Gilbert Edition - February 2021

GILBERT EDITION

VOLUME 3, ISSUE 6  FEB. 23MARCH 23, 2021

ONLINE AT

Town nears opening of $85Mtraining facility for growing police, re forces BY TOM BLODGETT Gilbert is ready to open its Public Safety Training Facility under budget and ahead of schedule, ocials said, allowing public safety forces to conduct expanded training in town. The facility, paid for primarily by bonds approved by town voters in August 2018, was on a two-year construction sched- ule when it broke ground in May 2019. Sta began moving in the second week of February, and trainings are scheduled to start at the end of March. “They built it so quickly,” said Jim Jobusch, Gilbert Fire and Rescue Department chief. “You break ground and you think, ‘Oh, it’s going to be almost two years before we’re in it.’ And here we are. It’s exciting. Our people are really excited about it.” Furthermore, while a nal cost awaits nal bills, Town Manager Patrick Banger conrmed it will come in under the $84.6 million budgeted. “We’re certainly thrilled,” Banger said. “It’s a large project and a very complicated project because of the very special- ized nature of the structures out there and the training needs we have.”

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An aerial photo shows the Public Safety Training Facility’s campus. (Courtesy Core Construction)

TRAINING THE NEXT GENERATION Gilbert’s Public Safety Training Facility was built to accommodate re, police and joint training and do so well into the future, ocials said.

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SOURCE: TOWN OF GILBERT COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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State’s tourismstruggle greater thanGilbert’s

Arizona tourism d i v e s

Arizona tourism ocials track several data points to judge the health of the industry, which took a hit during the pandemic.

BY TOM BLODGETT With travel restrictions, quaran- tine and stay-at-home orders initiated during the coronavirus pandemic, the tourism industry has been hit hard statewide, including locally in Gilbert. In warm-weather Arizona, the Oce of Tourism considers tourism the state’s No. 1 export industry with 46.8 million people visiting the state in 2019, spending $25.6 billion. How- ever, in 2020, measures of the indus- try’s health showed decline from 2019

across the board—airport passenger trac was down 52%, and visitation to Saguaro, Petried Forest and Grand Canyon national parks dropped 48%, according to the oce of tourism. Gilbert also suered losses with one study showing declines from 6.5%- 25% in lodging measures. However, Gilbert, with no resorts, large attractions or regional events, relies on tourism less than other cities in the state, town ocials said. The CONTINUED ON 12

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2020 VS. 2019 STATEWIDE -8.5% state tourism revenue through November

airport passenger trac -52.2%

average daily lodging rate -11.9%

FLYING BASSET BREWING

SOURCE: ARIZONA OFFICE OF TOURISM COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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THIS ISSUE

ABOUT US

Owners John and Jennifer Garrett launched the rst edition of Community Impact Newspaper in 2005 with three full-time employees covering Round Rock and Pugerville, Texas. We have expanded our operations to include hundreds of employees, our own printing operation and over 30 hyperlocal editions across three states. Our circulation is over 2 million residential mailboxes, and it grows each month with new residents and developments.

HIGHLIGHTS FROMTHISMONTH

FROMAMY: For residents of the Valley, by the end of February, we have typically seen tens of thousands of visitors who have ocked to town for signicant events, such as spring training or the Barrett-Jackson car auction. Although none of these events occur in Gilbert, the town is aected by those tourists. Our front-page story provides insight into tourism’s impact on Gilbert’s past, present and future. Amy Ellsworth, PUBLISHER

Community Impact Newspaper teams include general managers, editors, reporters, graphic designers, sales account executives and sales support, all immersed and invested in the communities they serve. Our mission is to build communities of informed citizens and thriving businesses through the collaboration of a passionate team. Our core values are Faith, Passion, Quality, Innovation and Integrity.

FROMTOM: Gilbert likes to cite to residents its rating as America’s second safest city. The residents seem to appreciate that as well, voting in 2018 for bonds to build the Gilbert Public Safety Training Facility. Our front-page story looks at how town ocials hope the facility, which opens for training in March, can further keep residents safe. Tom Blodgett, EDITOR

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GILBERT EDITION • FEBRUARY 2021

IMPACTS

Businesses that have recently opened or are coming soon, relocating or expanding

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Aldi US

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TOM BLODGETT/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

