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mesaaz D OW N TOW N ED ITION | Janu ar y 2016

I N T H I S I SS U E :

City Manager’s Message

Best in the Southwest Advancing Education

Housing Mesa’s Heroes Get Out and Play!

Make a Difference Day and much more...

© Jaime Glasser | jaimeglasser.com

AT MESA ARTS CENTER

FESTIVALS

MESA’S

FESTIVAL of CREATIVITY

s pa rk ! M E S A’ S F E S T IV AL OF CR E AT IV IT Y LET YOUR IMAGINATION RUN FREE AT SPARK! MESA’S FESTIVAL OF CREATIVITY

MAR 18 & 19 | 12 NOON-10PM spark! AFTER DARK: 5PM-10PM Now in its 6th year, spark! Mesa’s Festival of Creativity in March will feature hands-on creative activities and endless unique experiences to satisfy the child-like wonder in all of us. What you can expect at this FREE festival is great music, amazing food, live performances, interactive activities, and so much more!

C O ME C E L E BRA TE A ND D I SC O VER THE C R E A TI V E THI NKE R I N YO U! For more details on this upcoming festival please visit MesaArtsCenter.com or call 480.644.6500

The i.d.e.a. Museum is the place to explore your imagination through design in art, science and technology! We support “your child and the child within you” by providing interactive opportunities that engage your senses and encourage creativity. There are three main exhibit areas and an outdoor atrium to explore during your visit.

i.d.e.a. Museum

150 W. Pepper Place Mesa, AZ 85201 480.644.idea (4332) ideamuseum.org

parks & recreation

Birthday Parties

Mesa Parks, Recreation & Commercial Facilities Department 200 S. Center St. Bld #1 PO Box 1466 – Mail Stop 7010 Mesa, AZ 85211 Monday-Thursday 7am-6pm 480-644-2352

www.mesaaz.gov/parksrec

Arizona Museum of Natural History 53 North Macdonald Street • Mesa, Arizona 85201

480.644.3553 • AzMNH.org

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PERFORMING LIVE COMING UP IN

THE TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE

feat. Le Terrible Orchestre de Belleville w/ Composer Benoít Charest

MAR 1 | 7:30PM

JULLIARD STRING QUARTET MAR 10 | 7:30PM

MARCH NAT GEO LIVE: K2 DANGER & DESIRE Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner: Mountaineer MAR 2 | 7:30PM THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS MAR 12 | 4PM & 8PM PETER YARROW AND NOEL PAUL STOOKEY Of Peter, Paul And Mary MAR 17 | 7:30PM IGUDESMAN AND JOO: AND NOW MOZART MAR 22 | 7:30PM CHRIS BOTTI w/ The Phoenix Symphony MAR 26 | 7:30PM

A PR I L STAR TREK: THE ULTIMATE VOYAGE CONCERT TOUR 2016 APR 3 | 7:30PM

DISNEY’S BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

THE JOHNNY CLEGG BAND APR 21 | 7:30PM

MAR 28-30 | 7:30PM

RAIN: A TRIBUTE TO THE BEATLES APR 12 | 7:30PM

SPRING

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city manager’s MESSAGE

Chris Brady

Welcome to the City of Mesa’s first mid-year community report. The past six months have been busy for the City of Mesa and full of historic accomplishments as demonstrated by the grand opening of the light rail extension through downtown Mesa. As a result of the extension light rail ridership has increased and has brought an increased interest in downtown Mesa. Residents and visitors are beginning to notice downtown is starting to come alive and has hosted several large events. The City of Mesa has also made great strides towards creating new and enhanced recreational opportunities for residents and ensuring the economic success our community by developing a workforce that will be able to compete on the global stage. Mesa continues to be a leader in technology with the development of applications that allow residents to engage with the city and report issues. All of the hard work is starting to be recognized as Mesa was recently recognized as the best big city in the Southwest to live.

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table of

CONTENTS

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pg mayor & council

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pg best in the southwest

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Money.com, owned by Time, Inc., released the Best Places to Live 2015 ranking with Mesa being named the Best Big City in the Southwest.

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Make a Difference Day is the most encompassing national day of helping others, an annual celebration on the fourth Saturday of every October of neighbors helping neighbors.

