It’s hard to believe that we are in the second month of 2015 already!
As usual, a lot of things happened in January and there’s more to come this month in Surprise. The folks at City Hall celebrated our City Clerk’s 25th Anniversary with the City of Surprise on January 5. What a great accomplishment for Sherry Aguilar! We had a good number of staff and Council Member s gather in the Mayor’s atrium for refreshments to say congratulations to Sherry and thank her for so many years of service to the City.
I attended the Surprise Youth Council induction ceremony on the evening of January 15 in Council Chambers celebrating with many other Surprise residents, including many proud parents, as 25 high school students were welcomed into our newly formed Youth Council. What a great bunch of youngsters! Youth Services Administrator Paul Bernardo has done such a good job in this new position.
I had my Friday Night Chat on the evening of January 11. As always, everyone is welcome.
On January 21, I attended a meeting at the Surprise Senior Center in the Original Town Site about the improvements planned for the O.T.S. The City planners prepared a fantastic and thorough presentation. We have such terrific people working for our great City!
I attended an ADOT meeting about the interchange of the 303 and Grand Avenue at Sun City Grand on January 27. As most of you know, the project is already underway and will take approximately 18 months to complete with the widening of the 303 and new off ramps. Immediately following that meeting, I travelled to Marley Park for the groundbreaking of a new charter school, Legacy Traditional School. Several other elected officials were also present. This will be an elementary school located in District 6. Our Mayor and Councilman Tande, District 6, participated in the groundbreaking.
On the evening of January 28th, I attended a Public Arts meeting with Councilman Hall at the West Valley Arts Council’s Arts HQ in Surprise. The discussion included how the City can improve the presence of art in Surprise. Our City Planners led the meeting.
I was invited to attend a tour of APS that included an energy update for elected officials at their office in Deer Valley on January 30. We even toured the Energy Control Center, which was very interesting and educational.
As always be good to yourself and be good to each other,
I am looking forward to 2015. I just know it is going to be a great year for our City. There are many exciting economic development possibilities that are considering Surprise, and I am excited and honored to be part of it.
December was another busy month for me, but I did get a few days to relax. The City Council held our first meeting of the month on December 2. Mayor Wolcott hosted the Mayor’s Quarterly Business Roundtable on December 3 at the Communiversity. Meg Saligman was a guest at the Roundtable. The Philadelphia-based artist is serving as a consulting artist to Surprise as the City leads the discussion with ADOT and MAG to create a legacy public art project in conjunction with the future Bell/Grand intersection improvement project. Meg Saligman is recognized worldwide for her work on murals. That day, I also attended the Disability Advisory Commission meeting to witness the presentation of their “Above and Beyond” award to some of the Directors at Happy Trails. Happy Trails received the award for their hard work installing automatic opening doors on their community building as well as remodeling a few of their restrooms to make them more accessible for disabled residents and visitors. Congratulations to Happy Trails!
On December 5, I attended the annual Surprise Party tree lighting party at the Surprise Stadium. What a spectacular event it was to see the tree lit and the hot air balloons. If you have not attended this event in the past, I strongly encourage you to do so in December 2015. It was a beautiful night and not as cold as last year.
On Saturday, December 6, after attending some more events at the annual Surprise Party, I was off to the community of Royal Ranch for their block party and holiday celebration. Councilman Todd Tande joined me there, and we were able to meet many wonderful residents. We had a great time!
I was privileged to be invited to the Senior Center’s annual Holiday Party that was held at Arizona Traditions. The Mayor asked if I could give the welcome to the attendees, and I was more than happy to oblige! This luncheon has been held in the ballroom of Arizona Traditions in recent years and as a Board Member of the fine community, I want to extend my personal thanks to our Catering Committee for all of their hard work in serving that delicious lunch to everyone. The Committee’s time and labor was provided at no cost to the City. Thank you!
Our City Manager Bob Wingenroth continues to build a great team to lead our City into becoming an independent, sustainable city. On December 9, we attended a dinner at the Rio Mirage restaurant to meet with Jeanine Jerkovich, the City’s new Economic Development Director. This position is very critical to the goals of the Council, and we are confident Jeanine will lead us to them. Welcome, Jeanine!
On Wednesday, December 10, the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce sponsored an event in the beautiful community of Marley Park to introduce residents to our newly elected government officials and current elected officials. The event was well attended. I was able to speak to our State Representatives and make sure they are aware of the issues that are important to our City.