TOM BLODGETT/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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replacement therapy, IV therapy and more. 480-499-4441. https://keystonemedicalwellness.com 5 St. Cupertino Counseling opened Feb. 1 at 1206 E. Warner Road, Ste. 220, Gilbert. It will offer counseling services for adults and adolescents as well as cou- ples and family therapy. 480-561-7920. www.stcupertinocounseling.com 6 Samaria Behavioral Health Center anticipated opening Feb. 22 at 201 W. Guadalupe Road, Ste. 318, Gilbert. It treats mental health conditions and sub- stance abuse disorders. 480-471-8980. www.samariabehavioral.com Santanwiches & Salads opened Jan. 13 for lunch delivery only from 1534 E. Ray Road, Gilbert. The menu in- cludes a selection of sandwiches, salads, soups and sides. It also has catering. 480-414-4524. www.santanwiches.com COMING SOON 7 Exercise studio barre3 will open a franchise at Epicenter at Higley and Ray roads in Gilbert this fall. The studio specializes in barre exercise, which makes use of a ballet bar and movements in its fitness routines. https://barre3.com 8 Belly Kitchen & Bar will open its sec- ond Valley location at Epicenter at Higley and Ray roads in Gilbert this fall. It has a small Southeast Asian cuisine menu with a drink menu of horchatas, teas, sodas, cocktails and wine. The first location is at Seventh Avenue and Camelback Road in Phoenix. www.bellyphx.com 9 Café Rio Mexican Grill will open a location at 5482 S. Power Road, Gilbert. It serves made-from-scratch Mexican

Kirk D. Minkus, MD. Dr. Minkus has over 16 years of collective interventional radiology practice and training, and has performed over 40,000 procedures. Call Today! (480) 945-4343 14 Spinato’s Pizzeria & Kitchen will open the sixth location of the Phoenix- area family-owned restaurants at Epicenter at Higley and Ray roads in food. The company has not announced an opening date yet. www.caferio.com 10 InterContinental Hotels Group an- ticipates opening a Holiday Inn Express hotel in the second quarter of 2021 at Power and Galveston roads in Gilbert. The amenities for the hotel, which is to have a little fewer than 100 rooms, include a pool and spa, small conference rooms, small meeting rooms, exercise facilities and guest laundry. The location is about 2 miles from Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. www.hiexpress.com 11 Olivespa will open a retail outlet at Epicenter at Higley and Ray roads in Gilbert this fall. It is a skin care company out of the family-owned and -operated Queen Creek Olive Mill. The products are olive-oil based. www.queencreekolivemill.com 12 Raw Organic Juice Bar will open a location at Epicenter at Higley and Ray roads in Gilbert this fall. The grab-and-go retailer has plant-based juices and meals. In addition to the juices, it has meal- replacement smoothies and green or tra- ditional smoothies among other items. https://raworganicjuiceaz.square.site 13 A new concept restaurant, Source , will open at Epicenter at Higley and Ray roads in Gilbert this fall. It will be a fast- fine dining restaurant that uses organic ingredients from farm partners. The menu is Mediterranean cuisine with wild- caught fish and pasture-raised poultry and natural wines. The restaurant has no website or social media yet.

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MAP NOT TO SCALE N TM; © 2021 COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER CO. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

E. HUNT HWY. NOWOPEN 1 Aldi US, the American branch of a German discount grocer, opened an Aldi grocery store Feb. 15 at 1801 E. Pecos Road, Gilbert. Aldi specializes in exclusively produced, custom-branded products at low prices offered in small, no-frills stores. This will be the fourth Arizona store. www.aldi.us 2 Beaute Nails and Spa opened Dec. 30 at 1451 E. Williams Field Road, Ste. 104, Gilbert. It offers nail care and

HUNT HWY. spa treatment services. 480-963-9617. https://beautenailspagilbert.com 3 Black Rock Coffee Bar opened a location Jan. 22 at 1829 E. Williams Field Road, Ste. 104, Gilbert. It serves crafted coffee and other drinks. This is the second Gilbert location, both of which have opened in the past four months. 602-806-1113. https://br.coffee 4 Keystone Medical Wellness opened Feb. 12 at 3076 E. Chandler Heights Road, Ste. 115, Gilbert. The practice’s services include medical weight loss, hormone

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TO-DO LIST

Late February-March events

COMPILED BY TOM BLODGETT

FEBRUARY 23 THROUGH 27

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SOLD! ANONLINE AUCTION

BENEFITING HD SOUTH HD South’s signature event, the Night at the Museum Gala, cannot be held this year, but the museum will run its fundraising auction from the gala on- line. Items are added daily. Other online donation opportunities are available, including a 50/50 raffle. Items can be viewed online or during museum hours. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Feb. 23, 25, 27. 480-926-1577. https://hdsouth.org MARCH 09 THROUGHAPRIL 27 ‘ALWAYS…PATSY CLINE’ This musical play is based is based on a true story about country music star Patsy Cline’s friendship with a fan from Houston named Louise Seger, who befriended Cline in a Texas honky-tonk in 1961. The production includes some of Cline’s hits like “Crazy” and “I Fall to Pieces.” 4 and 7:30 p.m. (Mon.-Tue.). $20-$42. Hale Centre Theatre, 50 W. Page Ave., Gilbert. 480-497-1181. www.haletheatrearizona.com

