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Gilbert enjoying renaissance in downtown

US President Barack Obama, right, speaks with Israeli co-leader of the Zionist Union party, Labour Party's leader and head of the opposition, Isaac Herzog, front, and his wife Michal as Israeli President Reuvin Rivlin looks on during the funeral of former Israeli president and prime minister Shimon Peres at the Mount Herzl national cemetery in Jerusalem, Friday, Sept. 30, 2016. (Menahem Kahana, Pool via AP)

PHOENIX — Developing a thriving downtown doesn’t happen overnight, a city of Gilbert official said.

“I think over the last 20 years there’s been considerable emphasis on a master plan and a vision of developing the downtown…with the focus on redevelopment and developing our downtown,” Real Estate and Economic Development Director for the town of Gilbert Dan Henderson told News/Talk 92.3 KTAR’s Mac & Gaydos on Tuesday.

Henderson said a focus on small businesses, especially restaurants, has led to a “tremendous amount of excitement” in downtown.

That excitement has led to St. Xavier University, a Chicago-based Catholic college, to open its first campus outside of Illinois in Gilbert.

“I think it was just the overall opportunity with a high education attainment rate in the town of Gilbert and certainly the surrounding areas; a lot of momentum built through our state colleges and universities and I think that the opportunity to bring in a faith-based institution was really compelling for them.”

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