The annual Legislative Breakfast Meeting was held on December 11 at the Holiday Inn Express. Most of our City’s Directors were in attendance. This meeting was a fantastic opportunity for our State legislators to meet the Council and City staff and discuss the City’s priorities for the next legislative session. One of our newly elected State legislators, Representative Tony Rivero, is a former Peoria Council Member. Representative Rivero is a fine young man and a person of integrity. I was very proud to endorse him during his campaign.
I was honored to be asked to deliver the opening remarks to all the attendees at the Adaptive Recreation and Outreach Tree Party at DreamCatcher Park on Friday, December 12. Joe Gladieux and his team at our Community Recreation Services Department not only did a great job on the party, but throughout the year with all of the programs they put together that our residents truly enjoy. These athletes that participate in Adaptive Recreation don’t dwell on what they can’t do; they focus and concentrate on what they can do!
I attended the Surprise Farms block party on Sunday, December 14. Surprise Farms is the largest community in District 1 with 7,000 homes. I was met with a warm welcome and enjoyed some delicious food. I was able to distribute artist renditions of the planned amenities that will be built in Surprise Farms Park. The ground breaking should take place this month, no later than next month. I’d like to thank Donna Miller and Mark Coronado for those renditions and the information they continue to provide me. I still have copies, so if you’d like one, please contact me or attend my next monthly meeting on January 16 at 7 p.m. in the Community Center at Arizona Traditions (18250 W. Weatherby Drive). I want to thank the residents who attended my meeting in December in spite of the approaching holidays. We had a good turn-out.
A few months ago, I attended the Bell West Ranch block party. At that time, I was asked to judge homes in their community for the holiday decorations. Well, I did it, and it was wonderful. With the help of my wife and daughter, on December 18, we selected a first, second and third place winner. It wasn’t easy as all of the decorated homes were quite beautiful. The Board of Directors provided me with gift cards for those winners that I was able to distribute. My deepest appreciation to Bell West Ranch for allowing me to participate!
On Friday, December 19, I hosted my monthly chat. I really enjoy hosting these meetings, and I’m hoping to see you at my chat in January.
I want to close this newsletter with a bit of good news for those of you who utilize the Surprise Dial-A-Ride. The City has temporarily increased the number of daily Dial-A-Ride trips and expanded service hours. The daily cap for weekday trips will increase from 135 to 140 one-way trips. Saturday service will increase from 20 to 30 one-way trips per day. The expanded services will run through June 30, 2015. Additionally, service hours are being extended for all service days. The new service hours will be Monday – Saturday 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. As a reminder, Dial-A-Ride offers advanced reservations. Certified ADA, seniors and others with disabilities can schedule advance reservations up to 14 days prior to the trip. Same-day booking is available to all other customers based on trip availability. To make an appointment for Dial-A-Ride service, please call 602.266.8723.
At the end of the fiscal year, I will do everything I can to continue the above Dial-A-Ride service within the City’s budget. We will address this topic when our budget discussion for 2016 begins. I would like to thank the City staff for making this expanded service possible for now.
Until next time, be good to yourself and be good to each other.
Greetings to all of my fellow District 1 residents! I’d like to give a big shout-out to all of my fellow District 1 residents. I certainly hope everyone in Surprise had a great Thanksgiving holiday and that the meaning behind it was not forgotten. November was a busy month! I was able to connect with many residents from District 1 as well as residents throughout the City.
On November 1, I was invited to Desert Oasis for their Fall Fest Celebration. The event was held at their main community park on another beautiful day in Surprise. I was given a warm welcome by the wonderful families residing in this HOA upon my arrival. Pulte Homes is beginning to build additional homes within the community as well which means additional families will soon join the Desert Oasis celebrations!
On November 7, I was honored to attend the Canyon Ridge Elementary School for a wonderful Veteran’s Day event. I was even provided a tour of the school by some of the National Elementary Honor Society students. I couldn’t be more pleased to have this school located in my District and to personally witness our future leaders grow. These students are mature beyond their years!
The City Council hosted a joint meeting with the Planning & Zoning Commission on Saturday, November 8 from 8 am until 2 pm. The purpose of the meeting was a discussion on the General Plan, our visions for Surprise and future growth.
I attended the Bell West Ranch Block Party on Sunday, November 16. Even though it was a windy day, a good time was had by all. I was able to have good conversations with many of the residents in attendance. A consistent topic amongst those conversations was the status of WINCO. While I was there, I was asked by the Board at Bell West Ranch to judge the Christmas decorations on their homes on the evening of December 18 (the night prior to my monthly Friday Night Chat). There will be a first, second and third place winner and I’m looking forward to being a part of the contest. Lastly, I was very happy to see Jeff Martin from our Neighborhood Services department at the event. Mr. Martin brings all of the equipment, table and chairs to help make your block parties such a great success! Jeff even serves as the DJ. You can also request the presence of any other Department such as the Fire or Police Departments. If any resident in Surprise wants to plan a block party, the City will bring the party trailer to you at no charge. If you are interested, please feel free to contact our Neighborhood Services Department at City Hall at 623.222.1000.