Café Rio Mexican Grill

Jabz Boxing for Women

TOM BLODGETT/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

TOM BLODGETT/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

NAME CHANGE 17 After months of delay in opening from COVID-19, rooftop restaurant and bar Ile.gal Modern Cocktail Kitchen opened Dec. 29 but under the name Sotol Modern Cocktail Kitchen at 313 N. Gilbert Road, Ste. 300, Gilbert. It serves food and craft cocktails that emphasize local flavors. 480-550-6300. https://sotolmck.com NEWOWNERSHIP 18 Jabz Boxing for Women changed ownership Jan. 26 at 2355 S. Lindsay Road, Ste. 103, Gilbert, to Teresa and Derek Robinson. The small boutique gym features 45-minute, high-energy circuit training classes. 602-730-0321. www.jabzboxing.com/locations/gilbert

Gilbert this fall. It serves Chicago-style pizza and Italian dishes. The local chain

MARCH 6- APRIL 21

JURIED FINE ART SHOWAND SALE

was first established in 1974. www.spinatospizzeria.com

15 UnderTow will open a second loca- tion of a speakeasy-style bar with a pirate theme at Epicenter at Higley and Ray roads in Gilbert this fall. The cocktail bar has a temporary site at the Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale while it awaits its per- manent Phoenix location at 36th Street and Indian School Road to be completed in March. https://undertowphx.com ANNIVERSARIES 16 Gold Star Plumbing & Drain at 1528 W. San Pedro St., Gilbert, cele- brated its first anniversary Jan. 6. It is a full-service, family-owned and -operated plumbing company. 480-300-4007. https://goldstarplumbingaz.com

Gilbert Visual Art League is sponsoring its 18th Annual Juried Fine Art Show for original art in two or three dimensions. Art for the show is selected by a professional juror, and the show judge selects the winners and Best In Show. A selection of submitted pieces will be available for viewing in Gallery 4 at HD South. All pieces can be viewed online. Free with museum admission. 480-926-1577. www.gval.org

Find more or submit Gilbert events at communityimpact.com/event-calendar. Event organizers can submit local events online to be considered for the print edition. Submitting details for consideration does not guarantee publication.

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GILBERT EDITION • FEBRUARY 2021

TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES

Town, contractor negotiating resumption of work onRecker Road

WE BLANKET THE AREA.

BY TOM BLODGETT Street work on Recker Road between the Loop 202-Santan Free- way and Ray Road has been halted after the town issued a notice to terminate the contractor, according to town officials. However, the town and Standard Construction Company are negotiat- ing for resumption of the work, town spokesperson Jennifer Harrison said. The town issued the notice of termination Oct. 15 for what it described as several uncured contrac- tor defaults, or a failure to perform any of its material obligations under an agreement. Harrison said negotiations are ongoing concerning the contractual obligations and the improvements, but she did not iden- tify what the construction problems were. The project is to make improve- ments on Recker Road that it will bring it to minor arterial road stan- dards in keeping with the “Gateway Character Area” standards from the town’s general plan.

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Those road standards include four lanes, a raised and landscaped median, landscaping, bike lanes, sidewalks and streetlights. The total cost of the project is budgeted at $3.94 million, being paid for by town funds and bonds, the Maricopa Association of Govern- ments, developer contributions and investment income, according to the town’s capital improvement plan. Standard Construction Company was the low bidder among six com- panies on the street work, at $2.63 million, when bids closed Feb. 12, 2020, according to town documents. Council approved the contracted amount March 24, 2020, on the consent agenda.

PROJECT UPDATES

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What’s more comforting than having one of the best children’s hospitals in the nation nearby? Knowing Phoenix Children’s is close to where you live, blanketing the area with a network of more than 1,100 expert primary care doctors and specialists in over two dozen convenient locations.

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Germann Road upgrades—Mustang Drive to Val Vista Drive Germann Road will be improved to major arterial roadway standards, including six lanes and raised medians. The project will also include Lindsay Road improvements between Loop 202-Santan Freeway and one-quarter- mile south of Germann. Status: No left turns will be allowed on Lindsay to Germann both northbound and southbound through March 31. Timeline: October 2020-January 2022 Cost: $27.43 million Funding sources: town bonds and funds, regional funds, developer contributions

Lindsay/Loop 202 interchange construction

An interchange at Lindsay Road and the Loop 202-Santan Freeway will be built to provide freeway access and a front- age road on the freeway’s north side between Lindsay and Gilbert roads. Status: Traffic control on the Loop 202-Santan Freeway began Jan. 25 with some overnight restrictions and ramp closures. Lindsay Road will have traffic restrictions for the project’s duration. Timeline: January 2021-March 2022 Cost: $18.15 million Funding sources: town of Gilbert bonds and funds, regional funds, developer contributions

So if you’re looking for top-notch care right in your community, you can rest easy.

