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Chandler, AZ Recognized for 3-STAR Community Rating

Pictured from left: Hilari Varnadore, STAR Communities; Councilmember Trinity Donovan; Vice Mayor Rick Heumann

Council member Trinity Donovan and Vice Mayor Rick Heumann accepted the plaque. Credit: Jim Phipps

Washington, D.C. (October 17, 2014) – Last night, during a concert in the park, STAR Communities recognized Chandler, Arizona for their 3-STAR Community Rating. The city is one of only 20 in the nation to achieve certification in the STAR Community Rating System (STAR), which evaluates the livability and sustainability of U.S. communities.

“The City of Chandler should be commended for its work to provide a healthy, safe, prosperous, and environmentally conscious community,” said Hilari Varnadore, executive director of STAR Communities. “The people of Chandler should be very proud of this accomplishment.”

STAR Communities is a national leader in rating sustainability efforts of cities, towns and counties; its national rating program helps communities evaluate themselves in seven areas related to sustainability, such as “Economy and Jobs,” “Built Environment,” and “Natural Systems.” For instance, communities get credit for increasing the number of businesses and jobs over time, maintaining a low crime rate, and adopting policies to conserve water during periods of prolonged drought. STAR Communities provides support as localities benchmark progress, and a third-party review to ensure accountability.

“Being recognized as a national leader is a testament to Chandler’s efforts, both public and private, to build a progressive, dynamic community that values a healthy environment, strong economy, and the continued well-being of its citizens,” said Mayor Jay Tibshraeny.

Communities pursuing STAR certification accumulate points for their achievements across the seven goal areas, which are used to determine their rating. There are four STAR certification levels: Reporting Community (less than 200 points); 3-STAR Community (200-399 points); 4-STAR Community (400-599 points); or 5-STAR (600+ points). Chandler received a score of 342, which qualifies them as a 3-STAR Community, recognized for sustainability leadership.

Several efforts stood out from Chandler’s STAR application:

  • Reading proficiency, 85.8% of third grade students meet or exceed reading proficiency standards
  • Support for innovation and entrepreneurship, including the Innovations Science and Technology Incubator and a partnership between ASU and TechShop to open the Chandler Innovation Center
  • High quality parks and trails, with 1,200 acres of parkland at more than 60 park sites. Every Chandler resident lives within 3 miles of an off-road trail
  • Strong neighborhood program offers training, technical assistance, and grants to neighborhood groups. More than 1,300 citizens have attended one of Chandler’s Homeowner Association or Traditional Neighborhood academies
  • Aggressive water quality program sets higher standards for drinking water and routinely tests more frequently than required by law
  • Bicycle friendly, including heavy investment in bike lanes and trails. The League of American Bicyclists has recognized Chandler as a Bicycle Friendly Community.

Chandler is one of more than 30 local governments that participated in a yearlong pilot program with STAR Communities. Today, more than 85 communities, representing 38 million residents, participate in STAR. Other 3-STAR certified communities include Albany, New York; De Moines, Iowa; Fort Collins, Colorado; and Indianapolis, Indiana.

To view Chandler’s full report, go to: https://reporting.starcommunities.org/communities/6-chandler-arizona

More highlights from Chandler’s application are available here: http://www.chandleraz.gov/default.aspx?pageid=163

To view the full list of communities involved, go to www.STARcommunities.org/communities.

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STAR Communities advances a national framework for sustainable communities through the delivery of standards and tools built by and for local governments and the communities they serve. The organization administers the STAR Community Rating System, the nation’s first framework and certification program for local sustainability. For more information, visit www.STARcommunities.org. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @STARCommRating.

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