The Surprise Fire Medical Department held a promotional ceremony on Monday, November 17. It’s always an honor to see our men and women who protect our citizens receive hard earned recognition for their daily dedication. Those promoted were sworn in by Chief Tom Abbott.
I held my monthly Friday Night Chat on Friday, November 21. Several residents asked questions, raised concerns or just spoke to me on a personal level. Everyone is invited to attend these chats on the third Friday of every month at 7 pm in the Community Center at the Retreat at Arizona Traditions (18250 W. Weatherby Drive). When you arrive at the gate, just push the number 0 four times and tell the security guard you are there for my meeting.
The day prior to Thanksgiving, I was honored to give a resident the keys to her recently renovated home in Surprise Farms. I will not mention her name out of respect for her privacy, but the City was able to use grant funds to make this renovation possible. We have some exceptional people working for our citizens and often times, they do not get the credit they so deserve. I am only a City Council Member and I only handed this resident her keys but our staff did the work. A special and sincere thank you to Chris Boyd, Jeff Martin, Christina Ramirez, Jason Hughes, and Alicia Rubio (and so many others whose names I haven’t included) deserve this credit. Honestly, this was one of the most rewarding moments I’ve experienced since I was elected to be your Councilman.
There have been so many other events and meetings I’ve attended in November. I just want to leave you with some of them. December is going to be busy as well but everything I’m doing for this District is very rewarding!
I want to wish each and every resident in Surprise a very Merry Christmas, the happiest of holidays and the healthiest New Year. Please be good to yourselves and continue to be good to each other!
Greetings to all of my fellow District 1 residents! I must apologize for being a tad late with my newsletter this month. A trip to California and several meetings led to the unfortunate delay. October was such a busy month for me. I’ll try my best to make sure you are aware of the happenings in the District and the City as a whole.
I continue to receive questions pertaining to WINCO. “What is happening with WINCO?” seems to be the most frequent question. The attorneys who represent the group opposing WINCO issued a halt to the construction for 60 days. Due to legalities, I am unable to share further information but I will be waiting along with you for construction to resume.
October 1st was a great day in Surprise! We had another grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony for a new restaurant, Kneader’s Bakery. Kneader’s Bakery is located on Bell Road. Jim Hipp is the operating partner for this location. If you haven’t tried Kneader’s yet, I encourage you to do so. Mr. Hipp and his team are very attentive to their customers and the food is fantastic!
The City hosted our quarterly HOA Summit on October 2nd. The Summit was well attended by residents and HOA Board Members who wanted to learn more about the City. Several City departments were represented including the Surprise Police Department, Water Resource Management, Public Works, Economic Development, Code Enforcement and Neighborhood Services.
I was honored to attend the Opening Ceremony of the Moving Wall that was hosted in Estrella Mountain Ranch in Goodyear. The Moving Wall is a half-size traveling replica of the Washington D.C. Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The monument was created by Vietnam veterans to share the powerful experience of visiting the memorial with those who may never have the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. I was truly touched to be part of the moving Ceremony as I was also able to see my cousin’s name on the wall, “Cristopher M. Winters”. He was killed by enemy fire in the jungles of Vietnam. I also attended the Closing Ceremony held a few days later on October 6th. Both ceremonies had many dignitaries and patriotic music.
The Surprise Fiesta Grande was held on October 4th. I was at the event for the entire day. It was such a great event to celebrate the heritage of this incredible City. In addition to the Fiesta festivities, the Roy Villanueva Dedication Ceremony was held earlier that day. City Council approved the renaming of the recreation area in the Original Town Site (OTS) that houses Gaines Park, Surprise Senior Center, Hollyhock Pool, Villanueva Recreation Center and Hollyhock library to the Roy Villanueva Community and Recreation Complex. Roy had done so much for the City of Surprise to make it the great City it is today. Roy served on the City Council for many years as a Councilman, Vice Mayor and Mayor.
On the evening of Thursday, October 9th, I attended the GPEC (Greater Phoenix Economic Council) Annual Awards Dinner. The City of Surprise works closely with GPEC to bring economic development to our fine City. Surprise began as a bedroom community, but we want more than that for Surprise. We want to be a sustainable, independent city so that the 90% of residents leaving our City everyday can find work here.