Visit us at phoenixchildrens.org or call 602-933-KIDS (5437)

ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UPDATED AS OF FEB. 17. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT GILNEWS@COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TOWN&EDUCATION

News from Gilbert, Gilbert Public Schools, Higley USD & Chandler USD

COMPILED BY TOM BLODGETT

GILBERTPUBLIC SCHOOLS The district hosted on Feb. 13-14 a closed COVID-19 vaccination point of distribution, or POD. It served district employees, those from the Higley and Queen Creek school districts, and sta from charter and private schools and child care facilities in GPS’ footprint. A follow- up POD will be held in March for second doses of the vaccine. HIGLEYUSD The governing board elected Kristina Reese as its president, replacing Amy Kaylor. Reese has served as board president several times previously, most recently in 2019, and was vice president in the past year. Jill Wilson was elected vice president. CHANDLERUSD The governing board approved a memorandum to approve up to 10 paid sick leave days to each employee who may be absent due to contracting COVID-19. This includes if the employee has COVID-19 or if the employee has to stay home with a child who has contracted COVID-19. SCHOOL HIGHLIGHTS Gilbert Town Council March 2, 6:30 p.m. 50 E. Civic Center Drive, Gilbert 480-503-6871 • www.gilbertaz.gov Gilbert Public Schools Board Feb. 23, 6 p.m. March 2, 6 p.m. 140 S. Gilbert Road, Gilbert 480-497-3300 www.gilbertschools.net Higley USD Board Feb. 24, 5 p.m. March 10, 5 p.m. 2935 S. Recker Road, Gilbert 480-279-7000 • www.husd.org Chandler USD Board Feb. 24, 7 p.m. March 10, 7 p.m. 1525 W. Frye Road, Chandler 480-812-7000 • www.cusd80.com Follow us on Twitter: @impactnews_gil MEETINGSWE COVER

HigleyUSDproposes 5%employee salary increase to board HIGLEY USD District sta gave an early recommen- dation to the governing board Jan. 20 that the district increase employee salaries 5% in scal year 2021-22, despite the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, district ocials, in making initial pro- jections on their FY 2021-22 maintenance and operations budget, believe the district is in a strong position to absorb such an increase. But because the recommendation was part of an informational item on the agenda, the board took no action on it. HUSD Finance Director Tyler Moore told the board the district’s losses in average daily membership and from online enrollment are less than neighboring districts, and revenue gains more than make up for them. Average daily membership is the enrollment of fractional and full-time students, minus with- drawals, of each school day through the rst 100 days in session. At a Feb. 10 board meeting, Moore and interim Chief Financial Ocer Je Gad estimated the board’s general budget limit to be $104.48 million. Associate Superintendent Dawn Foley and Human Resources Executive Director MumMartens told the board that with other districts facing revenue losses, the district has an opportunity for better employee retention and to oer more competitive salaries.

Chandler USDbegins search for interimsuperintendent CHANDLER USD The governing board has embarked on its search for an interim superintendent to replace Camille Casteel—the district’s longtime superintendent who announced her retirement in late 2020. In a letter to families sent Jan. 29, the governing board said selecting the next superintendent will require “substantial time, attention and input from the District’s stakeholders.” According to the letter, the hope is to have an interim superintendent selection made by March 24. INTERIMSUPERINTENDENT SEARCH

Jan. 29: Letter sent to community,

March 24: Board hopes to select interim superintendent

June 30: Camille Casteel’s retirement

superintendent application open

SOURCE: CHANDLER USDCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Construction delayed again for The Strand@Gilbert water park

GILBERT The Strand @ Gilbert, a $35 million water park set to be built on 25 acres of Gilbert Regional Park, will not meet its Feb. 21 deadline to begin construc- tion, company ocials said. Instead, construction will be

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HIKING SALARIES Here is how much more Higley USD ocials project a 5% salary increase would cost the district in scal year 2021-22. INCREASE

delayed at least six months, said Je Crane, president of Strand Resorts, on Jan. 27. The Strand is a public-private partnership with the town of Gilbert, originally approved by Town Council on Feb. 21, 2019. In August 2020, council approved a contract revision that would delay the deadline to start construction from that month to Feb. 21, 2021, and opening until Aug. 21, 2022. Gilbert Parks and Recreation Director Robert Carmona said in an email Jan. 29 that town sta anticipates bringing proposed updated timelines to council this spring.

