NCR’s publisher, Jossey-Bass (Wiley) is now making these articles available at no cost. The case investigations are part of a three-year research project on local governments and “fiscal sustainability” funded by the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation.
We put together this abbreviated version of Chandler, Arizona’s jury presentation video to give you a sense of the community’s accomplishments.
Chandler, Arizona: population 253,393.
Most pressing community challenges: Growth and the need to connect older residents with newer ones. Also, providing resources to older parts of the community.
# 1: The Chandler Community Facilities is an innovative use of public space. What started as a new surface and subsurface water recharge facility for the Municipal Utilities Department, ended up being a combined use community center complete with a police substation, park, fishing lake, community meeting place and an environmental education center.
#2: The Chandler Care Center is a school based clinic to improve health and readiness for school. The center provides free acute-care medical treatment to more than 1300 babies and kids. The number is expected to double with the completion of new facilities.
#3: The Chandler Coalition on Youth Substance Abuse is a partnership to address the issue of underage drinking. The idea came after a local youth group called ICAN identified underage drinking as a critical issue among teens in the community.
In 2008, the Rancho Cordova, California Chamber of Commerce, city government and the Cordova Community Council (CCC) came together under one roof at the community’s new city hall building.
Housed together, representatives of the three sectors–public, private and nonprofit–meet regularly to pursue a common vision for the city’s future. The results have been positive.
The chamber, which had been on the brink of dissolution in 2007, has become a strong business organization hosting national economic experts on business topics. Membership has grown, bringing the organization from red to black ink.
The CCC is a bustling center of activity which sponsors monthly public events attracting thousands of citizens to community celebrations. Technical assistance is provided to other non-profits to improve their performance.
City services are accessible on a ground level “one stop” center offering everything from building plan review to passports. The second floor houses offices such as city manager and attorney, finance and human resources.
City Hall has also become a social hub. Rancho Cordovans use it for baby showers, weddings, graduation parties, and the rental rates are kept low to be affordable for families. City Hall has also become a model of innovation and “green technology” achieving LEED certification. Up-to-date technology allows city hall to operate as a command center during crisis. Citizens enjoy the use of flat screen projection, excellent sound systems, and wireless internet that make any meeting more interesting and productive.