Members of the Surprise Police Department were waiting tables alongside the staff at Red Robin in Surprise to raise money for the Special Olympics during the annual “Tip-A-Cop” event on October 11th. Tips earned from the event were donated to Special Olympics Arizona. This is such a wonderful event! If you’ve ever noticed, our Fire-Medical and Police Departments do not just extinguish fires and issue tickets; they are very engaged in the community they protect. We are lucky to have such charitable staff!
Of course we are still working on Surprise Farms Park and we spent numerous hours on Wednesday, October 15th at a public meeting to gather input from residents on design plans. Surprise youth also participated by meeting with SITE Design Group, Inc. in a skate park workshop. We received invaluable feedback during the meeting from the youth and residents. For anyone who has not seen the artist renditions of the skate park, we have received nothing but positive comments. I think the kids will love it and it will be a fabulous addition to Surprise Farms Park.
On Thursday, October 16th, I attended the first of three Community Conversations with Mayor Wolcott. The Mayor formed these meetings to create open dialogue with Surprise residents. This particular town hall-styled meeting was held at Sun City Grand, Cimarron Center and it was well attended.
I had my regular Friday Night Chat on October 17th at the Retreat Community Center in Arizona Traditions. I have been remiss in extending a thank you to Arizona Traditions for allowing me to hold my meetings at their facility. Thank you! I have my monthly meetings on the third Friday of the month. In November, my meeting will be held at 7 pm on Friday, November 21st at the Retreat Community Center, 18250 W. Weatherby. When you arrive at the gate, press 0 four times and inform the guard you are there to attend my Chat. Everyone is welcome to attend and express their concerns or just chat with me.
The Asante community hosted their HOA block party on Saturday, October 18th. This neighborhood will have 7,000 homes one day but right now, it is fairly small with a bunch of fabulous residents! Many of the faces I seen were familiar since I campaigned in the community in July of last year. I really enjoy attending the block parties since it’s such a great way to meet my constituents. Jeff Martin from Neighborhood Services was also there with our City’s party trailer.
I was invited to speak to the residents at the Desert Oasis HOA Meeting on Monday, October 27th. I was met with a warm reception. I received many questions some of which I was happy to answer and others that I arranged for City staff to answer. The hot button for some was the fact that this community only has one road to utilize to get in and out of their neighborhood, but my hope is that we can rectify this issue soon.
As you can see, October was another busy month for me! I want to leave you with my very best wishes that you and yours have a happy Thanksgiving holiday. Be good to yourself and be good to others!
Greetings to all of my fellow residents in District 1 and in this great city we call Surprise!
The weather is finally cooling a bit and in a few months, the extreme heat we had this summer will be a distant memory.
During the first few weeks of September, I was able to take some time away for a working vacation. I’d like to extend a special thank you to my colleagues and constituents for their understanding during my time away. I was able to return to the City in time to attend the Surprise Fire Department’s Charity Golf Outing at Coyote Lakes Golf Course. The turn-out was really spectacular! Even recently retired Fire Chief Michael White was present for the event. It was nice to see him and hear he is enjoying his retirement. The event raised $5,000 for the Foundation for Burns and Trauma.
On September 16th, City Council and the Planning and Zoning Commission held a joint meeting to review the General Plan. We also had a regular City Council meeting that evening to discuss the naming of the recreation area in the Original Town Site (OTS). The City Council voted unanimously to name the area after the late Roy Villanueva who served as the City’s Mayor, Vice-Mayor and Councilman prior to his passing in July 2013. The area which consists of Gaines Park, Surprise Senior Center, Hollyhock Pool, Villanueva Recreation Center and Hollyhock Library, will be called the Roy Villanueva Community and Recreation Complex. The official naming presentation is part of the Surprise Fiesta Grande celebration on October 4th. Roy was a great supporter of Surprise and a tireless worker to make Surprise the City it is today.
Roy Villanueva I met with Mayor Wolcott on September 17th to discuss our mutual goals and needs for the City. One of my goals as your City Councilman is to initiate a mass-transit system, not only for Surprise, but for the West Valley so we are connected to cities like Glendale, Goodyear, El Mirage, Youngtown, etc. While our own Dial-A-Ride system is working to a certain degree, we also need a fixed bus route system. People need a fixed bus route system that will be effective.
