Looking back at the year she’s spent as Goodyear city manager, Julie Arendall sees her most important achievement as something decidedly not political.
It’s meeting residents and collaborating with her staff.
“I just love my job, the mayor, the council, the leadership team and all of the staff,” Arendall said. “I try to get out to every possible event to meet our residents, to meet our developers and meet our business partners.”
Throughout these meet and greets, Arendall learned what most already know: “the future is incredibly bright for the city of Goodyear.”
“When you look at the fact that we’re 85,000 residents and only 11 percent built out, the future is incredibly bright and whatever you want to make it.”
Arendall moved to Goodyear from Peoria, where she spent five years. Before that, she worked for Yavapai County for 12.
“What was so exciting to me about coming over for this opportunity, was to be part of the future history of the city of Goodyear. We already have a fantastic thing going on.
“We have a very strong foundation, and as we continue to grow, how do we keep that sense of community? How do we keep what’s already special about Goodyear as we grow is going to be one of those very thoughtful and deliberate processes that we’ll be working with council on.”
To keep that sense of community, Arendall listens, like the rest of Goodyear’s officials. What they hear is residents are hungry for retail and entertainment opportunities.
“We’re still primarily a bedroom community,” she said. “We see about 92 percent of our residents out commuting every day for work.
“One of our goals, through economic development, is to increase good jobs that will increase the quality of life for our residents so they won’t have to commute out of the city of Goodyear.”
Keeping Goodyear residents in the city will make it more attractive to incoming businesses.
“I was told very early in my tenure that a Trader Joe’s is at the top of the list for our community,” Arendall said. “The reality is it’s a business decision for those types of retailers. Our job with the city is to tell our story.”
Through her job, Arendall wants to share Goodyear’s “fantastic story.” It has the highest household income in the West Valley, and its workforce is educated. It’s just a matter of time before more businesses move into Goodyear. Thirty retail and entertainment businesses opened in 2018.
“They are coming,” she acknowledged. “You see construction. You see dirt moving everywhere, and we’re still hungry for more. We’re trying to get them for everybody.”
Already, technology companies have been showing interest in Goodyear.
“We’ve had two data centers that have already announced they’re coming to Goodyear,” she said. “We have Vantage Data Centers and then Stream Data Centers. Of course, we have another large household name that is coming to Goodyear.
Rumors are Microsoft is moving into Goodyear. The City Council was slated to take it up on February 25.
“I’d like to say we’re good partners with the businesses that want to come. We’re trying to be good partners with them and wait for their timing on their announcements.
“When I look a little bit further, I believe our council and our community is ready to pivot. We’ve been very successful in manufacturing. We’re excited about that technology, and I think the future for the West Valley’s going to be Class A office, but we don’t have that. The East Valley has corporate headquarters. I believe that will eventually be something that will be brought to the West Valley. The East Valley is growing out of space.”
Arendall said West Valley residents will grow weary of driving to Tempe, Chandler or Mesa for employment.
“So, if we can again tell our story and make that case that we have the workforce, we will find someone to take that leap of faith that the market is here.”
Businesses and the council aren’t the only ones who are engaged. Residents are as well, as seen through crowds at Spring Training games and Goodyear’s signature events.
“It’s not like that everywhere across the country,” she said. “People who live in Goodyear are excited when they hear about new things.
“But we have a great team here in the city.”