The Mesa Counts on College Access Center is now open to assist Mesa residents pursue higher education.

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Downtown Mesa is a place that has something for everyone from boutique shops, great dining, family friendly events, and a lively arts and music scene.

Mesa has one of the best park systems in the country with a variety of recreational opportunities available to the public including world class swimming facilities, scenic desert trails, sports for all ages, and community fishing.

pg make a difference day

pg advancing education

pg welcome to downtown mesa

pg get out and play!

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pg there’s a mesa app for that The City of Mesa has integrated technology as a part of everyday business through the development of online tools and apps.

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pg job creation

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In the last quarter of 2015 the City of Mesa added over 2,000 quality jobs to the city.

pg housing mesa’s heroes

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Mesa has joined a nationwide effort to end veteran’s homelessness.

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pg mesa police dept. forensic services Has been recognized as one of the top 25 forensic internships in the nation.

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mayor & council John Giles was elected the 40th Mayor of Mesa, Arizona in August, 2014. Mayor Giles is committed to taking Mesa to the next level with his NextMesa vision.

MAYOR

Elected to the Mesa City Council in June of 2008 and re-elected in August of 2012, Dennis Kavanaugh serves as the councilmember for District 3. He was named the Vice Mayor of Mesa in January of 2015.

John Giles

COUNCILMEMBER District 1

VICE MAYOR District 3

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Elected to the Mesa City Council in June of 2008 and re-elected in August of 2012, Dave Richins serves as the councilmember for District 1.

Dennis Kavanaugh

Dave Richins

Elected to the Mesa City Council in June of 2008 and re-elected in August of 2012, Alex Finter is in his second term as the Councilmember for District 2.

The youngest person ever to serve on the Mesa City Council following his election at age 23 in 2011, Councilmember Chris Glover was re-elected to a second term representing District 4 in August of 2014.

COUNCILMEMBER District 4

COUNCILMEMBER District 2

Alex Finter

Appointed to fill the vacant District 5 seat in September of 2013, David Luna became the first Hispanic elected to the Mesa City Council when voters elected him in August of 2014.

Chris Glover

Elected to the Mesa City Council in August 2014, Councilmember Kevin Thompson began his first term representing District 6 in January of 2015.

COUNCILMEMBER District 6

COUNCILMEMBER District 5

Kevin Thompson

David Luna

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Southwest best in the

Money.com, owned by Time, Inc., released the Best Places to Live 2015 ranking with Mesa being named the Best Big City in the Southwest. Mesa joins Pittsburgh, Tampa, Denver and Omaha in the top 5 best places to live for cities with more than 300,000 residents. The popular financial website reviewed 63 urban centers looking at the job market, affordable housing, and factors such as accessibility to health care, culture and open space. They also gave extra points for low crime and strong public schools in selecting the top city in the Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Southwest and West. Money.com cited Mesa’s great school system, affordable housing, and quality golf as reasons for naming Mesa the best in the Southwest. The City was also listed in the top five “best places for outdoor lovers.” In selecting these urban areas,

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Money.com ranked cities based on access to green spaces, percentage of the population that is at least moderately physically active, proximity to camp sites, ski resorts and golf courses. Most weight was given to green space access and physical fitness with only one city being chosen per state.

The article also claimed “the Mesa area is great for hikers, cyclists, horseback riders and kayakers looking to explore. Within the city limits, residents can also enjoy Mesa’s unique series of urban fishing lakes…as well as over 200 golf courses nearby.”

safest city in America - Forbes magazine

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th

9 of the

51 Median home price

Mesa Arts Center international award winning venue

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schools earning the Arizona Educational Foundation A+ designation were in Mesa, more than any other district in the state

