Glendale’s mayor touts economic shift in city - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Valley And State

Glendale’s mayor touts economic shift in city

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Posted: Thursday, February 17, 2011 12:15 pm | Updated: 4:24 pm, Mon Mar 7, 2011.

Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs gave her state of the city address Wednesday at the Glendale Chamber of Commerce’s Business Appreciation Luncheon, saying she is confident Glendale is in a good position to deal with what remains of the economic donwturn.

“Nineteen companies moved into Glendale and three others expanded their operations,” she said. “As a result, 1,776 new jobs were created in our community and 1.4 million square feet of existing industrial and office space was occupied.”

She said businesses such as DeVry and Humana have moved in, with Humana alone adding 300 jobs and planning to add another 150 next year. Humana relocated from Tempe, she said, and moved into a three-story office building that had been vacant for the past two years.

“We are extremely proud they have invested in our community,” she said.

Scruggs said growth, modest though it may be, is reason to believe things may be turning around.

“The economy is showing some signs of improvement and that is reason for cautious optimism,” she said. “We must focus on our planning efforts in order to be ready for new opportunities that are coming.”

Scruggs said the Northern Parkway project, which will get under way this year, is reason to invest in the West Valley, and she pointed to the recent BCS National Championship game between Auburn and Oregon as a positive sign for Glendale.

“78,603 attended the BCS title game, a new (University of Phoenix Stadium) record,” she said. “Tens of thousands more watched from restaurants in and around Westgate. In the week and a half leading up to the game, the Glendale’s Got Game website had more than 400,000 views. More people watched the game on ESPN than anything else in the history of cable television. That is name identity. That is branding.”

Scruggs said the downtown Glendale area is benefiting from that branding, too. She said more than 100,000 people came to the downtown area for the Glitter & Glow block party.

“They were here from all over the United States, they were happy, and they spent money freely,” she said.

Scruggs attributed that success in no small part to the city’s visitor center becoming a convention and visitors bureau last year.

“Surprise and its recreation campus is now a member of our CVB,” she said. “Peoria and its Peoria Sports Complex is now a member. Thirty-two million travelers visit the West Valley each year, and the Glendale CVB allows the entire West Valley to compete in the national and international tourism marketplace.”

Scruggs said the city will continue to look at ways to keep spending down while still providing the services people need.

“Next month the city council will begin hearing staff recommendations for next year’s budget,” she said. “We have been told to expect a no-frills financial plan.”

She shared a favorite turn-of-phrase, a philosophy she said she applies to the way she runs the city.

“There are those people who make things happen, there are those who watch things happen and then there are those who say, ‘What happened?’” she said. “We will continue to balance priorities during lean times and keep our city positioned as a leader in the region and state. We sincerely hope you will work with us as we continue to move Glendale forward to our best possible future.”

Jeff Dempsey may be reached at 623-876-2531 or jdempsey@yourwestvalley.com.

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