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JAN 20 – FEB 2, 2018 |

Relentlessly local coverage of Southern Chandler and our neighboring communities

Chandler gets an expert in downtown development BY COLLEEN SPARKS Staff

Nancy Hormann gets fired up talking about how she has helped transform downtowns around the country from lifeless areas with empty buildings to booming destinations full of residents and businesses. She is equally passionate about her new project — helping downtown Chandler keep the ball rolling with its growth and attracting even more people to live, work and play there. Hormann started her job as the new interim executive director of the Downtown Chandler Community Partnership earlier this month. She brings 30 years of experience as an executive leader developing downtown marketing and management programs to the organization. One of her past roles was revamping downtown Tempe as president and

CEO of the Downtown Tempe Community, now called the Downtown Tempe Authority. Downtown Chandler already has many attractions and unusual features, including its many independent businesses, cultural events and a strong partnership with the city, Hormann said. “The momentum is here to build, to make this a desirable destination,” she said. “To make it the community gathering place. That’s very important. They’ve already started and it’s really cool. It’s really authentic. You want to make sure and keep this very local business and restaurants that you can’t find anywhere else. “This is a great downtown for everybody,” Hormann added. “It’s just really got a great vibe to it that’s exciting. This is an all-age destination. It’s an absolutely adorable little downtown. I love downtowns; there’s just

something different about it.” Beth Fiorenza, the partnership’s previous executive director, is no longer working for the organization. Its board hired Hormann, 68, as it searches for a permanent replacement. Hormann’s contract is for three months, and she said she does not want to take on the position permanently, though it’s possible she will work with the partnership longer if needed. Partnership President Peter Sciacca said, “While personnel issues are strictly confidential, the board will take this opportunity to embrace the charge of making our downtown more dynamic, amazing and attractive.” “Part of the charge is finding and hiring the leadership to get us there while keeping us uniquely ‘hip and historic’ amidst other vibrant Valley downtowns,” he added.

Sciacca cited Hormann’s “rich experience in the key aspects of district (re)vitalization: executive leadership, strategic planning and deployment, district service management, program development and implementation, special events, parking and retail recruitment/retention.” “Nancy has 30 years of valuable experience in executive leadership, and developing innovative and cost effective downtown marketing and management programs,” Sciacca said, adding: “As an executive director/CEO, Ms. Hormann has applied her seasoned expertise in cities as diverse as Dallas, Sacramento, San Francisco, Raleigh and Tempe. Working closely with property owners, municipal elected and management See

DOWNTOWN on page 4

Experts say Chandler retail scene looking good BY WAYNE SCHUTSKY Staff Writer

While much of the country is dealing with the fallout of closures by major retail chains, the East Valley is experiencing largely positive trends in the sector. But the region is not totally isolated from the closures as Walmart announced it will shutter a Sam’s Club in Chandler. Commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield early this month predicted

Water babies Kimberly Carillo/Staff Photographer

As little Allison Martinez of Chandler gets a helping hand above, Amanda Malcoli, also of Chandler, does the same thing with her 9-month-old neice Ella Dissinger. The tots are learning water-survival skills at SWIMkids USA, a Mesa business that draws heavy participation from Chandler moms with babies. The school recently received a special award from Arizona State University for its work. Read why and how on page 32.

that more than 12,000 stores could close nationwide in 2018 due to bankruptcies and store closings by chains like Sears, Stein Mart, Walgreens, Gap, and Gymboree, according to a report from Business Insider. Those national closures reached Chandler on Jan. 11, when Walmart announced that it would be closing 63 Sam’s Club stores across the country, including the location at 1375 S. Arizona See

SAMS on page 14

Ducey, legislators tell Chandler leaders their priorities for 2018 BY PAUL MARYNIAK Executive Editor

Education funding and a major reform of Arizona’s tax structure appear to be the top priorities of East Valley legislators. Those were the most repeated top priorities as legislators briefly introduced themselves during a special Chandler Chamber of Commerce breakfast Jan. 4 aimed at helping business leaders and elected officials from all government levels

get reacquainted. That political lovefest was followed five days later on Jan. 10, when the East Valley Partnership and East Valley Chambers of Commerce hosted Gov. Doug Ducey during its annual East Valley Breakfast with the Governor. As he and his predecessors traditionally have done at the breakfast, Ducey reiterated some of the main themes of his State of the See

POLITICS on page 7



Chandler Councilman Nora Ellen has picked up a new title . . . . COMMUNITY . . . . . . Page 10 Chandler’s first marijuana dispensary is about to debut . . . . . BUSINESS . . . . . . . . . Page 23 Chandler and Sun Lakes adults ready for Senior Olympics . ..SPORTS. . . . . . . . . . . Page 34 It’s Girl Scout Cookie time again! Yum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . NEIGHBORS . . . . . . . Page 43 Here’s a taco shop with a difference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . EAT . . . . . . . . . . . Page 68

Community . . . . .01-22 Business . . . . . . . . 23-31 Sport . . . . . . . . . 32-40 Opinion. . . . . . . . .41-42 Neighbors. . . . . . .43-53 Arts . . . . . . . . . . . 54-60 Spirituality . . . . . .61-63 Classifieds. . . . . . 64-67 Where to Eat . . . 68-70

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