by Glendale Chamber of Commerce on January 12th, 2017

By: Joyce Clark​, Glendale City Council, Yucca District

The issue has been identified. Does Glendale practice a policy of using Glendale vendors first when it comes to its major events? Now we will look at policies, past practices, plans, politics and the players. Some policies center on the questions of downtown promotion vs. event cost recovery and the repeated reliance on the use of past vendors vs. an effort to educate and solicit appropriate local vendors.

In a memo sent to the city council and city staff, Glendale Chamber CEO Robert Heidt identified suggestions that could be implemented in choosing vendors for city events:

Local businesses should receive preference for all events. Allotting a percentage to local businesses does not serve them well.
Greater effort to educate local businesses about submission dates, procedures and deadlines widely available in various public media.
Deciding jury on choosing of vendors should be composed of business members of the community.Institute workshops to educate businesses how they can take part in the events.
Clear and consistent rules to be created on the use of event structures such as tents, A-frame designs, booth layouts food trucks.
Glendale businesses receive first priority followed in order by, the West Valley, the Phoenix Metro area, statewide, and lastly out of state.
Explanation, provision and appropriate enforcement of fees, sales taxes payable.
Revise the sales of beverages to vendors, incorporating the use of local beverage vendors.
Expand the ability of other non-profits to run the beverage tent.City to provide a timely solution to issues and problems as they arise.

I appreciate his thoughtfulness in identifying and providing solutions to this complex issue. He is to be commended. I would hope he would also consider using his leadership for another just as vexing issue. I have taken guests downtown to visit restaurants and specialty businesses only to find them closed on week days when one would expect them to be open. It becomes frustrating and disappointing but it demonstrates a greater problem that has plagued downtown Glendale for years and that is consistency in business hours by all downtown/Catlin Court merchants and restaurants. What if you went to your local Macy’s or Home Depot only to find them closed because they were open only when they felt like it? That’s what a visitor is confronted with downtown, especially on a Monday.  It is unprofessional and deters business much less repeat business. It’s time for downtown to get its act together and to have all downtown/Catlin Court businesses establish some basic, consistent hours when all commit to be open.

Now, in all fairness, the past four years have been tumultuous regarding the city manager’s position and thus city managerial leadership. Many issues were unattended to or left hanging.  After Ed Beasley left, there was Interim City Manager, Horatio Skeete, then the disaster that was City Manager Brenda Fisher, followed by an Interim stint by Dick Bowers and finally the hiring of City Manager Kevin Phelps. It was a period of confusion and belied a lack of continuity in city staff management…an understatement to say the least. Is it any wonder, city events and a plethora of other city issues were left to fester?

Kevin Phelps, in his short time as City Manager, has brought a measure of stability to city senior staff. He has already demonstrated his focus on problem solving.  The December 29, 2016 edition of the Glendale Star has an interview with Phelps, by Darrell Jackson. It bodes well for the future of Glendale’s major event productions. Some of his more interesting comments in this article include:  “After asking questions of city staff, I am not sure that anyone within City Hall could adequately describe what the mission (of these events) is.” or “If it is to drive business and expose people to downtown shops, then I am not sure the proliferation of bouncy rides and carnival foods is what we should be doing…In my mind, I am not excited about another carnival and light show next year.” and “I am leaning towards recommending creating a signature event that showcases the City of Glendale, as well as our downtown area, and cost recovery is not part of that. Phelps said his goal is to have changes in place by March so they can be included in next year’s budget.”

We all know “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” Mr. Heidt is to be recognized for providing the squeak that led to the need for grease on the city event wheel. Many of his suggestions are common sense and I suspect, have already or will be adopted. However, suggestions 1, 3, 6 and 9 require further thought. His suggestions #1 and #6 call for Glendale businesses to receive priority in selection. If, as Mr. Phelps suggests, an upgrade of Glendale’s major events is the goal, moving away from a fast food, carnival-like atmosphere and perhaps adding quality restaurant offerings, wine, microbreweries and fine art vendors to become the norm then the operative word becomes “quality.” If there are quality Glendale vendors they should be welcome but if they sell hot dogs and pitchforks, should they receive preference merely because they are Glendale businesses? I think not.

Mr. Heidt’s suggestion #3 is no solution to the issue of being juried in to an event. He calls for a jury composed of community business members.  It’s no better than currently having staff jury vendors. In each case, it’s like having the “fox guard the hen house.” Each group would seem to have a vested interest. Perhaps it’s time to create an independent jury comprised of leaders in their respective industries, trades or crafts from outside the city.

Mr. Heidt’s suggestion #9 calling for other non-profits to work the city’s beverage tent is simply an expression of lack of historical memory and should not be seriously considered.  For the past 22 years the Glendale Ambassadors have operated the city’s beverage tent at downtown special events. They have proven to be reliable and consistent. You can count on them to fulfill their responsibilities. The Ambassadors were created by Glendale‘s leaders to support and to promote the City of Glendale and they have always done so.

Manning the city’s beverage tent is their primary and only source of annual income. What they earn goes right back into our community. Over the past 22 years they have given back $315,000 to at least 60 organizations, typically non-profit. Their donations are too numerous to mention all but here are a few representative groups: Boys & Girls Club of Glendale; Glendale Fire Department’s crisis response van and cadets; Glendale Police Department’s vests for its K9 program and Dare; Glendale’s Heart for the City; the Mayor’s Alliance against Drugs & Gangs; Velma Teague Library Mother Read Program; and the Westside Food Bank’s Senior Brown Bag Program.

Why on God’s green earth would we want to take away the Glendale Ambassador’s primary funding source in favor of some entity that doesn’t have this kind of track record? It makes no sense unless it was suggested to serve someone’s personal affinity for a particular non-profit group who wants in on the action.

Mr. Phelps and Mr. Heidt are to be commended for their shared commitment to make Glendale’s event future better. Mr. Phelps’ desire to upgrade Glendale’s events will certainly cause some of Mr. Heidt’s suggestions to be considered and some of the others to be moot but there is common ground between them. Working together is a win-win for Glendale.

by Glendale Chamber of Commerce on January 5th, 2017

By Carolyn Dryer, The Glendale Star

​For some business owners in the downtown area, change is something they are looking forward to. One business owner, who wished to remain anonymous, has been disappointed in the way the city markets itself and wonders why it appears certain businesses receive more publicity than others. That particular business is not alone.

This is not about who receives and who is denied vendor permits during special events in the downtown area. This is about overall exposure through publicity in all media. The main marketing tool for luring visitors – and hopefully, overnight visitors – to the city is the Convention and Visitors Bureau, now called Visit Glendale. And, with those visits, the city counts on subsequent spending, thus increased tax revenues to city coffers.

Erik Strunk, director of public facilities, recreation and special events, said the CVB, with a budget of $690,479, is primarily funded by local bed tax revenues, which in 2015, totaled $2.35 million. CVB has 115 members at the present time, with dues totaling $30,000 annually.