172,500

$

Top

average days of sunshine

playground in the country - Riverview

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advancing education 10

The Mesa Counts on College Access Center is now open to assist Mesa residents pursue higher education. Mesa Counts on College is a partnership between the City of Mesa, Mesa Community College, and Mesa Public Schools that works in the community to create a college completion culture in Mesa. The Access Center is free and open to anyone interested in furthering their education by offering services from the beginning of the post-secondary experience to the end. Services offered include: • College Support Programming • One-on-One Personalized College Advisement • Financial Aid Guidance • College Search • College Application • College Admissions • Scholarship Search and Application • Testing Prep and Support • PSAT/SAT/ACT • Summer Programs and Internships (varies each summer) The Mesa Counts on College Access Center is located at 635 E. Broadway Road and is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Interested in advancing your education? Check out more information about Mesa Counts on College at:

www.mesacountsoncollege.org or

www.facebook.com/ mesacountsoncollegeaccesscenter

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WELCO Downtown Mesa is a place that has something for everyone from boutique shops, great dining, family friendly events, and a lively arts and music scene. Those that have not been to downtown in a few years, even a few months will see changes all around them and notice downtown Mesa is beginning to find its groove. The most obvious change is the arrival of light rail on Main Street, on August 22, 2015 light rail service through the heart of downtown opened to the public. The expansion, a 3.1 mile extension from Sycamore to Mesa Dr. along Main St., will add an additional 5,000 weekday riders that can access light rail service at four new stations. Each station has a unique design complimented by one of a kind public artwork that showcases the history and people of Mesa and commuters in Mesa now have access to a new park and ride lot on the northeast corner of Mesa Dr. and Main St. Light rail has sparked new interest in downtown Mesa and attracting new businesses and development interests. These new ventures add to the unique shopping experience in downtown that features many boutique shops where visitors can find an eclectic mix of stores that sell comic books, designer toys, clothing, arcades, jewelry, and much more. Downtown Mesa is also home to several excellent coffee shops and has a variety of delicious

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Downtow Thank you to Jaime Glasser who generously provided us with her artwork featuring light rail in downtown Mesa. Jaime Glasser is a local Mesa artist involved with the downtown community more of her work can be seen at jaimeglasser.com.

Š Jaime Glasser

OME to restaurants ranging from Thai food to pizzas, there is something for every palette to enjoy.

The Mesa Arts Center (MAC) is an international award winning facility that has been a highlight in downtown for many years, ten to be exact. This year the MAC will host several special events to celebrate its 10th year at its current location next to the Center and Main light rail station. The celebration kicked off in September with a Latin street festival and continued with the filming of the Lincoln Center Great American Dance featuring Ballet Hispanico. Some of the upcoming events include Riverdance January 12th -17th, the unveiling of Musical Shadows a permanent interactive artwork on Mesa Arts Center’s campus on February 13th, Spark! Mesa’s Festival of Creativity free to the public March 18th and 19th, and the display of Street Pianos throughout downtown Mesa for the public to play in public spaces. The Mesa Arts Center has developed a partnership with the Lincoln Center to bring world class performances to Mesa and provides opportunities for residents to express their artistic side through a wide range of classes and programs.

wn Mesa The music scene in downtown Mesa erupted with the first Mesa Music Festival. The three day event

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featured over 100 bands and was free to the public. An eclectic mix of upcoming bands from across the country came to downtown Mesa to fill the air with music and play at venues located across downtown. The event was a huge success with plans to bring the music festival back next year. Other forms of art are beginning to be prominently displayed in downtown with residents taking notice of the large murals and street art. The City of Mesa in collaboration with the Downtown Mesa Association (DMA) and the Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation (NEDCO) have teamed up to create the Downtown Laboratory. The laboratory are experiments in urban design that create a stronger sense of place and give downtown a unique feel. Several murals and other artwork have been included in re-purposing underutilized space in downtown. A collection of art paying homage to some of the historic neon signs in Mesa can be found in the alleyway adjacent to Surf and Ski located at 137 W. Main St. Another alley adjacent to Milano’s Music located at 38 W. Main St has been converted to a pedestrian friendly space with large games and comfortable seating areas. The alley features lush grass and plenty of shade creating a lounging oasis for downtown visitors. Further enhancing the lounging experience is the free Wi-Fi available throughout downtown, allowing visitors are able to stay connected on the @mesa network. This year Merry Main St. was revived and downtown Mesa was transformed into a winter wonderland. The festivities were kicked off with a huge tree lighting ceremony that attracted thousands of people. Pioneer Park was transformed into a Food Truck Forrest with dozens of food trucks serving delicious food every night in December. The heart of downtown featured an ice skating rink to complete the winter experience in Mesa. Downtown Mesa is no stranger to special events with family friendly gatherings happening all year round. For more information on other special events occurring in downtown Mesa visit the Downtown Mesa Association’s website at www.downtownmesa.com.