$2.38M

Teachers Administrators Classied sta

$364K

Total: +$3.53M

$783K

SOURCE: HIGLEY USDCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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GILBERT EDITION • FEBRUARY 2021

BUSINESS FEATURE

Tina Singh operates the machine that creates “drill’d” ice cream, putting cereal into a rainbow sherbet.

PHOTOS BY TOM BLODGETTCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

TheUniquecorn ($8.99) has Fruity Pebbles drilled into rainbow sherbet and also has Fruit Loops, marshmallows, cookies, a lollipop and a sour fruit strip.

212 Ice CreamStudio Family whips up dierent ways for customers to have an experience BY TOM BLODGETT V isitors to 212 Ice Cream Studio can come with no more than a desire for a cool treat, but it helps if you bring a dash of creativity If a customer needs a suggestion, the Singh family has many specialties they have concocted over time. Singh confesses she has a sweet tooth,

WHY ‘212’? The name of 212 Ice Cream Studio comes from an area code for New York City, where the Singhs once lived. But it has one other subtle meaning to co-owner Tina Singh. “At 211 degrees, the water never boils when you put it on the heat,” she said. “Just one more degree makes a big dierence. We’re here for that extra eort to get it to boil.”

and the evidence is all over the menu board. The names of the creations often pay tribute to New York City, from where the Singhs moved to Gilbert in 2018. Names range from the straight forward, like Rockefeller Center or Broadway Show, to the wryly amusing, like Cereal Killer. With the New York-inspired treats, some include a hint of desserts from India, where Singh was born and raised. She moved to New York at age 23 two days before she wed her husband, whom she had only met by phone. The couple’s parents were friends and made the arrangement. The rst store opened in February 2019, only six months after moving to Gilbert for the weather and Rocky’s health. Two more stores opened inside a year, one in Gilbert and another at Glendale’s Arrowhead Towne Center mall. The coronavirus pandemic has made business dicult, but Singh hopes families soon will be ready to go out again for experiences like 212 oers. “The more you are stressed out, when you get something that makes you feel good and that makes you happy, we are here for that,” she said.

into the shop. “We’re not just scooping the ice cream,” said Tina Singh, a co-owner with her husband, Rocky. “We’re creating the experience as well. The way you want, you get it.” They can deliver on that because of the variety of things available. A customer starts with ice cream— premium dairy or organic vegan. It can be mixed or “drill’d”—with an ice cream drill behind the counter—with a variety of fruits or nuts, cookies or candy, even 15 kinds of cereal. And then it can be topped o with a variety of drizzles, ourishes like a lollipop or a cookie, or maybe just some old fashioned whip cream, and served in a cup or one of eight kinds of cones. The limits are only the customer’s imagination. “Like a big family comes in and … they all get something dierent, and they enjoy it,” Singh said. “It’s not like just a scoop. They can have a shake; they can have a oat; they can have drills, [ice cream] rolls, specialties, sometimes so many dierent things.”

212 Ice Cream A 1551 E. Elliot Road, Gilbert 480-999-0198 B 3305 E. Williams Field Road, Gilbert 480-765-4007 www.212icecreamstudio.com Hours (both stores): 1-9 p.m. Sun.-Thu., 1-10 p.m. Fri.-Sat.

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DINING FEATURE Flying Basset Brewing Owner takes the long way into establishing careers as a pilot, then a brewer BY TOM BLODGETT R ob Gagnon said he has had a dream to pursue two activ- ities in life: ying, from his youth, then later on, brewing beer. In both cases, Gagnon took a circuitous route to get there, but get there he did.

opening a brewery. The two got mar- ried and enjoyed island life, but when opening a brewery over there could not work, they returned to Arizona. They opened Flying Basset, with an interior that speaks to Gagnon’s love of ying, in February 2018 on the site of a closed bar. Gagnon and Cotton put a lot of their own labor into renovating the space. “My dad was a mechanic,” Gagnon said. “My mom was [a nurse], so we didn’t have a lot growing up. You had to learn how to make do with what you had. You learn how to do things.” As for the beer, Gagnon said his tastes run to classic brews, though the brewery does some that are a lit- tle more eccentric. All the beer served there has been brewed there. It brewed 420 barrels last year, up from 403 in 2019, despite the pandemic, and the owners hope to do 520 this year, Gagnon said. The pandemic did limit what the owners did for a while, but it pushed the brewery into canning beers, and the business has just unveiled a scaled-down menu meant to help make the downsized sta more ecient in serving food. Now Gagnon runs the brewery and still ies as a charter captain a few days a month. Cotton is busy in her other career as a traveling nurse, which is keeping her out of state. “We’re trying to get that whole big picture to work out,” Gagnon said about getting past COVID-19. “We’re still kicking.”