One of the ways Glendale publicizes is through the West Valley Guide, a yearly publication that offers space to the city and 55,000 copies at no cost; it receives its income from advertisers. In three different yearly issues, the same introductory paragraphs are devoted to specific businesses in the downtown area.

But, as it was pointed out, membership in the CVB has its perks.

Strunk pointed out in an email message to a local business, “Membership does have an added value in that those who become members often receive additional promotional opportunities, including social media and printed marketing collateral.”

As for placement in the West Valley Guide, Strunk said, “Members receive the first opportunity to purchase discounted advertising space, and then the offer is extended – full price – to non-members.”

If you are one of the disappointed downtown business owners, there may be good news coming. Strunk said the new West Valley Guide is being revamped and the 2017 edition is in the process of being reviewed and finalized.

“You will see multiple enhancements in the publication, as we continue to curate content to showcase the city and West Valley as a whole,” Strunk wrote to the business owner.
In an interview last week, Strunk said, “We’re trying to highlight some different businesses for the good of the whole, as opposed to the same businesses.”

Instead of highlighting specific businesses in major malls, Strunk said marketing efforts point to, for instance, Westgate Entertainment Center or Arrowhead Towne Center, listing various generic offerings within those malls.

Still, Strunk agreed that changes need to be made. His new responsibilities are just one of those reorganizational steps. The old communication and marketing departments don’t exist anymore. The former intergovernmental affairs director, Brent Stoddard, is now director of the new public affairs department.

As for marketing of the city, Strunk said the CVB’s efforts are aimed at being broad-based to show all features of Glendale, not just businesses.

“CVB isn’t specific for businesses,” Strunk said.

As an example, he said Sahuaro Ranch Historic Park will be one of the upcoming features and should be promoted locally.

“But, to be honest,” Strunk said, “downtown is of greater interest for visitors.”
Regarding Centerline, Strunk said it is very unique in the Valley, and now internationally.
One downtown site that is not utilized as frequently as it could be is the E. Lowell Rogers Amphitheater in Murphy Park.

“Sunday through Thursday, it’s the people’s area, the civic plaza of Glendale,” Strunk said.
He said it was designed for the community, and his department is focusing on encouraging groups to use it. For Boys & Girls clubs, Boy and Girl scouts, schools and neighborhood HOAs, the city offers the space for free. For other Glendale-based groups, such as churches or bands, there is a fee.

“We want to do what’s right by the community and best for Glendale,” Strunk said.
As for the anonymous business owner, they said they just wanted to be treated fairly, and they are looking for positive change – and equitable recognition.

Chamber CEO believes city could use some help

Robert Heidt has a proven track record, and he is improving his resume day by day. He now oversees operations for a booming Glendale Chamber of Commerce that boasts 1,100 members. He works on a budget of under $500,000.

Heidt believes that Interim City Manager Dick Bower was moving in the right direction and was working within the city to eliminate duplication of marketing efforts. Midway through Bower’s plans, the city hired a full-time city manager, Kevin Phelps, and Heidt said the plan has been at a standstill.

There is no question Heidt believes the chamber could use its skilled workforce to market the city. In several cities across the country, Heidt said, the local chambers oversee CVBs and literally control them. In Glendale, the chamber provides location materials to those businesses and individuals looking to move to the city.

Heidt, like Strunk at the city, is willing to sit down and talk about different opportunities available to the city for enhanced marketing efforts with the chamber in mind.

by Glendale Chamber of Commerce on January 3rd, 2017

By:​ Darrell Jackson, The Glendale Star
As another year comes to a close, it is time to look back at the stories of 2016 that were most influential, controversial and discussed for the City of Glendale.

Here are the top ten stories, as selected by The Glendale Star that made the most noise during the past 12 months.

Murder-suicide shocks community

In February, the deaths of two 15-year-old girls, found at Independence High School Feb. 12, appear to have been the result of a murder-suicide, according to Glendale Police.
Officers were called to the campus just before 8 a.m. for a report of shots fired and when they arrived, they found the two victims just outside the cafeteria. The school was placed on lockdown, with students kept inside their classrooms, while officers searched the campus to make sure it was safe.

Police spokesperson Tracey Breeden said, “Glendale police officers were on scene two minutes after the first call, and after securing the scene, found the victims next to each other and a gun was nearby.”

The two sophomore girls were pronounced dead at the scene; their identities have not been released by police.

​Glendale Police Department released a statement just after 5 p.m. Feb. 12, stating that Glendale homicide detectives, through their early investigations, believed one of the girls took the victim’s life before taking her own.

Breeden, in the release, said, “During the processing of the scene, a suicide note was located. Information gathered reveals that the two girls were very close friends, appearing to be in a relationship.”

Glendale detectives said they believe the shooting was a murder-suicide and reported numerous students said they heard the gunshots, but there are no witnesses to the shooting.

City settles Cardinals parking claims

Parking spaces for Cardinals football fans near Westgate have been an issue for years, but that may no longer be the case. The City of Glendale, Arizona Cardinals and Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority may have settled it during a special council meeting Nov. 14.

Council voted 4-3 to approve the settlement that has the city paying $14.1 million to the Cardinals and AZSTA as “full settlement for damages, costs and expenses.”

Mayor Jerry Weiers, Vice Mayor Ian Hugh, and Councilmembers Lauren Tolmachoff and Ray Malnar voted in favor, while Councilmembers Jamie Aldama, Samuel Chavira and Bart Turner were against the settlement.

The payments will be approximately $1.5 million once a year to both the Cardinals and AZSTA through July 2020. The first payment is due three days after the settlement is finalized and doesn’t constitute an admission or concession of any wrongdoing, liability, or fault in the matter. Each side will pay their own attorney fees in the settlement.

The city also agreed to $3.1 million in pedestrian infrastructure improvements, after the construction of 4,100 parking spaces south of the stadium along Bethany Home Road.

Police Chief Black goes to Prescott; St. John named chief

Ten years after joining the Glendale Police Department, and nearly four years as Police Chief, Debora Black accepted the same position in the City of Prescott.

​“Leading the department has truly been an honor for me and a highlight in my 36-year career in law enforcement,” said Black. “I am thankful for the privilege I have had to serve with the men and women of the Glendale Police Department on behalf of this community.”

City Manager Kevin Phelps appointed Assistant Police Chief Rick St. John to serve as interim police chief effective with Black’s departure July 15. St. John has been with Glendale Police Department for 19 years and has overseen or been involved with every major division in the department.

“I was a little surprised when I heard (Black) was interviewing, but I know she has a home up there, so I thought there was a chance she would seek that employment when the job came open,” St. John said.

Black interviewed for the job in Prescott June 14 after being selected as one of the final three following a national search that had 31 interested applicants. Black was a finalist, along with Nogales Police Chief Derek Arnson, after the June 14 interviews.

St. John, who graduated in 1990 from Ironwood High School, was part of the first four-year class from the school. He graduated from ASU West Campus with a bachelor of science degree in business management, and completed training in Leadership in Police organizations. He was working after college, and after his honeymoon, got into police work upon graduation.