Downtown Mesa 14

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H o u s i n g M e s a’s

H EROES

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Mesa has joined a nationwide effort to end veteran’s homelessness. This spring, Mayor John Giles formed the “Housing Our Heroes Task Force” with Councilmember Chris Glover and Councilmember Kevin Thompson taking on leadership roles. The Task Force includes City staff as well as many local non-profits and state agencies working together to reprioritize existing services in order to create a strong and lasting system to locate Mesa’s homeless Veterans, provide them housing, and connect them to support services that allow them to stay housed. The ultimate goal is that Mesa’s Veterans are able to get the help they need (rental assistance, VA benefits, medical, counselling, jobs readiness, education, training, etc.) so that they re-engage with society and become active, independent community members.

City of Mesa Parks, Recreation and Commercial Facilities; Community Bridges Inc.; Phoenix Veterans Affairs Department; Veterans Affair’s Medical Center Phoenix; Veterans Affairs Southeast Clinic; Phoenix VA Community Resources and Referral Center; Paz de Cristo; Arizona Coalition to End Homelessness; Save the Family; MARC Community Resources; Cloudbreak Communities; A New Leaf; Office of Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema; Office of Congressman Matt Salmon; Arizona Department of Veterans Services; Arizona Veterans Group; East Valley Chapter 8 DAV Mesa; Mesa Chamber of Commerce; VFW Post 1760; Central Christian Church and Veterans Court Mentor Project. All of these organizations make Housing Mesas Heroes possible and provide valuable services to Mesas veteran community.

Housing Mesa’s Heroes is a partnership involving the City of Mesa Police Department; City of Mesa Fire and Medical Department; City of Mesa Office of Diversity; City of Mesa Housing and Community Development;

Anyone interested in donating to help end veteran homelessness through Housing Mesa’s Heroes should contact Lori Eastin at Community Bridges Inc. at LEastin@cbridges.com or at (480) 831-7566.

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get out and...

Mesa has one of the best park systems in the country with a variety of recreational opportunities available to the public including world class swimming facilities, scenic desert trails, sports for all ages, and community fishing. This past year the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA), in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), recognized Mesa Parks, Recreation and Commercial Facilities as a finalist for the 2015 National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management. Mesa was also a finalist last year and has won the prestigious award in 1978, 1992 and 2000. The Gold Medal Awards program honors communities in the U.S. that demonstrate excellence in parks and recreation through long-range planning, resource management, volunteerism, environmental stewardship, program development, professional development and agency recognition. Agencies are judged on their ability to address the needs of those they serve through the collective energies of citizens, staff and elected officials. Not only does Mesa have one of the best parks and recreation departments in the country it also has one of the top 10 playgrounds. Mesa Riverview Park has been recognized as one of the “10 Best Playgrounds” in America according to USA Today. Mesa Riverview is one of Mesa’s newest signature parks and features a 50foot climbing tower, the tallest of its kind in the world, and 60-foot long caterpillar mesh rope climbing structure. Kids can also scale a 300 foot bouldering wall, cool off at the splash pad, fish at Riverview Lake, ride the zip line or play on one of two playgrounds all while parents relax in the shade. The rebuilt park opened in January

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2013 and was funded in part through a Parks Bond approved overwhelmingly by Mesa voters. Mesa’s newest park, Desert Arroyo, also funded by the Parks Bond approved by voters with additional grant support from the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Scotts Miracle Gro Company opened in early September. Located at 9320 E. McKellips Road Desert Arroyo is the first park in Mesa to offer the public free Wi-Fi along nature walking paths to teach children about the Arizona desert. The park sits on 58 acres and contains five educational nodes each with ramadas and picnic areas. Discovery guides are available on the Desert Arroyo Park webpage that display information on native plants and wildlife found in the park. Desert Arroyo Park was designed to showcase the natural beauty and wildlife of our desert environment, in order to preserve the natural landscape more than 115 trees and 150 saguaros, barrel cactus, and ocotillos were protected during construction. Desert Arroyo Park is open from sunrise to sunset. The park entrance can be found off of the Zaharis Elementary School entry drive. For more information on the top notch parks and recreation opportunities in Mesa visit: www.mesaaz. gov/parksrec.

