Henderson grew to second-largest city in Nevada during Hafen’s tenure
Former Henderson, Nevada Mayor Andy A. Hafen takes some time to reflect on some of his favorite memories serving Henderson, and discuss what makes the unique city one of the best in the country.
“My family taught me about the value of public service and the importance of giving back to your community,” says Hafen as he reflects on his beginnings in elected office. “I was inspired to seek elected office by educators, religious leaders and the business community. I have called upon them during my time as mayor for guidance, and I still seek out their valuable advice.”
The two-term mayor could not seek re-election—Debra March was elected and took office at the Henderson City Council meeting June 20—but leaves a long list of proud accomplishments behind him. Back in 2013, Andy Hafen was re-elected as the city of Henderson’s 12th mayor after serving on the Henderson City Council from 1987 to 2009. During his elected service, Hafen has seen Henderson become the second-largest city in Nevada, and be recognized as one of America’s Best Places to Live and one of the top six Safest Cities in America.
When sifting through the many acknowledgments the city has received over the years, Hafen says he is very proud of all the honors Henderson has been awarded during his tenure, but the accolade that stands out for him is the National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management.
In 1999 and 2014, the National Recreation and Park Association awarded Henderson the Gold Medal Award, which is given to park and recreation agencies that demonstrate excellence in areas like long‐range planning, volunteerism, environmental stewardship and program development.
“Henderson is known for its outstanding parks and the wide array of recreational opportunities that we provide our residents,” Hafen says. “I strongly believe that this helps build community pride and enhances the culture of Henderson.”
Even beyond the extraordinary parks, there is an overall welcoming sense of community in Henderson. There’s a neighborhood for everyone no matter his or her lifestyle. You can easily find communities for active adults over 55 or communities with homes near great schools for families. For young adults, there are areas where you can shop, dine and enjoy the nightlife.
“That diversity only adds to what makes Henderson so special,” Hafen says. “Henderson’s motto is ‘A place to call home’ and [I] like to think there’s a place for everyone in our community. Whether you’re single, retired or a family with kids, you can find your piece of the American dream in Henderson.”
Hafen can definitely call Henderson home. He has lived in the city of Henderson all but one year of his life. During his time serving as mayor, Hafen says he truly enjoyed watching the city where he was born and raised go from 50,000 residents when he was first elected, to being the fastest growing city in America during the 1990s to crossing 300,000 residents earlier this year.
When looking to the future, Hafen says “I still want Henderson to be known as a place to call home where you can know your neighbors, even though the population is likely to be approaching 400,000 residents.”
He also expresses that he wants to see Henderson become a center for science, technology and health care and to be known as a community that values education.
“We are fortunate to be home to Nevada State College, CSN Henderson, Touro University and Roseman University of Health Sciences and I want to see them continue to grow and help diversify our economy through strategic partnerships and workforce development,” Hafen says.