​“I was working at a restaurant after graduation and saw Glendale was hiring and have been here ever since,” St. John said. “I have said my entire career I would never work anywhere else, because this is my home and I love Glendale.”

St. John was officially appointed Chief of Police for Glendale in November.

​Glendale Chamber of Commerce hits 1,000 members

The Glendale Chamber of Commerce celebrates a significant membership milestone, having reached and exceeded its 1,000th member.

“Achieving 1,000-plus members is a great accomplishment for our Chamber and community as a whole,” said Chamber president and CEO Robert Heidt. “We take great pride in the fact our members bear witness to the value in not only belonging to our organization, but for their support of the program of work we strive to achieve and deliver. It is an incredible, yet humbling, feeling to have reached this 1,000-plus member milestone; we truly do represent an amazing multitude of professional, committed and highly active member supporters.”

“The Glendale Chamber has achieved a major milestone in our nearly 100-year history in reaching and surpassing 1,000 members. We made a commitment to the business community we would do this and now we have. This reflects the efforts of the staff and the leadership of Robert Heidt,” said Jeff Blake 2016 Chairman of the Board. “It also reflects the strength and commitment of the Board of Directors and the enthusiasm for the Chamber by our members. The Chamber has become a great asset for the City of Glendale, the city’s businesses, and the residents in our community. Congratulations to everyone who has contributed to this achievement.”

“I want to congratulate Robert Heidt and the entire team at the Glendale Chamber for this tremendous accomplishment. This is another sign of Glendale’s positive momentum as the economic engine of the West Valley,” said Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers, who serves on the Chamber Board of Directors. “Our Chamber is setting the standard in Arizona in many ways, including a very strong partnership with the City of Glendale. I’m proud of the leadership that is being demonstrated, from the staff to the volunteer committees and the board of directors.

“The Glendale Chamber of Commerce is one of the largest and most influential business organizations in the West Valley. The primary focus of our program of work is to promote a strong local economy; a responsibility we feel impacts every West Valley business and resident. Each and every day, the Chamber Team is committed to making a difference; ensuring growth in business, recognizing our rich history and advocating on behalf of our vibrant community. You are encouraged to enrich your business experience by investing in and engaging with the Glendale Chamber.”

Clark returns to council with victory over Chavira; Weiers tops Burdick to remain mayor

In an election full of attack ads, conflicting campaign claims, elusive ballots, and low voter turnout, Glendale voters made only one change to its city council with the results of the Aug. 30 primary.

Mayor Jerry Weiers won a slim re-election over former Fire Chief Mark Burdick, while voters returned Joyce Clark to her seat, representing the Yucca District four years after losing to Samuel Chavira.

Weiers was re-elected by 405 votes over Burdick, while Clark squeaked by with a 46-vote win over Chavira.

“The bottom line is, our campaign ran a legal, honest campaign and we didn’t lie to anyone,” Weiers said. “We were victorious, because I believe our honesty rang true with voters, but it is a shame that campaigns happen like that and I am thankful it is over and we can now move on and continue our forward goal for the city.”

Burdick and Weiers each ran different, but expensive, campaigns.

Burdick spent $79,146 prior to the Aug. 18 campaign finance reporting deadline. Weiers spent $58,894, but had more than $60,000 left in his campaign headed into the last two weeks of the campaign, while Burdick had $12,500 remaining. But voters made their voice heard.
“I think the message was an honest message and I do not think the voters were torn at all,” Weiers said.

Clark, who lost to Chavira in 2012, is eager to return to represent citizens.

“The voters have spoken and I am honored to return to council,” Clark said. “I am delighted to represent Yucca district residents once again, as are they. I could not have won without their enthusiastic support. I have pledged to them to do my very best in representing not just Yucca district residents, but all Glendale residents.”

Clark, who was outspent in the race by Chavira nearly five-to-one, pulled out one of the closest victories in recent years.

“The voters have spoken and their message is that they deserve and expect their councilmember to do the job,” Clark said.

Casino celebrates first year open

Almost seven years since it was announced by the Tohono O’odham Nation, Desert Diamond Casino-West Valley celebrated one year open to the public Dec. 20.

Still without a Class III gaming or liquor license, and still fighting the state in court over both, the casino has been a success with visitors.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, the Gila River Indian Community and Salt River Indian Community were sitting at a table on the third floor of the Arizona Capitol Museum when a gaming compact amendment was signed by their representatives Nov. 21, as well as representatives of Fort McDowell, the Navajo Nation, the Hualapai Tribe, the Tonto Apache Tribe, the Havasupai Tribe and the White Mountain Apache Tribe. That is eight out of 17 tribes, not quite a majority, and missing was a representative from the Tohono O’odham Nation.

No mention was made of past lawsuits regarding the Nation’s pursuit of a Class III casino license, an action that began in January 2009, and has been the subject of 13 court actions the past seven and one-half years. The Nation has been victorious each time.

After a photo session of the signing, Ducey held a brief press conference by the third-floor rotunda, but would not commit to a yes or no answer when asked if the amendment would see the state giving the Nation a Class III gaming license.

His response was, “They’re welcome at the table.”

Any compact amendment or agreement signed by Indian tribes must be approved by the Secretary of the Interior Department. So, that procedure could take several weeks or months.
The Nation issued the following statement regarding the compact amendment:

“The Tohono O’odham Nation was made aware of the state’s request for compact amendments just last week and has not been a part of this process. The lack of communication on this important issue is a concern, but the Nation has said repeatedly that it is committed to moving forward. The Nation stands ready to consider compact amendment language that would resolve the outstanding litigation, including the Class III issue at its West Valley facility, and includes language regarding no new casinos in the Phoenix area during the current Compact.”

As of Dec. 19, it appears the state and the Nation will head to court again, possibly in the spring or summer of 2017.

Council hears update on Western Area Library
Glendale City Council heard an update on the proposed Western Area Branch Library and the citizen’s advisory committee has made a recommendation as to where it should be located from two earlier proposals.

Having the areas narrowed to the current Glendale media center building or a prefabricated building at Heroes Regional Park, the citizens committee has recommended the council proceed with the Heroes Regional Park location.

The Western Area Branch Library would begin as a 7,500 to 8,000 square-foot, prefabricated modular building on the grounds of Heroes Regional Park off 83rd Avenue and Bethany Home Road, said Community Services Director Eric Strunk at the April 4 council workshop.

“There would be room for growth and expansion over time,” according to the presentation authored by staff at the Community Services Department.

The original concept for the library was a 33,500-square-foot building approved in 1998, when council approved Heroes Regional Park.

The library was shelved during the economic downturn of 2010 before council gave direction in March 2015 to revive the library.

The proposed library is still under consideration as the outcry from citizens continues to grow.

Coyotes drama continues between owners and city

The drama that has been the Arizona Coyotes and City of Glendale continued with the team announcing a possible move to the East Valley and the city announcing they lost $45 million in arena management fees since 2010-11.