I was privileged to receive an invitation to the American Legion meeting at Happy Trails to recognize three young men from Willow Canyon High School. The students, Andrew Lataille, Jerry Abah and Williams Costello, were awarded the gift of attending Boys State. This venue instills the importance of civic engagement in our youth. I would like to personally thank Post 96 for sponsoring these young men for the program.
On Friday, September 19th, I attended a luncheon hosted by Benevilla to thank all their generous contributors and to honor Bob Jeckel for all of his help over the years. Mr. Jeckel donated many numerous hours as a volunteer there.
That same evening, I held my monthly “Friday Night Chat”. I was delighted to have Mike Gent, Public Works Director, in attendance. Mike was recently promoted to Public Works Director after serving as our Assistant Public Works Director for one year. He is a very knowledgeable professional and we are lucky to have him with our City! Furthermore, we were honored to have Mayor Wolcott in attendance. Mayor Wolcott spoke to the residents and answered several questions. It was a very nice event. My next Friday Night Chat will be held on October 17th at 7 p.m. in the Community Center in Arizona Traditions (18250 W. Weatherby Drive).
The State of Americas Dinner was held on Tuesday, September 23rd. The keynote speaker was Vincente Fox, former President of Mexico. The primary focus of the event was discussion on economic development concerning Mexico and Arizona as partners and political allies. Later in the evening, we were able to listen to a panel discussion with former President Fox and the current former President of Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla.
On September 24th, I attended a meeting with fellow Council Members and officials from EPCOR explaining the issues they face pertaining to aging infrastructure. Certain areas of the West Valley have pipes and pumps 40 to 50 years old.
I do have some exciting news for you! I met with our City Manager, Bob Wingenroth and our Director of Community and Recreational Services, Mark Coronado regarding the improvements at Surprise Farms Park. These plans are being finalized and requests for proposals will be sent soon. There will be a large splash pad, ramadas, and bathrooms, walking trails, a dog park and many other features. A public meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 15th at 6 p.m. in the Community Room of City Hall to update residents on the design and progress and to gather input from residents on the skate park design plans. I’d like to extend a special thank you to Mark Coronado and his CRS team for all of their hard work!
The latest event at the West Valley Art HQ was a fantastic display of paintings by Bill Patterson. Mr. Patterson is an artist whose terrific paintings illustrate the Phoenix International Raceway. I was very excited to see his demonstration on how he paints the winning car at the track as it comes into Victory Lane after the race.
Later that evening, I made a trip to our neighbor city, El Mirage, to attend their Fiesta at Gentry Park. It was a great event. Mayor Lana Mook told me she was pleased with the turn-out.
I will sign off for now and until the next time, be good to yourself and be good to each other!
Hello to all of my District 1 fellow residents! I hope this month’s newsletter finds you well!
I have great news to share with those of you who are planning to attend my meeting on Friday, September 19 at 7 pm in the Retreat Community Center at AZ Traditions. I am hoping that all of the residents in District 1 will attend and I will supply the cookies!
August has been a very busy time for me even though we’re in the middle of summer. We had our City Council Work Session and City Council Meeting on Tuesday evening, August 5.
On Monday, August 11, my wife and I had a tour of Benevilla. Our host was Michelle Dionisio, President and CEO of this wonderful organization! This not-for-profit organization does extraordinary work for the residents of Surprise. Benevilla provides a continuum of care that promotes independence while instilling a sense of dignity and self-empowerment, regardless of the ability to pay. The programs offered addresses the ongoing and changing needs of caregivers and families. However, they also bring the youth and elderly together on a daily basis. Benevilla has established an intergenerational program opportunity for the growing West Valley, including Wirtzie’s Preschool and Child Care as well as Art’s Center for All Ages which provides children from 1 to 5 years old the unique opportunity to share space and experiences with the elderly. We are very lucky to have these resources in our City!
Mayor Sharon Wolcott hosted her third annual Mayor’s Bowling Challenge at Uptown Alley on Friday, August 15. Most of the City Council and many Mayors from the valley were in attendance. Mayor Wolcott’s team came in first place, and the win was credited to the bowling skills of Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. Believe it or not, I had 6 strikes in a row. Just kidding! Many of our City employees joined the fun and a good time was had by all. It is one of the few opportunities we can take advantage of to get together in a casual atmosphere to relax and network.
ADOT hosted a celebration and ribbon cutting in honor of the opening of the I-10 and Loop 303 interchange on Saturday, August 16. I was able to attend this great event and I was also able to speak to Governor Brewer, albeit briefly. The Governor and Mayor Georgia Lord of Goodyear cut the ribbon.
