2011 brought the promise of some big changes in Ahwatukee Foothills and the economy and experts are hopeful that 2012 will see those changes fully come to pass.
Stanton for Mayor
The biggest change Phoenix will face in 2012 is with a new mayor. Stanton won a tough battle during the 2011 election, running on a platform of public safety, transparency, education and sustainability. As he takes office it will be important to watch how he keeps those promises.
While Stanton promises to keep a watch on all of the issues he ran on he says he will have a relentless focus on building our economy.
"Our economy has consistently been hit harder than other areas when the economy takes a turn for the worst," Stanton said. "I want to have a relentless focus on changing that and making our economy stronger. I want to focus on job creation within the city and sustainability in all facets."
Stanton plans to make more detailed announcements about what lies ahead during his inauguration speech but he said Ahwatukee Foothills residents can expect a renewed focus on small business and education.
"Because of my long representation of the people of Ahwatukee Foothills, I know the heartbeat of that part of our community," Stanton said. "I love it. Education and small business are really the heartbeat of Ahwatukee Foothills so you'll see a renewed focus on those two areas in my administration."
Ahwatukee Foothills City Councilman Sal DiCiccio says job creation is the biggest issue he will be focusing on in 2012.
DiCiccio says he's been working for two years to get a committee together to cut red tape and now he is excited to see it finally happening.
"We're trying to make it where businesses can open their business in one day rather than taking four to six months and cutting down the expense of doing business in the city between 70 and 90 percent," DiCiccio said. "That would be a good thing for the city and the region."
Anne Gill, CEO of the Ahwatukee Chamber of Commerce says the chamber does have a board member that will be taking part in DiCiccio's job creation committee to make sure that Ahwatukee businesses are represented.
DiCiccio is also excited for the actions of other city council members who are focusing on zero-based budgeting, finding efficiencies and updating the city's permitting process.
He says those are all issues that should be watched carefully in the coming year. Each could lead to big changes in the way the city is run.
Ahwatukee's chamber of commerce has set goals to increase membership in 2012 and provide more for its members. As part of its goals the chamber is holding a membership drive in January and is working on finding ways to provide more educational opportunities for chamber members, Gill said.
The chamber is also looking to partner with an event coordinator to make Red, White and Boom bigger than in years past.
"The chamber will still be hosting and managing that event," Gill said. "We will be working with an event coordinator to help us with that. That is one way we're hoping to expand that event and make it a better community fireworks experience."
Loop 202 decision to be made
In July a decision was made by the Gila River Indian Community's City Council to let their community decide whether the Loop 202 should be built on their land.
After receiving a report on the reservation alignment from the Arizona Department of Transportation the council decided it was bigger than them, according to Gila River Indian Community spokeswoman Alia Maisonet.
The public vote has been set for Feb. 7.
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