Since IceArizona took over management of the arena, the city has paid it $35,051,370 for the three years it has managed the arena. The city still owes the NHL $5 million on the second payment, due in fiscal year 2016-17.

A majority of the payments made by the city have been in arena management fees since 2010-11. That was when the National Hockey League took over the team after former owner Jerry Moyes filed for bankruptcy.

“This analysis is simply the revenue and management fee payments and under the management agreements and does not include any financial impacts outside that building, such as Westgate,” said Assistant City Manager Tom Duensing. “It is important to understand that the arena (like arenas around the country) is an economic development tool and also acts as a draw for patrons to the Westgate area.”

The Arizona Coyotes announced Nov. 14 they had signed an exclusive negotiating agreement to work toward the finalization of a new arena in connection with the Arizona State University athletic program in Tempe.

​The team announced the exclusive negotiating agreement with Catellus Development Corporation, which is planning a new master development near ASU.

The agreement states that a deal must be agreed upon by June 30, 2017 to create the overall budget, design and operational plan for the development, but does not say what would happen if the deadline is missed.

Council tables diversity commission, again

After nearly 16 months of research over a proposed ordinance on lesbian, homosexuals, bisexual and transgender rights, the council stalled again on the protection of people.
During the Nov. 22 voting meeting, council had an ordinance to rename the current Commission on Persons with Disabilities to a Diversity Commission, but council argued about sub-committees within the commission.

“I have concerns about the subcommittees and do all our commissions have subcommittees,” said Councilmember Ray Malnar. “We have a 14-member commission, why do we need subcommittees?”

While the vote Nov. 22 was just to change the commission from disabilities to diversity, council could not agree on wording.

“Going to generic of ‘all people’ is hiding in the dark and there is value in putting more value on this subject knowing those mentioned individuals and groups; I would not object to including the words ‘all people’ at the end of what was presented,” said Councilmember Bart Turner. “Down the road, we can add more classes of people that we might feel are needing protection, if they are hiding in the dark for what they are.”

Mayor Jerry Weiers, in announcing the issue tabled, said, “Maybe we will get this worked out next go around.”

Citizens cry foul over chickens as pets

City Councilmember Bart Turner presented a proposal to allow residents to keep chickens as pets in their residential homes, and members of the community voiced their opinions at numerous meetings.

More than 100 residents attended an Oct. 27 meeting to discuss the proposed change to a zoning text amendment, which would allow residents to keep chickens as pets within the city.

“This is not a formal meeting, but a way for (the public) to address the proposed text amendment about chickens,” said Cholla District Councilmember Lauren Tolmachoff. “There is no amendment yet, but staff is continuing to research the subject.”

​City staff held numerous meetings about chickens, but Tolmachoff said this meeting was to hear the reaction, specifically from Cholla district residents.

“The point of this meeting is to allow you to address your concerns,” Tolmachoff said before the crowd. “I have been researching this and asking for your input.”

In an online poll, Tolmachoff said she has received 541 responses from Cholla district residents, with 82 percent voting against allowing chickens as pets.

“You are speaking loudly on this issue and I hear your concerns,” Tolmachoff said.

by Glendale Chamber of Commerce on January 3rd, 2017

By: Darrell Jackson, The Glendale Star

While local businesses and the Chamber of Commerce argue about the city’s claim of Glendale First, city staff continues to focus on changes to include more local business at city sponsored events. 

“Ultimately, in a perfect world and if we had the appropriate local vendors that provide what (the events) need, I would love to see 100 percent of the vendors to be from Glendale,” said Public Facilities, Recreation and Special Events Director Erik Strunk. “Realistically, if we could get to 50 percent, I believe that would be reasonable and acceptable.”

Chamber wants focus on local businesses

Glendale Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Robert Heidt said since he took over the chamber, he believes the city has struggled to focus on local businesses.

“Why would you not want to showcase businesses within city limits?” Heidt said. “This city needs to change the way things are done and put together a task force to investigate how we can make things better and more transparent when it comes to things like this and local businesses.”

The chamber has been working to improve local businesses in all areas of the city, but the vendor issue is something that Heidt said is important when it comes to showcasing local businesses.

“I think the city owes it to the community they serve to put their businesses first,” Heidt said.

“They work here, live here, raise their families here and the city owes it to them to put them first always. It doesn’t matter if it is public safety all the way down to special events, we must actually become Glendale First.”

Heidt said for the city, it should matter that it is showing support to local shop owners.

“As you go down, why would we not want to showcase our local shops?” Heidt said. “When it comes to an opportunity for a local business to have a revenue source, one weekend can be significant dollars for a local shop owner.”

Heidt said he has presented council and city staff with 13 points the chamber would like to see the city implement when choosing vendors for local events.

Those points are:
• Local business provided preference for ALL events, not just a percentage
• Communication outbound with submission dates, deadlines published in numerous areas
• Jury made up with business members of the community
• Hold workshops to educate business on how to take part in the events
• Clear rules on tents, A-frame designs, booth layouts and if food trucks are allowed
• Have a process that starts with Glendale business, then businesses in West Valley, expand to Phoenix Metro area, statewide, with an absolute last resort being out of state
• Clarity when it comes to fees, sales taxes payable
• Seek new approach from the sales of beverages to vendors, including local beverage vendors
• Allow more non-profits to run the beverage tent
• Commitment that, should other issues arise, the city will work to find a solution in a timely manner, more than 2 ½ years is not timely and has been very neglectful to our business community

“The chamber would like to get something in writing and something that says we have a preference towards Glendale businesses,” Heidt said. “If we can’t get a local business, then look to the West Valley, then within the state before looking out of state.”

Strunk said the city is in agreement with the chamber and believes more can be done to increase traffic at the events and secure more local businesses.

“I was downtown during the week (when events are not scheduled) and there were hundreds of people walking around,” Strunk said. “We will look at having vendors allowed to open during the week and more events in the amphitheater.”

Heidt said that, while he has been fighting this issue for more than two years, he is hopeful city staff makes necessary changes.

“City staff knows there is a problem and instead of being defensive and understanding the issue, we continue to get the run around,” Heidt said. “I think, instead of the city playing the ‘we did this or that,’ own up to the fact that there are issues, fix them and get on with it,” Heidt said.

“The entire process needs to be revamped so that local businesses are given priority and every chance to participate in these events.”

Application process needs improvement

While city staff say they focus on local business, numerous owners within the city have argued those points. Many business owners, who said they have stopped applying, claim “if you don’t have an out-of-state address, you are not going to be approved.”

“That needs to be dispelled, if that really is the sentiment of business owners,” Strunk said. “We need to re-engage local owners and let them know that those with the ability to increase local flavor at the events will always get fair treatment.”

Currently, the city uses a jury to review applications for the events to make selections and after the jury makes selections of the vendors, Special Events Coordinator Dawn Simms and Special Events Division Manager Martin Dickey “review those selections and finalize them, keeping in mind the criteria of these outdoor festival productions done in parks, streets and open areas.”