Our City Council meeting was changed from Tuesday, August 19 to Monday, August 18 to accommodate the Arizona League of Cities Conference which was held at the Sheraton Downtown Hotel in Phoenix beginning Tuesday, August 19 through Friday, August 22. Special recognition was given to two Surprise youth whose actions helped Surprise Police catch a burglary suspect. A heartfelt thank you to Rosalio Hernandez Garcia and Esperansa Hernandez Garcia for your commendable efforts!
This Conference is a fantastic event and of course, with it being my first time attending, I was able to learn a great deal of valuable information. There were many breakout sessions to discuss various issues facing Arizona. Amongst some of the sessions I attended included the discussions of water problems in Arizona, the cooperation between Arizona and Mexico to agree on economic exchange in the US and the developing rural areas. I chose to attend developing rural areas since District 1 has so much land within it to be developed. The evening of Thursday, August 21, was very eventful as every city and town had the opportunity to display a booth at the “Showcase of Cities & Towns”. Surprise had the best booth which included mariachis. Councilwoman Villanueva even sang a song!
Due to the Conference, I was not physically in Surprise on Tuesday, August 19, when the City had torrential downpours and parts my District were washed away, especially in the northeastern area. We were able to constantly communicate with our wonderful City Manager, Bob Wingenroth, who quickly assessed the situation and worked with the necessary departments to assist residents and remove the danger from the areas hit hardest.
Well, I am off to South Dakota for a relay and business meeting for H.T.C. as I am the current President. I will be back in two weeks; however, you can still contact me via email at email@example.com or phone. I hope to see you at my meeting on September 18.
Be good to yourself and be good to your neighbors!
I hope the month of August is off to a wonderful start for you! As most of you are aware, Council is back in session after a month long recess in July. Despite the recess though, we were and continue to be very busy!
I was able to attend the Marley Park Veteran’s Commemorative Plaza (VCP) event in Marley Park on Independence Day. The VCP is for the community to commemorate those who have served or may currently serve in the armed forces. The event was well attended and Vice Mayor Hall (Army) and Councilman Biundo (Marines) were acknowledged for their military service.
I was fortunate to receive an invitation to the West Valley Gubernatorial Forum and Debate at ASU West on Tuesday, July 22nd along with many other elected officials from around the Valley.
On July 24th, Mayor Wolcott and several other Council Members including myself attended the grand opening and ribbon cutting of the West Valley Arts Council in their new facility at the City Center. The 2,500 square foot gallery will have regularly changing exhibits by local artists. It is just north of City Hall next to the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Surprise Farms III held their Annual HOA Meeting at Willow Canyon High School on July 24. I was grateful for the invitation. I was able to provide artist renditions of the amenities of the Surprise Farms Park.
The City Council was invited to interview a top candidate for Assistant City Manager on Friday, July 25. Bob Wingenroth, City Manager, has really taken over the reigns and is in the process of building an excellent leadership team. We look forward to seeing our beautiful city grow, both in and out of City Hall.
We are excited to announce that the crews working from Fire Station 304 moved into their new facility on June 28th. We thank them for their patience and welcome them to their new temporary home!
My August schedule is getting quite full. Below, please find a quick glance at the meetings and events I will be attending:
August 5th, 4 pm – City Council Work Session
August 5th, 6 pm – City Council Meeting
August 11th, 11 am – Tour of Benevilla
August 12th, 7 am – Surprise Chamber of Commerce Breakfast
August 13th, 7:30 am – Dysart Unified School District Breakfast Meeting
August 14th, 6 pm – Surprise Fire Medical Promotion Ceremony
August 16th, 9 am – ADOT 303/I-10 Ribbon Cutting
August 18th, 4 pm – City Council Work Session
August 18th, 6 pm – City Council Meeting
August 19th through August 23rd – Arizona League of Cities Conference
August 28th, 3:30 pm – Water Planning Sub-Committee Meeting
Also, please mark your calendar for my next meet and greet will take place on September 19. Mark your calendars! I hope to see you there!
Happy warm July to everyone in District 1! I hope this newsletter finds you well.
As you most likely know, last month was my last meet and greet until September 19 (one day before my birthday). We had a fabulous crowd (below) and I was able to inform everyone about the great things happening in District 1 and indeed, the entire City. If you need to speak to me about anything, please feel free to call me or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We welcomed a new City Manager, Bob Wingenroth! The decision to appoint Mr. Wingenroth was a remarkable decision by the entire City Council. I will be interviewing our new City Manager on Surprise 11 this month so you’ll want to watch it.
