By Cecilia Chan, GSN Managing Editor

When Gilbert officially became a town in 1920, it was barely a square mile in size with alfalfa, cotton and dairy farms and 500 residents.

Today, Gilbert has grown to 76 square miles and boasts some 254,000 residents.

With room to grow and a forecast population of over 300,000 when the town reaches anticipated build-out in 2030, residents can have a hand in guiding that growth.

A community workshop is scheduled Wednesday, Oct. 17, as officials begin updating the town’s General Plan, a blueprint of how Gilbert wants to grow, physically, economically and socially over the next 10 to 20 years.

All municipalities must adopt a general plan under state law that is updated and adopted by voters every decade.

Gilbert voters last approved the town’s current General Plan in 2011.

The General Plan includes goals, policies and implementation strategies for growth, housing, economic development, transportation, environment, parks, community design and preservation and conservation.

For instance, the town’s economic development goals in the current plan include providing high-paying jobs for its residents by developing incentives and tools to attract, grow and retain STEM industries.

A General Plan Advisory Group composed of town officials and community leaders met with the project consultant at an initial meeting in August where they identified town-wide issues, opportunities and challenges that may figure into the plan’s update.

The group’s next meeting is tentatively scheduled for November.

There are a number of phases the town will undertake as it updates its plan, including holding a number of community workshops and online outreach to solicit residents’ feedback.

Once the plan is adopted by Town Council, it is expected to go before voters for ratification in August 2020.

If you go:
What: Community workshop on Gilbert’s General Plan update and feedback
When: 6-8 p.m., Oct. 17
Where: McQueen Park Activity Center, 510 N. Horne St.
For General Plan Update related questions, call 480-503-6743 or email