The jury for the current season consisted of three members of city staff – Simms, Heidi Barriga (Special Events) and Cameron Dewaele (Parks and Recreation) – which Heidt questions when it comes to local businesses.

“I am not sure we even need a jury process; this is not an art show or crafters type event,” Heidt said. “If we do need a jury, then it should be a diversified group of folks that rotate each year with some being the same and some being new ones. There should be conversation and input from many on this to ensure the focus is actually on the community.”

Strunk said the city is going to review the process and make changes before the application process opens up for 2017-18 events.

“It is the intent of the department to conduct an assessment of its current vendor selection process and overall assessment of the special-event season in early 2017,” Strunk said. “A portion of this review will involve a survey of residents, local vendors, merchants and the business community in general, to determine interests and possible enhancements to the city’s special-event season. This absolutely has to be in place by June (2017) to be ready for next season.”

While the issue is expected to gain a clearer standards and application process for next season, Heidt has said he will continue to push for changes.

“I believe this issue is from lack of direction from leadership, lack of city event staff understanding the need to support local businesses, lack of oversight in general, and essentially, an events department that has been left to do as they please and not have regard of the impact they could have positively on our local merchants,” Heidt said. “The chamber is going to push local business to apply for next season and I am not going to stop fighting for local businesses and promote Glendale first.”

by Glendale Chamber of Commerce on December 22nd, 2016

​By DARRELL JACKSON, The Glendale Star

As the city has been in the process of re-organizing city departments, its goal is to produce better events with a more local focus toward participants.

Approved vendors will pay a minimum $90 before placing their tents at city sponsored events, not counting their own costs, with tax collection becoming a huge question.

Questions about tax revenues

Vendors who are approved and participate are required to pay sales taxes to the city, unless they are classified as a temporary vendor.

“Let’s say you are a person who just wants to sell things you make, but you do not do it regularly, then you can be classified as a temporary vendor,” said Budget and Finance Director Vicki Rios. “Those people are not required to pay sales tax because they do not do this normally. But, if you come to these events and establish what we call a presence by participating in other events in the area, then you are required to pay city sales tax.”

Businesses that produce items for sale, but are out of state and sell them over the internet, or by mail, are not required to pay city sales tax. But a vendor who comes to town, and is not classified as a temporary vendor, is required to pay taxes to the city.

The city collects sales taxes from all vendors on sales over $3,000 for each event they are approved for, which is common.

Once vendors participate in events, they are given a sales tax return, which lists their gross sales and required deductions, then they multiply their sales by the tax rate, which is currently 9.2 percent, of which 2.9 percent goes to Glendale.

“Sales tax is due the 20th of the following month in which the tax was collected,” said Public Facilities, Recreation and Special Events Director Erik Strunk. “Failure to file and/or pay by the last business day of the month will result in penalties and interest.”

If a vendor is found to have not paid their taxes when due, the city has options to recover those required taxes.

“If (a vendor) doesn’t file their return, we send them a notice that they didn’t file,” Rios said. “If it continues, then we find other options, including an estimate of similar vendors to get what they owe. We would audit them and then they would be required to pay penalties as well.”

As local businesses continue to question city practices, two vendors who have been approved numerous times and are part of the current events, reported to The Glendale Star that they have never been billed by the city and have never written a tax check to the city.

“We have been coming to these events for years and have never paid city sales tax and didn’t think we had to,” said one out-of-state vendor who asked not to be identified. “Wasn’t sure we had to and just figured we didn’t, because nobody has ever asked for it.”

Rios said that, without knowing who the certain vendors were, she questioned their statement.

“They may have been classified as occasional and, without knowing who those (vendors) are, I couldn’t confirm that,” Rios said. “With all the changes in city staff, I will say if that has happened in the past, I would not count on it happening again.”

City reorganization builds for future improvements

Kevin Phelps took over as city manager for Glendale just over a year ago and has made numerous changes within city staff, including reorganizing departments.

Erik Strunk was named Public Facilities, Recreation and Special Events Director July 1, with duties including leading the special events department that runs the award-winning, city sponsored events.

“The department is very proud of the work, planning and dedication by staff that goes into the 70-day special-events season each year,” Strunk said. “During this event period, the office of special events is able to fulfill its objectives of bringing excitement and vibrancy to the downtown area.”

Strunk said the city advertises the vendor application process online via the city’s website, social media, and a national website to publicize upcoming events.

“Additionally, we have developed a master list of anyone who has applied in the past few years, completed our requested info sheet online, or reached out to us directly expressing interest,” Strunk said. “This list is used each year to send a mass e-mail to further publicize the upcoming special events season and encourage interested vendors to apply.”

Glendale Chamber of Commerce President Robert Heidt said he has heard this from other city staff and is hesitant until he sees action.

“This is a typical response; we do the ‘same’ each time. So, we have to wonder if the events staff or the leadership over the events staff understands the importance of featuring Glendale businesses, or thinking outside the box to tap into their resources like the chamber, or other partners, to get the word out,” Heidt said. “Having the mindset to make the event better and include our community should be fostered each step of the way.”

by Glendale Chamber of Commerce on December 19th, 2016

​By DARRELL JACKSON, The Glendale Star

While Glendale continues to rebound from years of distress and economic decline, questions continue when it comes to the city’s fiscal support of local businesses.

The city has begun touting it is “becoming more data-driven in all aspects of city government,” as well as building a “Glendale First” approach, but the numbers conflict those claims.

Glendale Chamber of Commerce President Robert Heidt, who has been fighting for more acceptance for local businesses since taking over as Chamber president nearly three years ago, said the lack of support for local businesses has shocked him.

“I am amazed they would even make such claims (about being data-driven),” Heidt said. “It is very disheartening to see how Glendale is clearly at the bottom of the priority list.”

Questions about the focus on local businesses

While staff has said local businesses are, “’absolutely’ given priority,” and the city is “Glendale First,” numerous business owners have told a different story.

“I have been denied over 30 times for these events, with absolutely no explanation as to why,” said White Eyes Fry Bread co-owner John Roach. “All we have ever gotten was a form letter saying we were denied.”

Roach, who has been approved for the Glitter Spectacular and Block Party this year, has been denied for the other Glitter weekends.

They have been accepted for two other weekends (2015 Glendale Spectacular and Chocolate Affaire), but denied for all other events over the past three years.

“During that time, other fry bread operators have been at all the events,” Roach said.

Several other business owners, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisal, added they have stopped applying because vendors have said, “unless you have an out-of-state address, chances are you will not be accepted.”

Heidt continues to challenge the city to do anything possible to make sure local businesses are selected first at city sponsored events.

“I believe it is a lack of direction from leadership, lack of city events staff understanding the need to support local businesses, lack of oversight in general,” Heidt said. “Essentially, an events department that has been left to do as they please and not have regard of the impact they could have positively on our local merchants.”