WINCO is proceeding with their large discount grocery store on Bell Road after overcoming many hurdles. I recognize there was some opposition to the location of the store but I believe it will be a wonderful addition for District 1, the residents of Surprise and even the residents of the southwest Valley. I have received a number of emails and phone calls with some concerns and one of the last emails discussed concerns about Acacia trees that WINCO wanted to plant along the block wall at the very southern edge of that particular lot. Some of those residents did not want the mess associated with those trees, in particular, the puffy flowers that fall from the trees and blow around. After further investigation and discussions with staff, WINCO agreed to change the trees to Sissoo with root barriers. WINCO is trying to accommodate us and to be a good neighbor!
The City Council held their last meeting, prior to summer recess, on Tuesday, June 17. We will resume our regular schedule on Tuesday, August 5. Although we are not meeting, we do not have July off of work. There is still City work to be done!
On Wednesday, June 4, I visited the site of our new Fire Station 304. It won’t be too much longer before the crew will move into the new facility. It will be very nice for them compared to the space they currently occupy! I’d love to cut that ribbon, if they ask me! I’ve received a few phone calls inquiring about the new space. Why is it a temporary building instead of a permanent building? The answer is quite simple. There is a big difference between $400,000 versus $4.5 million and until Asante and the other areas are completely built and the City can collect those impact fees, we will need to wait.
The Committee I chair, the Boards and Commissions Selection Committee, has chosen four new residents to fill vacancies on various commissions. Councilman Jim Biundo of District 2 and Councilwoman Rachel Villanueva of District 4 are also part of the Committee. The City Council unanimously approved all nominees at the City Council meeting on June 17. It is really gratifying to find residents who are willing to donate some of their free time to serve on our Boards and Commissions which serve as a valuable resource for our City Council.
Last month, I also attended the HOA Summit held in the Public Safety Auditorium of the Surprise Police Department. We had a fair turn-out. I strongly encourage all of our HOAs to get involved at these meetings which are held quarterly. Please ask your HOA Boards to be in attendance! This past meeting was held on June 11 and it was very informative. Landscaping was the primary focus of this meeting as well as tips on how we can make our common areas aesthetically pleasing. The lecture was given by Bart Wingard, one of the City’s Planners. Bart knows his subject as he holds a degree in landscape engineering. Great job, Bart!
On June 11, I was also invited to attend the Surprise Farms II HOA meeting by their Community Manager, Jeanne Stockard and the Surprise Farms II Board of Directors. I provided a City and District 1 update which included all of the improvements the City will be investing in Surprise Farms Park. Mark Coronado, Director of CRS, was able to provide some artist renditions for that meeting. Thank you, Mark! The residents who were in attendance seemed happy to see the renditions and know the improvements are coming to fruition.
I had the privilege to attend the AZ Entrepreneurial Boot Camp at the AZ TechCelerator on Friday, June 13. Many of our high school youth participated in the boot camp that allowed them to work in four separate groups and develop a business plan for their school. The winner was chosen and that business, Bull Dog Lock-Up received $2,000 to start their business at their school, Arizona Charter Academy. Bull Dog Lock-Up will provide a secure place for students to place their school items during the school day.
On Wednesday, June 18, the CRS Advisory Commission held their monthly meeting at Willow Canyon High School to show and explain what amenities they recommend at Surprise Farms Park. The meeting was very well attended as the CRS Chair indicated it was one of their largest crowds. Four City Council Members were in attendance. All aspects of the improvements were well explained and Mark Coronado, Director of CRS, was there for questions and answers. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Wayne Turner and the CRS Advisory Commission for their hard work, planning and patience developing their plans for this park. Jay Hicks was also present for this meeting. Mr. Hicks was the primary planner for Marley Park and if you have never been to Marley Park or Asante Park, it is worth the trip! We received excellent feedback from this meeting pertaining to the residents’ wants which included a large splash pad, ramadas, bathrooms, parking lot, dog park and much more. We have $1.68 Million to invest at this park. Will we get everything we want? Maybe not, but we are certainly going to do our best with what we have. I am confident that the City Council will approve this project.
On June 23, City Council had an opportunity to meet the candidates for the Community Development Director position. Our new City Manager has a tough decision to make!
The 24th of June found me in our usual once a month Water Planning Subcommittee meeting chaired by Vice Mayor Skip Hall. In approximately 2025, we are going to be forced to make some tough choices regarding our water supply. This Subcommittee has allowed me to work with our Vice Mayor more closely and I can assure you, when our Mayor is out of town for business, the City is in good hands with Vice Mayor Hall at the helm.