Copper Ale Fish & Chips ($14.99) has capensis white sh in a copper ale beer batter. (Photos by Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)

Gagnon dreamed of ying grow- ing up in northwest Phoenix and hoped he could get there through the military, but he lacked perfect vision. Later, at his sister’s urging, he became a ight attendant, and from the people in the cockpit, he learned he only needed 20/20 vision if he were to be a military pilot. Five years later, in 2003, he became a pilot and has own for the Depart- ment of Homeland Security and has chartered planes that move troops or reghters around. Brewing came later alongside then-girlfriend and now wife Sara Cotton. “My wife and I like to say we’re technical people,” Gagnon said. “We like to get hands-on and learn stu from the whole beginning. And so we did that.” They developed some home brews and even won awards. With that résumé and his technical back- ground, Gagnon was hired to be the head brewer at BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse in Chandler in 2013. That helped him build connections in the local brewing industry. In 2014, he and Cotton moved to Hawaii to y cargo and in hopes of

The Brew-BQBurger ($12.99) includes applewood smoked bacon, “Brew-BQ” sauce and onion strings.

THE REAL FLYING BASSET

Rob Gagnon said the brewery name did not come from his other career as a pilot. He and wife Sara Cotton got a basset hound they named Lt. Dan. The brewery name and logo came after having some fun with the dog’s ears and doggles. Now the couple has two more basset hounds, Angela Basset and Chica, and the bar has a dog-friendly patio and supports a basset rescue. Flying Basset Brewing 720 W. Ray Road, Gilbert 480-426-1373 https://yingbassetbrewing.com Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sun., closed Mon., 3-9 p.m. Tue.-Thu., noon-10 p.m. Fri., 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sat.

Flying Basset owner Rob Gagnon took advantage of pandemic down time to add a canning operation.

W. RAY RD.

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INSIDE THE FACILITY The new Public Safety Training Facility has space for firefighters and police to train separately or together in nearly every kind of situation.

effort [had] gone through in 2007,” Banger said. “So in some ways there was a silver lining to that effort not get- ting across the goal line even though I think it created training issues for us during the intervening period.” Banger said he believes the facility will be one of the Southwest’s finest. “We’ve got a lot of people that are just begging to come in and use our facility because it is one of a kind,” Police Chief Michael Soelberg said. “A lot of the agencies have bits and pieces, and that’s where we’ve learned from them and got what worked for everybody else and made sure we had what we needed.” The new 162,350-square-foot facil- ity will include a learning center with classroom space, a firearms range, a tactical warehouse with storage and training space, and four buildings that will be used to train for police or fire and rescue situations in different locales. The campus includes a K-9 training area and driving course. “It’s going to provide us with the facility that we need now and take care of all of our needs into the future,” Soelberg said. Officials define those needs as keeping force size up with population growth but also replacing a potentially large number of retiring officers and firefighters in coming years. Gilbert’s forces have grown from two fire and 24 police employees in 1990, when the town had fewer than 30,000 residents, to 226 fire and 425 police employees in 2020 with a population estimated at more than a quarter-million people. In the 2018 run-up to putting the facility on the ballot, some council members expressed concerns about the cost per square foot. But Mayor Brigette Peterson, who was then a council member, noted the specialized nature of the facility, such as build- ings being designed to burn numerous times for firefighters to continuously

1

KEY

1 Driving course 2 K-9 training lawn 3 One-story residential 4 Two-story residential 5 Training tower 6 Commercial training 7 Tactical warehouse and driver training

The driving course sits on 32 acres. (Photos by Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)

1

CONTINUED FROM 1

Moreover, it puts an end to a nearly two decades-long quest for Gilbert police and fire workers to have a train- ing facility of their own. Previously, the town’s public safety workers went to neighboring cities or as far away as Florence to get such training. But that situation is growing more untenable, officials said, as the town continues its explosive growth, requir- ing bringing in more recruits. A pos- sible wave of retirements, requiring replacements, exacerbates the issue, officials said. With the opening of the facility, the town’s police and fire chiefs said they believe town safety will continue to be enhanced, including in use-of-force situations that came under scrutiny in 2020 following the death of George Floyd in May while in the custody of Minneapolis police. Model facility In 2008, the town bought land by the Loop 202-Santan Freeway to build a fire training facility, but the Great Recession waylaid those plans. The town determined that land was better off sold and put on the tax rolls, and the town-owned land at Power and Pecos roadswould be a better spot, Banger said. The nearly $20 million gained in selling the land was applied to construction of the new facility. “I don’t think we would have the facility today that we will have if that

LARGE PAD

8 Learning center 9 Firearms range

7

2

4

3

5

8

6

3 4

9

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One-story and two-story residential buildings can be set on re repeatedly for training.

