HAPPY NEW YEAR....2016 LOOKING BRIGHT!
Letter from Mayor Peterson,
I would like to extend a Happy New Year to Carefree residents from the entire Carefree Town Council and Staff. We wish you and your family our best for 2016 and beyond.
The start of a new year is a time for reflection, a time for celebration of what we have achieved, and a time to set goals and move forward in a positive way.
In early 2015, all of us were deeply saddened by the ALS diagnosis of Mayor David Schwan and his withdrawal from active service to the Town in February. Once we regrouped, all of us and many thoughtful and productive volunteers have been focused upon several priorities in which David played a key role in developing including:
Strengthen the financial position of Carefree, and build the economic base to help fund the services desired by our residents. Several new and exciting restaurants and businesses were added during the year, and others are in various stages of planning. Several new housing developments close to the Town Center such as the Easy Street Luxury Condo Project are in construction, and others have been approved. We are pleased to report that the Town’s Reserves increased approximately $900,000 last fiscal year, and sales tax revenues are up a cumulative +16%.
Enhance the Town Center for the enjoyment of our residents and to attract visitors. We made great strides in this area, and have further strengthened the native plants on display in the Carefree Desert Gardens, and added outdoor fireplaces, new signage, enhanced lighting and the Kiwanis Splash Park to name a few. Many of our residents have commented very positively upon the improvements made and the new and exciting “feel” the Carefree Gardens are offering.
Increase our marketing efforts to build on the “brand” for Carefree and attract visitors from surrounding communities. Achieving this priority positively impacts many of our other major efforts, including increased sales tax revenues, increased numbers of consistent visitors from surrounding communities and strengthened real estate values. Carefree now has two “signature” events, the “Enchanted Pumpkin Garden” and the Christmas Festival, both of which generated over 20,000 visitors and were very well received.
In 2015 we heard many residents expressing their increased pride in living in Carefree and their new found excitement in bringing their friends and family to visit the Town Center area. We will continue to attract a variety of merchants, new restaurants and possibly a boutique hotel to encourage visitors to extend their stay in downtown.
A recap would not be complete without acknowledging all of the contributions of the non-profit organizations who operate tirelessly to offer special services and help to many of our residents. Our most heart-felt thank you to all of them.
We are looking at 2016 with great anticipation and working with the many friends and volunteers who help us make Carefree a great place to live.