Event numbers show overwhelming approval to businesses outside City of Glendale

In official city documents, obtained by The Glendale Star through a public records request, approval and denials of all applications for the four event weekends over the past three years (2014 to 2016) contradict the city’s focus on local businesses.

Over the past three years, the city has received 1,204 applications to be a vendor at one of the four major events during the holiday season. Of those, the city has approved 739 with only 15.29 percent (113) coming from Glendale businesses and 84.71 percent (626) coming from other businesses.

“We are producing large outdoor festivals with crowds ranging from 35,000 to 80,000 attendees,” said Kim Larson, Glendale public facilities, recreation and special events spokesperson. “There are certain products that have a much higher demand at these types of events. Kettle corn and fry bread are two of the most popular.”

Roach wonders why they have been denied so many times.

“Our issue is with the entire process and not being able to get into these events,” said Roach. “We have been applying for all the city events and have been approved maybe 10 times and denied for more than 30.”

Roach also questioned the city in their denial process.

“I only get a form letter saying we were not selected,” Roach said. “The only time I have even talked to anyone is when I contacted to try and find out what was going on and why. “Other than that, all we have ever gotten was a form letter, which is the same letter every year.”

Heidt, who attended the opening weekend of the 2016 Glendale Glitters Spectacular Nov. 25, said he was disheartened with what he saw along the row of food vendors.

“I went and talked to the food vendors and saw that there were two fry bread vendors within two tents of each other,” Heidt said. “The other fry bread vendor (Mae Inc. Fry Bread) was from Mesa. They put them within two tents of each other and I was just disheartened at what they were doing to a local business owner.”

Lydia Seise, owner of Johnnies Java, who has been denied four times in the last two years and accepted for one – the 2106 Chocolate Affair, also questioned the denial process.

Seise said every denial letter she has received from the city states, “we were unable to accept all applications due to space limitations within Murphy Park and the downtown Glendale area. After reviewing your application, unfortunately we were not able to accommodate your request to participate this year, for this event.”

Roach said he has talked to numerous other local vendors about the process and that several others are wondering what they could do to get approved for the events.

“The issue is with the entire process and not being able to get into these events with no explanation at all,” Roach said. “Other local business owners have told me that they won’t even apply because they are so disheartened with the entire process.”

Larson said there are times the city will contact local vendors, “especially when they are brand new to the industry, that we will call them to chat and make sure they have a clear vision of what to expect.”

Both Roach and Seise said they have never received a phone call from anyone at the city concerning their applications, refuting Larson’s claims that the city contacts vendors directly.
When it comes to local food merchants, the city has received 213 total applications for the current season with 92 (43.19 percent) being approved over that time.

Of the 92 approved food vendors, 13 (14.13 percent) have been from Glendale while 79 (85.86 percent) have been from non-Glendale food vendors.

The 2017 Chocolate Affaire has no local businesses approved, with 11 local businesses denied, while 19 businesses were approved to participate.

“Unfortunately, I am not shocked, but very frustrated that city staff doesn’t seem to value our local businesses – we’ve all known this, and now, having the numbers to bring to life the reality. All businesses and residents should be outraged by this. If a city doesn’t support their local community, who will?” Heidt said. “These businesses provide jobs, thus creating commerce and prosperity, so, even if someone in Glendale does participate in the events, or own a business, they should still be quite upset when the city they rely on for service such as fire, police, etc., etc., doesn’t provide priority to local merchants, thus, driving more revenue and sales tax, giving the city added revenue to fund many needs within police and fire, which are huge priorities, and of course, the other many great things we’ve come to enjoy and require as a community.”

Calls for a response to Special Events Division Manager Martin Dickey and Director of Public Facilities, Recreation and Special Events Erik Strunk were not returned as of press time.

by Glendale Chamber of Commerce on December 12th, 2016

​By DARRELL JACKSON, The Glendale Star

As the annual Glendale Glitters celebration continues to showcase the city’s award-winning events, some local business owners are questioning the city’s focus on Glendale First when it comes to promoting local businesses.

“As long as they meet the minimum requirements, absolutely, we give them a priority,” said Kim Larson, Glendale Public Facilities, Recreation and Special Events spokesperson. “There are times, especially when they are brand new to the industry, that we will call them to chat and make sure they have a clear vision of what to expect.”

According to city documents, the minimum requirements are, “a menu with pricing, photos of products and booth set up, and a $25 application fee.”

Larson said, “We make sure they understand the volume of our crowds and the expectations,” Larson said. “Sometimes, their applications do not indicate they have experience with large outdoor festivals.”

But numerous local vendors within the city contacted The Glendale Star with questions about what the selection process is for the four major events held downtown.
    
Application and selection process

The city hosts four major events between the end of November and early February, beginning with the Glitters Spectacular (opening weekend of Glendale Glitters), December (Glitters) weekends, Glitter and Glow Block Party and the Chocolate Affaire.

“For all of our vendor categories, food included, we try to provide the largest variety of the items we know historically have done well, to serve our patrons’ different interests,” Larson said. “We are proud of the festivals we produce and the job we do in producing them. Our operation is well respected by industry peers and known throughout the Valley as one of the best festival production and vending operations teams in the state.”

Each vendor is required to submit an application, which asks basic questions, such as business name and address, as well as a $25 non-refundable fee.

“We instituted an application fee to help qualify the prospects and pare down the number of applications we receive,” Larson said.

The application also asks vendors if they would like a 10x10 prime booth, which is an additional $150, or a 10x20 prime spot, which is $200 more.

Each approved vendor is provided with a two-plug, 20 AMP outlet, but they can request additional power for an additional $25 to $100.

“Our department comes with a lot of experience in the industry,” Larson said. “We are producing large outdoor festivals with crowds ranging from 35,000 to 80,000 attendees.”
Applicants are required to supply two photos of products, as well as a photo of their booth set-up at an event.

Once the application process closes, a jury of staff reviews them for final selection.
“A staff jury is rotated each season to ensure fairness and fresh perspective,” Larson said. “Once the jury has made their decisions, the Special Events Department reviews those selections and finalizes them.”

Larson did not confirm from which departments, or how many members of the jury there are.
After the jury has made selections of the vendors, Special Events coordinator Dawn Simms and Special Events division manager Martin Dickey “review those selections and finalize them, keeping in mind the criteria of these outdoor festival productions done in parks, streets and open areas.”

Once a vendor is approved, they then pay $65 for a background check, which is done independently.

“Clarifacts is an employment background screening company headquartered in Phoenix, which provides background checks and drug-testing services,” Larson said. “We partner with them to ensure thorough, accurate vendor background checks.”

All food vendors are required to purchase any bottled beverages (water, soda and ice) from Kalil Bottling – an official city sponsor – at $15 per case and must sell them for $2 apiece.
“Kalil is a product sponsor of water, soda, tea and energy drinks,” Larson said. “This is standard practice in the industry and we exclusively use their products through our vendors and our own beverage concession and receive donations of products (from Kalil) in return.”