SOURCE: TOWN OF GILBERT/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

HISTORIC STAFFING Gilbert’s Police and Fire and Rescue departments have grown with the town’s own growth. Force numbers include sworn and civilian personnel.

YEAR PERSONNEL Police

Fire and Rescue

29,188 109,697 208,453 254,114* POPULATION

2

150 24

1990 2000 2010 2020

70

197

325 425

226

SOURCES: TOWN OF GILBERT, U.S. CENSUS BUREAU/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

*2019 ESTIMATE

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

GILBERT SAFETY The FBI annually issues its Uniform Crime Report and rates the nation’s 100 most populous cities on crimes per 1,000 people. From that data, Gilbert had the second lowest crime rate per 1,000 people in 2019 behind Santa Clarita, California. POPULATION Gilbert’s population growth continues to be among the highest in the nation for municipalities of its size, creating challenges for law enforcement, police officials said.

train, made it more expensive to build than a typical building. Enhancingpublic safety Gilbert officials boast of its safety ratings, including being No. 2 lowest crime rate in 2019 among the nation’s 100 most populous cities, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program. Those FBI statistics show Gilbert to have half the rate of property crimes of the U.S. average and three to four times fewer violent crimes per 1,000 population over the past decade. The number of property crimes overall has declined in the past decade despite the population growing. Although public safety officials tout Gilbert’s safety rankings, officials believe the new facility will further enhance the town’s safety. For exam- ple, the facility allows for repetition in facing different scenarios, so sworn personnel gain experience and are not getting their training on the scene, Banger said. “You always have to continuously be working on keeping that crime down, and that begins with who you hire, how you train them and making sure that they’re handling efficiently anything and everything that comes to Last year saw protests and calls for police reform nationally. In Gilbert, the summer was dotted with dueling protests on Thursday nights near the town’s municipal complex between a Black Lives Matter group and another that supported law enforcement and the re-election of former President Donald Trump. Police officers, including Soelberg, met with Black Lives Matter members after a march, and police patrolled the protests. Only one protest Aug. 20 resulted in arrests. them,” Soelberg said. Comingout of 2020

Town officials said many of the reforms people called for last year were already in place inGilbert, such as banning the chokehold tied to Floyd’s death. Soelberg said police also further revised the department’s use-of-force guidelines to make them clearer both for the public and officers. Both police and fire chiefs said hir- ing is especially important as they want to diversify and find people who best match their organizations’ cul- tures. Fewer than 1% of applicants are hired for Gilbert police, Soelberg said. “We’ve looked at their social media,” he said. “We’ve talked to them. We do psychological tests, medical tests. There’s a lot you have to go through to be a police officer.” Similarly, Jobusch said some fire departments have a “macho” approach to hiring that has excluded many peo- ple over the years. “For Gilbert, we’ve always tried to be open to diversity and finding the best people for our organization, not just the biggest and the strongest,” Jobusch said. Officials believe the training facility will help with hiring as well. Banger said he believes the facility will help attract the best recruits to town. It also can help personnel to better recognize and react to what they are facing when a call has them working with someone who suffers from medical or psycho- logical issues, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. “With everything that happened last year, the majority of what you’re hear- ing is more training, more training, more training,” Soelberg said. “This facility gives us the opportunity to continue that training that we’ve been wanting to do. And we’ve been getting by with the bare minimum.”

300K

200K

100K

0

PROPERTY CRIMES IN GILBERT Property crimes have been trending downward the past decade even as Gilbert’s population grows. SOURCE: U.S. CENSUS BUREAU/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER 2014 2015 2016 2017

2018

2019

Arson: 11* Burglary: 403 Larceny: 2,493 Motor vehicle theft: 154

3,500

3,000

2,500

0

VIOLENT CRIMES IN GILBERT Violent crime has risen slightly with the population growth since 2014. *THE FBI DOES NOT INCLUDE ARSONS IN OVERALL PROPERTY CRIMES. SOURCE: FBI UNIFORM CRIME REPORT/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER 2014 2015 2016 2017

2018

2019

Homicide: 1 Rape: 48 Robbery: 45 Aggravated assaulted: 151

300

150

0

For more information, visit communityimpact.com .

