I also want to take a minute to recognize my fellow City Council members this evening. My colleagues represent a wide spectrum of views and philosophies, and let's say that we have found strength in our diversity. But there is a common theme, too. We all devote countless hours to the business of the city and take the job very seriously. Council members, thank you.
I would also like to say "thank you" to our city staff, who are committed to providing the very best services to our citizens. They are proud of their service, and they should be. The new leader of that staff, Acting City Manager John Little, is with us tonight. As many of you know, John has been our Downtown Executive Director for the past four years and played a major role in bringing our vision for this area to reality. We are glad you said yes, John.
Since our founding 120 years ago, we have built a spectacular city and a strong, caring community. Look at our vibrant Downtown, Old Town, the art and entertainment districts, our beautiful neighborhoods, the spectacular Preserve, our golf and recreation facilities, our award winning resorts, and our revitalized McDowell corridor. We should all be proud that we played a role in building this great city.
Fortunately, Scottsdale has a tradition of planning not for the next election or the next economic cycle, but for the next generation. And as we move forward, we respect our past. In Scottsdale, tradition and vision are woven together.
This evening, I want to talk about four major challenges shaping our city, how we have responded to them up to this point, what actions we need to take in the coming months and years, and how our solutions and "can-do" spirit can shape our community far into the future. We must keep our eyes not only on today, but on our vision for the future.
- First, Scottsdale’s local economy is strong and resilient, and that is great news in times of economic turbulence on the state and national level. Making our economic base even stronger means more than just being business-friendly. It means working to reinforce our strategic economic vision.
- Second, we need to complete our transformation from a boomtown to a truly sustainable city — and I mean sustainable in every sense of the word. When we talk about revitalization in Scottsdale, we must think about a lot more than just replacing one building with another. We should strive for economic, environmental and community sustainability.
- Third, we have a good start toward a truly 21st Century transportation plan, and we need to make it better. In the last century, a better system meant only two words: pave and widen. In this century, it means not only completing the final pieces of our system, but making smarter use and a lot better use of the roads, technology, transit systems and trails we have.
- Fourth, we have to keep fighting for land reform. It means more to Scottsdale than just a desert preserve. It means controlling growth, reducing infrastructure costs and bolstering tourism. For the state, it means an ability to more effectively use and preserve precious lands while the State’s population doubles in the next half-century!