Gilbert Digital Town Hall emphasizes town’s achievements in 2013 - East Valley Tribune: Gilbert

Gilbert Digital Town Hall emphasizes town’s achievements in 2013

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Posted: Monday, February 17, 2014 3:45 am

Gilbert Mayor John Lewis, as well as several town staff members and residents, outlined what Gilbert accomplished in 2013 during the second Digital State of the Town address on Feb. 13.

Hosted at the Gilbert Civic Center, Lewis presented an approximately 20-minute video outlining the town’s various accomplishments from 2013 while connecting with Gilbert’s extensive history.

“This is what the digital town hall is all about; creating a legacy,” Lewis said.

Much of the latter was accomplished by connecting longtime residents like Joe Johnston, Elona P. Cooley and Dale Hallock to the town in its current iteration. Cooley now has a school named after her in the Higley Unified School District; Johnston turned the farmhouse he grew up in into a restaurant, Joe’s Farm Grill; and Hallock now serves as a town historian at the school he attended in first grade.

Topics addressed during the event encompassed the accolades the community received in 2013, including its rank as the second safest municipality with at least 200,000 people, a ranking as the 33rd best city to live in the country, and the eighth most thriving city in the country.

Also addressed were a series of economic accomplishments that occurred during that stretch, including the addition of Gilbert’s first university, Chicago-based St. Xavier, which will move into the town’s Heritage District. St. Xavier expects to open the university for classes during the 2015 spring semester.

Other projects covered include the expansion of the Banner M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and the announcement of 1359 jobs to the town. Lewis will provide an additional economic overview during a Gilbert Chamber of Commerce event scheduled for next Wednesday.

A heavy emphasis was focused on topics related to technology, among them the SPARK App League – a competition in which students create an app for a town service – that received an award in 2013. Last year was the first time Gilbert held an event, and students are in the process of creating one for the Gilbert Fire Department in the 2014 contest.

The technological aspects extended beyond the presentation and to the event’s program, as the town created an app that allowed people to scan the pamphlet for access to special Youtube videos.

Lewis concluded the video by looking back at his own time in Gilbert, which began when his family moved to Gilbert 28 years ago. He said he never expected he’d become the town’s mayor, and said he and the rest of the community will continue to play a role in establishing Gilbert’s present, past and future.

“What will I do, what will you do, what is your Gilbert legacy?” Lewis said in the video.

Visit to watch the video presented at the digital town hall.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-5647 or

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