Play! 19

F I F E D R A ENCE E K A M

Make a Difference Day is the most encompassing national day of helping others, an annual celebration on the fourth Saturday of every October of neighbors helping neighbors. More than 1,740 volunteers participated in more than 50 Love Your Block projects across the City of Mesa on Saturday October 24, 2015. Residents, neighborhood groups, local businesses, church groups and City of Mesa staff volunteered

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for a variety of beautification and cleanup projects including painting walls and curb numbers, cleaning up parks, alleys and canals, distributing neighborhood resource bags, and helping residents who need assistance with painting and landscaping. Volunteers removed more than 77 tons of refuse, painted more than 16,000 square feet of residential

and neighborhood spaces and distributed nearly 3,700 neighborhood resource bags. They worked 6,355 hours during the event with a total dollar value of $146,609 in service to the City. Join us next year

for Make a Difference Day by signing up to volunteer in your neighborhood at: http://www.mesaaz.gov/ residents/volunteer/make-a-difference-day.

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p p a a s e M a s ’ ere

Th

The City of Mesa has integrated technology as a part of everyday business through the development of online tools and apps that allow residents to connect with the City of Mesa, see what items are coming up on a future agendas, and report issues to the City of Mesa from their mobile devices.

t a h t r

fo

Mesa is excited to announce MuniciPAL, a web-based application that makes it easier than ever for residents to engage with the City about items on City Council meeting agendas. Residents simply input an address to view upcoming agenda items that affect both the area around that address as well as citywide issues. Using the built in commenting system, users are able to ask questions or provide immediate feedback on each item. MuniciPAL also provides users with an additional method to find their councilmember and communicate via built in social media links.

Mesa CityLink, a new mobile app, makes it easier for residents to report issues to the City of Mesa through the use of a smart phone or other mobile device. Residents can take a picture of an issue and send it to the city through CityLink, once the issue has been resolved residents will receive a notification. Mesa is continuing to explore adding more reporting features in the future.

Residents who want to participate in City Council meetings but don’t have time to attend in person or are curious about items being discussed that affect their home or business, now have a new way to learn more and provide feedback. The City of

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The Mesa Police Department is proud to present our mobile application for IOS/ Droid phones. This free application gives you access to the latest news, photos, videos, events, alerts and crime information no matter where you are. In addition, the application allows two way communications using Twitter, Facebook, and a special feature for submitting anonymous tips to the Department. Join us in working together to make the City of Mesa a safer place for our communities and families.

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job

N O I T A E CR

In the last quarter of 2015 the City of Mesa added over 2,000 quality jobs to the city. Mesa is proud to welcome Santander Consumer and National General Lender Services to the Fiesta District and also welcome the expansion of Go Financial to their new headquarters in the Superstition Springs area. American Traffic Solutions also came to Mesa with the opening of their new

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headquarters in the new Waypoint development located in Riverview. 2015 was a big year for Mesa in regards to adding jobs, other significant developments include the expansion of Special Devices Inc. near Falcon Field and the Apple Global Command Center located along the Elliot Road Technology Corridor.

Mesa Police Department Forensic Services

The Mesa Police Department Crime Laboratory was established in 1980 when one employee was hired to examine controlled substances. Today Mesa Police Department Forensic Services has grown to over 70 employees who provide forensic analysis and technical assistance in a variety of forensic disciplines including the latent print unit, controlled substances unit, toxicology unit, biology unit, firearms unit, fingerprint identification unit, photo laboratory unit, and the crime scene unit. All of these units assist the Mesa Police Department and are a valuable crime fighting tool. In 2015 the Forensic Services Department processed over 35,000 requests and offers an internship program that has been recognized as one of the top 25 forensic internships in the nation. Forensics Services offers tours to the public monthly for everyone interested to learn more about their work to keep Mesa safe. The Forensic Division is accredited through the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB - International), which is a voluntary program that maintains strict international guidelines and the highest standards for forensic laboratories in the United States.

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p o h S

a s e M

M o n e y s pe n t i n Me s a h e l ps s up p o r t l o ca l g o v e rn m e n t s er v i ce s l i k e p a r k s , po l i ce , f ire a n d m u ch mo re . . .


Community Report