SOURCE: FBI UNIFORM CRIME REPORT/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER 2014 2015 2016 2017

2018

2019

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GILBERT EDITION • FEBRUARY 2021

restaurants and bars, retail, and amusement—saw 8.5% less revenue and taxes paid to the Arizona Department of Revenue through Novem- ber in 2020 than 2019. Arizona’s airports were down 52.2% in enplane- ments and deplanements during 2020, according to the Arizona Oce of Tour- ism. Phoenix Sky Harbor had 54.8% fewer domestic ights and 56.9% fewer interna- tional ights, while Phoe- nix-Mesa Gateway, adjacent to Gilbert, saw 41.6%, 92.2% and 11.8% fewer domestic, international and chartered ights, respectively. Arizona’s lodging indus- try showed a 27.1% decrease in occupancy, 11.9% decline in average daily rate and a 35.8% drop to $54.72 in rev- enue per available room, gured by multiplying occu- pancy by the average daily rate, according to the Ari- zona Oce of Tourism. Gilbert ocials said they believe the picture is dier- ent in town—down, but less than the state as a whole. “When you say you’re down only 20% and that’s relatively good, that’s only to put it in perspective,” Gil- bert Tourism Administrator Glenn Schlottman said. “A lot of other folks have been dealing with some pretty dire numbers, and the climb out of those lows from the April timeframe hasn’t been as robust.” Hotel occupancy was down 19.7% year over year in 2020, while average daily rate is down 6.5% and

revenue per available room dropped 25%, according to hotel data company Smith Travel Research. Jerey Johnson, manager of the Home2 Suites by Hil- ton, said his Gilbert hotel has stayed relatively busy during the pandemic. “I think it’s mainly because Arizona really didn’t shut down much,” Johnson said. “We still have a lot of out-of-state people.” Gilbert’s tourism strategy Gilbert ocials claim the town’s tourism strategy and the travelers Gilbert attracts are reasons Gilbert’s hit has been less severe. Gilbert ocials dene four key audiences for the town: youth and amateur sports, business travelers, travelers visiting friends and fam- ily, and the “Arizona visi- tor” who visits for regional events or stays nearby. Youth and amateur sports in Arizona beneted from adjacent states, particu- larly California, shutting down events. Gilbert’s Cactus Yards sports com- plex has COVID-19 proto- cols in place, ocials said, but has remained open to tournaments. Ocials said Gilbert’s hotels also are not resort- style but are friendlier to business travelers or people visiting family and friends. “Our occupancy of those hotels is due to … people who are traveling more out of necessity than anything right now,” Schlottman said. “Our hotels are doing

Tracking the Town’s Tourism Drilling down from the state to in or closer to Gilbert reveals the town’s tourism hit has been less than that for the state. Tourism taxes The Arizona Oce of Tourism tracks tax collections by the Arizona Department of Revenue in four sectors that tourists aect: lodging, restaurant and bar, retail and amusement. Rising retail sales helped Gilbert’s collections increase from 2019 gures.

CONTINUED FROM 1

smaller slice of the tourism pie means the town was less aected by the decline, too. Still, Gilbert, like the state, is awaiting recovery. “What’s going on locally is that things were hit hard, but the trend is moving upward,” said Council Mem- ber Scott Anderson, who as town planning director started the town’s ad hoc tourism advisory group and now serves as council’s liai- son to the group. “It was in early April, May, that time frame, things really took a nosedive, and it’s in a steady uphill [climb] since then. We aren’t back to anywhere near the pre-COVID[-19] level, but I think we’re making prog- ress toward that.” COVID19’s hit Warm weather draws tens of thousands of snowbirds to Arizona away from colder climates. Sports fans come to enjoy the PGA Waste Man- agement Phoenix Open or Cactus League spring train- ing games. Car enthusiasts gawk at the Barrett Jackson Car Auction. Nature lovers enjoy three national parks, 13 national monuments, two national historic sites, two national historic trails, two national recreation areas and 31 state parks. But COVID-19 hurt state- wide tourism in the last year, according to data from the Arizona Oce of Tourism across a broad spectrum of measures. Tourism-related industry sectors—lodging,

2019

2020

Lodging: +4.23%

Amusement: -30.08%

$10M

Restaurant and bar: -4.58%

Retail: +17.63%

$8M

$6M

$4M

0

Jan.

March May July Sept.

Nov.

SOURCE: TOWN OF GILBERTCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Revenue per available room The hospitality industry uses revenue per available room as a performance measure. It is calculated by multiplying the average daily room rate by the occupancy, both of which declined in Gilbert during the pandemic months of 2020.

2019

2020

OCCUPANCY RATE

AVERAGE DAILY RATE

REVENUE PER AVAILABLE ROOM

-6.54%

-19.67%

-24.69%

SOURCES: TOWN OF GILBERT, SMITH TRAVEL RESEARCH COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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