This is My Chandler

Our Chandler mascot, at The Ostrich Festival!

“I am sick of having to look over my shoulder all the time. I want to live in a safer, gentler, happier world. What creature wouldn’t?” James Bowen from one of his fabulous books about his cat, Bob, and his recovery from heroin addiction.

My husband just informed me we have lived in Chandler, AZ for 20 years. This was shocking news to me. That’s just not what I thought. I thought we moved here ‘a couple years ago.’ But, um, no. I must learn the freeway system now.

We’ve lived here long enough to have an opinion. It’s been the right place to raise children and live a good life. But, I’m kind of a big city girl, I’ve lived in Manhattan, L.A., Brussels, Belgium, Japan, and have been fortunate enough to travel the world. But, I’ve lived in this suburb in Chandler longer than I could have ever imagined. And moving here was a good decision.

Here is what I have grown to love/hate about Chandler:

It is the second safest place to live in Arizona. Gilbert, which is right next-door, is the safest place to live in almost anywhere.

Historic Downtown Chandler, established in 1912, is the coolest place we have! On that note, on September 8, 2018 from 5-8 PM I will be playing Harriet “Flip” Fullerton,a Chandler native from the 1930’s, along with 3 other ImprovManiacs/actors in the ChandLore event in Downtown Chandler. I’ll be near CeCe the Ostrich (pictured below) “Flip” was the life of any party, she was one of John F. Kennedy’s lovers! I’ll have some fun with this part of her life…Come on down and say S’up? That’d be nice.

Love this place!

The Perch Brewery is practically hidden, but if you find it, inside is a lush, brick-lined patio and rooftop bar. It is home to over 50 tropical rescue birds. This place is trendy, unique, and known for their tater-tots and craft beer. I love this place! It looks like Walt Disney moved into the bad part of town and dropped The Tiki Room down on an asphalt jungle. Plus, my youngest daughter has worked there for about 4 years.

At the other end of their parking lot sits Improvmania next door to Gangplank, a think tank for entrepreneurs to create and connect. My husband, Keith, The Very Patient Man, is an Improvmaniac. Dave and Colleen Specht own and run this business. They are hilarious. You should go laugh some weekend night, because laughing is the key to happiness. Say hi to Keith or Dave or Colleen. Maybe stop by Gangplank first? They are a city funded company and offer up an important place to grow or create a business. Very cool.

In the basement of the ‘haunted’ San Marcos Hotel is an unmarked speakeasy, The Ostrich, a neighborhood craft cocktail lounge. If you find it, once inside, you too, can have a signature cocktail made by a renowned mixologist for about the same price as the average Chandler mortgage payment. JK, it’s not that bad…It’s fun too, so worth it. Chandler has this love of Ostrich’s…I’m fairly certain it’s symbolic of something; a flightless bird that sticks it’s head in the sand…you can make your own opinion on this comparison.  

The square in the middle of Historic Downtown Chandler is home to the Tumbleweed Tree lighting ceremony the first week in December. It’s a Christmas tree made from hundreds of tumbleweeds. There’s a parade and a block party. It’s cute and small-town and brings families and businesses together and is a bit quirky, in the best possible way.

All things Historic Downtown Chandler: https://www.visitchandler.com/about-chandler/downtown-chandler

 Other stuff that you might like to know if you’re thinking about moving here:

Our neighborhood social media sites are full of the good things we do for each other here in Chandler and this positivity lifts up and over:

The constant state of road construction. Our motto is: If in doubt, dig it up.

The ‘dry heat’

The cactus and rock landscaping

The debilitating summer temperatures

The earth that has dried to the consistency of cement

Being essentially beige

Wearing oven mitts to drive

Oh, did I mention it’s hot?

The drivers here aren’t great. The roads are wide and long with traffic lights one mile apart. This is just enough distance to get up a good speed and choose to run red lights or slam on breaks. We have traffic cameras now and the number of fatalities has gone down a little. But, still, good to have a heads up while driving through an intersection here.

When we first moved here, I called a doctor’s office to ask for directions (before GPS) and the assistant, who was completely serious, said, “You’ll recognize it because it’s the beige stucco building.” As if this set the building apart…so there’s this mentality too.

That’s about it!

On the plus side:

♦     The overall crime rate in Chandler is 11% lower than the national average.

♦     For every 100,000 people, there are 6.91 daily crimes that occur in Chandler.

♦     Chandler is safer than 53% of the cities in the United States.

♦     In Chandler you have a 1 in 40 chance of becoming a victim of any crime.

 Intel, a ginormous tech company lives at the end of our street. In February of 2017, they announced they were investing $7 billion to finish a factory, Fab 42, which will reportedly add 2,000 to 3,000 jobs when they finish construction in 2021.

What this means to most of us in Chandler, is that Fab 42 will bring more road ‘rehab.’ along with more neighbors! Intel  makes a significant impact in our community by making massive donations to Title 1 schools and providing backpacks and school supplies to under-served communities along with volunteering for their employees to be a part of their work day. Pretty cool.

 The average income is $72,072. The schools are given a rating of B- by AreaVibes.com. In my experience, my children had an okay to great experience from elementary to high school, which all were in walking distance. Nice.

 Kindness is abundant here.

 Reason enough to stay. And thrive.

This is CeCe. She lives in Downtown Chandler. Did not know she had a name.

The Ostrich is the Chandler Totem. A large, flightless bird or a person who refuses to face reality.

Well, there ya go.

I’d love to hear what quirky thing about your city that you find wonderful, or amusing, or gets in the way of your true destinations. Or more info on Chandler is always good! This post is about to become it’s own page to keep adding on to Chandler-isms.


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