Special Events is a city division and is funded through the city budget to the tune of $669,315.
Vendors who participate are required to pay 20 percent of their gross income to the city, which helps offset the cost of events. Larson said the city estimates the revenue to be approximately $250,000 from vendors.

“The additional revenue we generate to help offset the production costs for our special events also comes from event sponsorships ($86,000), parking ($55,000), and miscellaneous ($40,000),” Larson said. “As the mission of Glendale’s special events is to promote and brand downtown Glendale as a destination to attract new visitors and shoppers, and foster community pride among residents, the Special Events Division does its absolute best to maximize revenue to offset our production costs so we can continue to provide free admission to our community festivals.”  

Staff announces Glendale First

White Eyes Fry Bread owners John and Alice Roach said they met with former Councilmember Gary Sherwood about the vendor application process in 2013, after numerous denials without explanation.

“We were invited to meet (with Sherwood) and he told us to sit down with (Special Events division manager Martin Dickey) to explain the process to us.”

Roach said after that meeting, none of their questions were answered.

“It seemed like a big round-about because they told us they basically pick the vendors that are going to be the biggest revenue earner for the city because that is what they survive on.”
When Glendale Chamber of Commerce President Robert Heidt took over in 2014, concerns were brought up by local business owners questioning the selection process for vendors at city events.

“After I heard about local business being denied and not getting an explanation, I began to wonder why,” Heidt said. “I started asking questions about the issues being brought up by local business owners.”

Roach said he mentioned this during public comments at a council meeting in 2014, but no official ordinance has ever been brought to council to vote on.

“During (Mayor Jerry) Weiers’ first campaign, his mantra was pushing Glendale first, but nothing has changed,” Roach said. “Since (Heidt) took over and we mentioned it to him, he has been very helpful, but I believe more has to be done.”

Both Roach and Heidt said that in 2014, after questions were originally raised to city staff, they were told that the events would now be focused on promoting local businesses. After a public confrontation between a former city manager and Heidt, staff began telling people that they would focus on local business first when it came to the events.

“We were told on numerous times that city staff would be focusing on local business before any out-of-area vendors would be,” Roach said.

Several business owners have questioned as to why they have been denied numerous applications to be included at any of the city-sponsored events in order to showcase local businesses.

“Our issue really is with the entire process and not being able to get into these special events with no explanation at all,” said Roach. “Over the past nine years (or 36 event applications), we have been denied 28 times.”

Roach added that it is not just the denials, but the fact that they cannot get any information as to why they were denied. He said the only time city staff has contacted him about this issue was from a former assistant city manager.

“All we get is a form letter that says we were denied, with nothing in it as to why,” Roach said.

“Then I got a call from (then assistant city manager Jennifer) Campbell during an event that city staff was attending in Dallas, apologizing for our denial. She then told me that the city was going to promote local businesses for city events.”

Campbell told Heidt later that the city had put in place a process that would focus on local business first before any others, but it was never brought to council for a vote and nothing has come from it to date.

“I should have been more consistent, but I thought we could take the city at face value,” Heidt said. “The fact that this issue has already taken more than two plus years is just completely unacceptable.”

Heidt and two other Glendale business owners, who asked not to be identified for fear of retribution, confirmed the story of Campbell saying the city would be focusing on local businesses. Heidt said he was with city staff in Dallas and was pulled aside and told about the new focus.

“I thought we came to a conclusion when Campbell contacted us about this and told me (then acting City Manager Dick Bowers) was going to focus on this,” Heidt said. “She told me a week later that this was officially in place and that the city was going to get this done.”

Larson said the city tries to focus on local first, but doesn’t guarantee selection.

“At this time, we absolutely give priority to local businesses when appropriate. As long as they’re a qualified vendor in good standing with the city, they are considered,” Larson said. “If they are local, they are given a higher weight of consideration.”

Heidt wonders if the city does that and pointed to a local downtown vendor who has been denied placing a table in front of his business during the events.

“(Cuff Restaurant) asked if he could place a table in front of his business (on Glendale Avenue) during the events and the city told him no,” Heidt said. “Antique shops and others put tables out year round, but are told not to during special events? These are our community shops and they invest in our community, but not allowing them to best increase their presence? That is just wrong.”

Heidt said he will continue to push for changes in the selection process and promote local businesses.

“What is rubbing people wrong is that we are not giving up on this issue,” Heidt said. “I thought we had finally come to a conclusion and my only complaint was that I should have continued to push city staff on that. But I took them at face value and it (the city) has not continued what we were told.”

by Glendale Chamber of Commerce on December 2nd, 2016

By: The Glendale Star​ 

Receiving a $20,000 check for winning a social media contest and receiving Mayor’s Business of the Week on the same day could be considered a very good day at work for a small business.

For Natalee Sticht, the owner of Anytime Fitness Arrowhead, the experience of being the only Arizona small business to win the FirstBank “90 Seconds to Success” Business Video Contest was surreal, humbling and a huge boost to her company’s future.

“Our aspirations are to reach more people in our community because we do care about the lives and legacy of those that we are able to help live a healthy lifestyle,” Sticht said.
Sticht opened Anytime Fitness Arrowhead, 6120 W Behrend Drive, almost three years ago after leaving a corporate job at a large travel company to pursue her longtime passion of health and fitness.

The determination and grit needed to be an entrepreneur are traits that seem to be right up her alley, having played four years for the Arizona State University Women’s Rugby Club.
After graduating from ASU, Sticht found herself without a structured health goal, so she decided to train for a marathon. The training schedule rekindled her fire for fitness and solidified her decision to open her own club. One of her rugby teammates is now one of four full-time staff members at Anytime Fitness Arrowhead.

“Once you set your mind to something and you actually accomplish it, you can achieve really anything. My father suggested that I look into this franchise, and I have not regretted one minute,” Sticht said.

Sticht’s father is also the helping hand who forwarded her information on the FirstBank Facebook video contest, which awards $20,000 to one small business in Arizona and one in Colorado. Sticht and her small but mighty team dropped everything and recorded the 90-second video, which she edited on a simple iMovie format and began sharing their message.
It gained ground quickly, attaining 4,000 views and 8,000 engagements in a 24-hour period.
The video highlighted the business’ need to expand its footprint into the suite next door, where they plan to provide expanded group and fitness programs for their members. The video featured cameo appearances from her trainers, as well as her husband, a Glendale police officer.

The club reached a threshold, placing them among five finalists in Arizona that also included Drop Axle Brewery, Mesa Heart Studio, Pedego Scottsdale and Front Porch Pickins. The Glendale Chamber of Commerce and many of its members continued “liking” the video on Facebook. Anytime Fitness Arrowhead’s victory is the second time in a row that a Glendale business topped the bank’s social media contest. Brelby Theatre Company won the first year.
“I’m really proud of Natalee and her entire team for dedicating themselves, to not only their members, but to our city as well,” said Mayor Jerry Weiers. “They represent what small business is all about here in Glendale.”

