Gilbert defines mission to rejuvenate at Digital State of the Town event

The Gilbert Municipal I Building acts as Town Hall and is where the Town Council meets.

The Gilbert Municipal I Building acts as Town Hall and is where the Town Council meets.

Gilbert Mayor Jenn Daniels unveiled a mission statement for the town at Jan. 29's Digital State of the Town event aimed at preparing the town and its residents for challenges after build-out.

The mission statement—“Anticipate. Create. Help people.”—hints at the town’s burgeoning attempts to overcome the downturn that hits many cities after reaching a peak point, officials said. Gilbert officials estimate the town will be at build-out in about 2030.

“As we approach this 100-year mark [since the town’s founding in 1920], it's really important for us to reflect back on what got us here, and it's also very important for us to think about how we can continue thriving as a community long into the future,” Daniels told an audience filling a SanTan Village Harkins Theater auditorium. “The time to prepare for the future is not when it gets here. It's now. It's time for us to prepare for the future of Gilbert.”

The town, in preliminary communications about future goals, had called the efforts Gilbert’s “moonshot.” However, Gilbert is retiring that term in favor of the mission statement, town spokesperson Jennifer Harrison said.

Video presentation

Daniels’ remarks and the unveiling of the mission statement came at the conclusion of the video made as the State of the Town address.

The video celebrated why people choose to come to Gilbert, underscoring strengths in areas such as safety and its economy as seen through various national rankings.

It also spotlighted recent developments in the town, including the Heritage Center, a collaborative effort between the town and nonprofit service providers that helps people in need; Park University; the SPARK App League, a town-sponsored mobile application development contest for junior high and high school students; and the coming Public Safety Training Facility approved by voters in November.

Town's future

Daniels and Town Manager Patrick Banger, who were taped having a discussion about the town at the Heritage District’s Liberty Market, spoke in the video at starting efforts to avoid stagnation in future years.

“The structure has been built; the people are here; the businesses are coming,” Daniels said at one point in the video. “We are going to be just fine tomorrow. It's the five-year and the 10-year and the 20-year mark that I want to make sure this community is prepared for.”

When Daniels says in the video this will take many “intentional processes,” Banger asks the questions the town must answer.

“It’s how do you stay on top of that hill?” Banger said in the video. “What are the decisions that we need to make, decisions that won’t manifest themselves, the outcomes, for decades in many cases. And so how do you know that you've made the right one?”

Responds Daniels: “There's a lot of work, really, below the surface that many people will never see or recognize, but that will create the opportunities of the future for the town.”
By Tom Blodgett

Editor, Gilbert

Raised in Arizona, Tom Blodgett has spent more than 30 years in journalism in Arizona and joined Community Impact Newspaper in July 2018 to launch the Gilbert edition. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he served as an instructional professional in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication from 2005-19 and remains editorial adviser to The State Press, the university's independent student media outlet.