school microcosm in which individuality is pitted against conformity”.

Recommended ages are 10-14. 208 pages.

New staff member

mustache 150x150 New staff member

Hey, I’m Katie Charland, the new Director of Operations for Gangplank.

Last week, Gangplank welcomed me as its first full-time staff member. Though I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many of you through various events, I’ve got a long way to go if I hope to get to know the 2,000+ Gangplank members and fans.

Gangplank means something different to each person that walks through its doors. My journey to this position started over 3 years ago when I began teaching.

Fresh off my bachelors degree in poli sci and communications, I was looking for an in to Chicago politics. On a whim, I applied to Teach for America and was accepted as a 7th grade history teacher on the border of Mexico and Texas. This experience forever altered my life, as I became passionate about nonprofit causes.

After my 2-year contract was up, I moved to Arizona to pursue a graduate degree at ASU. My masters program focused on public relations for nonprofits. In May 2009, I graduated and went off into the world.

And what a crappy world it was. Recession, Arizona unemployment hovering around 10% — ouch. Having become involved in the social media/PR scene, I was able to contract myself out for various small projects. It was during this time I was introduced to Gangplank.

At the beginning, I was terrified. Here I am, a tech/social networking newbie and (gasp) blackberry user, surrounded by the hacker elite of the Valley. Intimidated? Hell yeah.

But what’s great about Gangplank is its welcoming spirit. People love to chat and network.

Not only that, Gangplank is an organization with tremendous potential. All I had to do was ask if I could help plan events for Gangplank and was instantly assigned to brown bags.

Now I’m staff (though still not an iPhone convert). That’s my Gangplank story.

I want to hear yours.

Just as Gangplank means something different to each person, everyone has a stake in the organization’s future. What is your experience with Gangplank? What would you like to see it become?

Schedule a chat with me.

Celebrating Creation with Desert Bloom

Desert Bloom is what Gangplank is all about.  While it was a great showing of using free infrastructure provided for creatives to create and show off their work it really was about so much more.  It was about a group of people stepping up and taking initiative to make the place they live better.  Not only for themselves but for other creatives like them.  We asked for volunteers to get involved in bringing music to Gangplank and from a few exchanges Greg Taylor, Brandon Franklin, Brandon Mason and Nicholas DiBiase ran with it and put together a fabulous event to kick off the YearOfMusic.

We are excited to be moving into a new space soon that will allow local musical creatives to really flourish by providing studio and venue space to not only perform, but to create and collaborate.  If you want to be involved drop us a line we plug you in.  If you have an idea of something you want to see at Gangplank speak up.  Our goal is to help people follow their passion and unlock their talent and creativity.  We look forward to seeing everyone participate.  If you want to participate in the photo equivalent of the YearOfMusic check out PhotoCon and sign up for the Chandler Photo Throwdown.

Update on Gangplank Move

Last month we talked about “Gangplank looking to move downtown“.  We have been actively pursuing a move since June 2009.  We knew that we wanted to be more involved in the creating of a new economy.

To accomplish this we need to be in a city that wants and values the same things we do.   We have been really happy with Chandler and over the last three months have really started to get involved with their downtown.  It became clear very quickly that they embody the same spirit as Gangplank when it comes to their civic planning and downtown.  The business owners, landlords, developers, council and staff all are rowing in the same direction and striving to be the leader in technology of the Phoenix-Tucson mega region over the next 20 years.  They have shown they want to be the place “Where the creative class grows up”.

They had four initiatives in place that we felt were necessary to pass before we could consider them as a viable option.  These initiatives were important for a number of reasons.  First and foremost their adoption meant they were serious about becoming a creative class city and committed to technology.  Secondly, it would prove that they had the ability to work together to make an impact in their city.

  1. Widening of Arizona Avenue (committed to being connected/walkable/creative class)
  2. Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Connection to Light Rail (committed to being connected/major player mega region)
  3. Innovations Incubator (committed to innovation/major player mega region)
  4. Update to General Plan / Design Guidelines (committed to urban infill/density/creative class) next council meeting

Last week was the approval of #1 and in good faith was enough to solidify for us that the City of Chandler has the right mix and a commitment to the creative class.  We have engaged with land developers Desert Viking and Peter Sciacca on developing a 15,000sqft facility in the historic Thomas Building in downtown.  We will have more information as the negotiations progress and as things get underway.  We are excited to become immersed in the community and really get involved on a much deeper level.  Things are already underway that are making a major impact for both Chandler and Gangplank including new developments with Gangplank Junior.

Exposed Historical Wooden Trusses

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Plans to Put on a Second Story (Stop Sprawl/Go Up)

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moz screenshot 1 Update on Gangplank Move