The gym offers free workouts twice a year to the public at Dos Lagos Park. Sticht points out that Anytime Fitness Arrowhead offers flexible, tailored programming befitting to the local community.  

Anytime Fitness, with corporate headquarters in Woodbury, Minn., lays claim to being the fastest-growing gym franchise in the world, with more than 3,200 gyms serving nearly 2.7 million members on five continents. The name “anytime” means that gyms are available to their customers 365 days a year.

For more information on burning off that extra holiday turkey, visit Anytime Fitness Arrowhead, or go online to www.anytimefitness.com, or Facebook @InspireHealthAZInc.
The Mayor’s Business of the Week is a program initiated by Mayor Weiers in 2014 to recognize the entrepreneurial spirit in Glendale. The purpose of the program is to heighten awareness of local companies by showcasing the many aspects of doing business in Glendale and the positive impact on our city, citizens and local economy.

Businesses that are named Business of the Week are also featured through Mayor Weiers’ social media channels @MayorWeiers and the Glendale Chamber of Commerce.

by Glendale Chamber of Commerce on November 16th, 2016

​The Arizona Coyotes plan to leave Glendale, and head east to Tempe. They’ve unveiled a plan for a 16,000-seat arena on the site of ASU’s Karsten Golf Course in Tempe — the project would also include a multi-sport arena for the university.

The Coyotes and Glendale have been at odds for a while now, and the team has talked openly about looking for another place to play.

Robert Heidt, president and CEO of the Glendale Chamber of Commerce, talked about his initial reaction to the news of the Coyotes maybe leaving town.

The Coyotes’ departure would also have impacts beyond just that city. Sintra Hoffman, president and CEO of WestMarc, the Western Maricopa Coalition, talked about what kind of impact would the team leaving have on the both Glendale and the West Valley overall.

​Click here to listen to the KJZZ talk show


by Glendale Chamber of Commerce on November 16th, 2016

By Jessica Boehm, The Arizona Republic​

A years-long fight over parking among Glendale, the Arizona Cardinals and the owners of University of Phoenix Stadium ended Monday when city leaders agreed to a $17 million payment and the construction of new lots.

The settlement agreement, which narrowly passed, establishes a permanent parking solution at the stadium. Glendale agreed to provide 11,000 parking spaces in the Westgate Entertainment District area under a 2003 contract with the Cardinals and Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority, which owns and operates the stadium.

But the city didn't do that, leading to legal threats and a diminished relationship with the National Football League franchise.

"There was a number of flawed relationships, but that was probably the most visible one for the city," City Manager Kevin Phelps said. He began his role in February.

​More than a decade ago, Glendale was one of several Valley cities vying to become the home of the Cardinals.

The team selected Glendale after the city promised $36 million in infrastructure improvements and 11,000 parking spots to accommodate a portion of the fans who would flock to the West Valley for NFL games.

The city quickly walked away from the $36 million promise and then allowed the development of Tanger Outlets, which eliminated more than 5,000 parking spots.
In 2012, the Cardinals and the sports and tourism authority filed a $66.7 million claim against the city over the lack of parking spaces.

The city has since spent around $700,000 per year leasing additional Westgate Entertainment District parking spaces and shuttling fans from an offsite city-owned property to fulfill its parking obligation.

The Cardinals and the stadium authority never filed a lawsuit, but a claim filed against the city remained active.

On Monday, the council voted 4-3 for the deal. Mayor Jerry Weiers and council members Ian Hugh, Ray Malnar and Lauren Tolmachoff voted in favor. Council members Jamie Aldama, Sammy Chavira and Bart Turner voted against it.

Elements of the settlement

​Permanent parking solution 

Last year, the city purchased 22.5 acres southwest of 91st and Maryland avenues for $6.8 million and 76 acres southwest of 91st and Bethany Home Road for $15.5 million.

​The city spent another $4.7 million earlier this year to construct 2,710 parking spots on the Maryland Avenue lot.

A portion of the remaining land, which was part of the historic Pendergast family farm, will become a parking lot of 4,001 spaces, and the city also will install sidewalks and pedestrian bridges. According to the settlement agreement, the work must be completed prior to Aug. 1, 2018.

The parking lot improvements are expected to cost $10.5 million, which is included in the city's budget.

In addition to the two new lots, an additional 2,789 Westgate parking spaces will become available during NFL games and other major events.

Those parking spaces still don't total the required 11,000, but the Cardinals and Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority agreed to decrease the number of spots in the settlement.

$17 million

The settlement agreement, which releases Glendale from all claims, requires the city to pay the Cardinals and the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority almost $17 million in damages after interest.

​Phelps said the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority intends to spend the money on stadium improvements. Most notably, between $6 million and $8 million likely will go to widen the stadium's southern entrances, which will experience more crowds because of the new parking lot.

"They're going to take the (money) and turn around and reinvest it back into the stadium, which I think is fantastic. We're obviously thrilled to death from the city perspective that they would do that," Phelps said.

Tom Sadler, president and CEO of the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority, said his board will decide how the money is spent, but that stadium improvements are possible.

Connecting 95th Avenue and new Cardinals land

The settlement also allows the city to complete 95th Avenue between Bethany Home and Camelback roads.

The Cardinals will give the city a 10-acre sliver to connect the road. In return, Glendale will give the Cardinals a 10-acre section in the lot at 91st and Bethany Home Road.

"Part of this process of restoring this relationship with the Cardinals has been to say, 'Look, they can do other things than just have a football team here.' So now they have a 10-acre site that they're going to start exploring to see if there's some other types of development that would be complementary to the stadium and complementary to the entertainment district," Phelps said.

Phelps said completing 95th Avenue is important because investors are interested in developing land south of the stadium. The new stretch of 95th Avenue will serve as a major thoroughfare. The street must open prior to the 2018 football season, according to the settlement.

Repairing a bruised relationship

​For Phelps, the approval of the settlement is more than just a legal obligation: It's about changing the relationship. He said the Cardinals had "hurt feelings" since the city backed out of its $36 million promise.

Cardinals President Michael Bidwill said in an interview the city "absolutely" seems different and more willing to cooperate.

​"I'm encouraged, and a lot of these issues that we're tackling are from prior administrations not keeping their eyes on some of these contracts and it's great to have these issues finally resolved," he said.

In a statement, Weiers said the Cardinals and Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority "are enormous economic generators for the city, and it is very important to us to maintain a positive working relationship with them. It is in the city's best interest to settle the stadium parking issue once and for all, and put this conflict behind us."

Phelps has encouraged the city to settle other lawsuits in the past year to improve relationships with city stakeholders.

Robert Heidt, president and CEO of the Glendale Chamber of Commerce, told the council it was responsible for taking care of outstanding litigation that threatened the city's image and major partners.

"As many of us know, Glendale has maybe not always made the right decision, has made some poor decisions in the past. ... But together, the collective body that sits up there today, I have a strong belief is moving our city forward," Heidt said.