Finally, on June 25, I went to my fourth meeting on Interstate 11 which will be located just west of Surprise. It will someday connect Mexico to Canada but it is still early in the planning process.
As you can see, June was a very busy month. I hope you enjoyed my summary. Please remember to watch my Surprise 11 interview with our new City Manager. I wasn’t too nervous this time!
Please don’t forget, we’ve changed our hours to best accommodate our residents!
Hello to all of my neighbors in Surprise District 1. I hope this newsletter finds you healthy and keeping cool. The heat is upon us, but Surprise is still a great place to live, and don’t forget that our pool is open this summer and is a great facility.
Summer Meeting Schedule
I will start off first by saying I will have one more meeting on Friday, June 20, 7 pm, in the Community Center at The Retreat at Arizona Traditions. This is a great chance for you folks to share your concerns or just stop by and chat. I will take a summer break until September 19 when my get-togethers will resume, so there will be no meetings in July or August.
I have been busy in May and I would like to bring everyone up to date. For those who have not been to the Adelante Medical Office on Bell Road, they are displaying artwork and photos by some of the members of What’s Happening in Art Movement (WHAM). Well worth the stop to check it out. We were there Friday evening, May 2.
Relay for Life
The Annual Relay for Life event took place on May 3 and 4, at Willow Canyon High School. The American Cancer organization wishes to thank the student body and administrators for allowing that to happen at their facility. It is a very worthwhile fun event to raise money to defeat cancer. This event raised more than $60,000 and was well attended, including Mayor Sharon Wolcott, and Youngtown’s Mayor Mike LeVault, and a number of Surprise City Council members. I wish all the seniors who graduated from Willow Canyon High School the best in their future plans. District One is very fortunate to have a school of your caliber.
Rancho Gabriela Career Day
I was honored to be invited to Rancho Gabriela School on Thursday, May 6 for Career Day, and those little kids were really sharp. The main attraction for them was, of course, our fire fighters, fire truck, the police area, and the S.W.A.T. team. I represented the City Council and would ask those kids, “What district do you live in?” and they would answer, “Dysart.” Great kids.
Northwest Ranch Block Party
I spent a half day at the Northwest Ranch Block Party on Saturday, May 10, answering the residents’ questions and concerns while I got fat on hamburgers and hot dogs. Everyone had a great time.
Wednesday, May 14 found me at a water conservation conference in Avondale, put on by West CAP. A number of public officials from around the West Valley were in attendance. I was joined there by Mayor Wolcott; our City Manager, Chris Hillman; our Director of Public Works, Dick McKinley; and a number of others from Surprise. I came away with the impression that our water supply is limited and we must always keep in our mind to continue to conserve our precious water. Will we ever run out of water? Probably not, but the question is, how much are we going to be paying for it?
Northwest Ranch HOA
On Friday, May 16, I was invited to attend the HOA board meeting of Northwest Ranch to bring them up to date on what is happening in the city. The residents were mainly interested in when the well will be finished on Sarival and the APS service road. The well will be finished in December, but all the messy, dirty work is over. The service road will be taken care of by APS.
May 16 Coffee and Conversation
On Friday, May 16, I also had my usual meet and greet with a fairly good crowd. Remember, no meetings in July or August, but that does not mean you can’t get in touch with me at City Hall, or my direct number at 623-594-5952. If I am not able to answer the phone, leave a message and I will call you back.
There was a beautiful Memorial Day ceremony at Radiant Church in Surprise, and I want to thank those folks for hosting that event. The M.C. was Chet Chetkauskas, who did a great job, and I was especially excited for Chet because he lives in District One. Our Vice-Mayor Skip Hall, recipient of a Bronze Star during the Vietnam War, was the keynote speaker, and he really honored our veterans. A very respectful ceremony overall!
F-35s Up Close
I really enjoyed the F-35 briefing that Rusty Mitchell, a former F-16 pilot stationed at Luke, put on in Sun City West on May 28. I got a new appreciation for Luke Air Force Base and the men and women that keep us safe. So when you hear that loud roar going overhead, look up and thank those pilots for their dedication. One other point is to appreciate the economic burst that Luke gives the West Valley.
Citizens Patrol Picnic
One last event I was lucky enough to attend was the appreciation picnic for all our volunteer citizens who help the Surprise Police Department. The Citizens Patrol(CP) is invaluable to the operation of our Surprise Police Department. They are extra eyes on the street. Those men and women put many hours in to help keep Surprise a safe place to live so the next time you see one of our Citizen Patrols, thank them for their service.
Public Meeting on Surprise Farms Park
Before I leave you, I want to remind everyone in District One, and especially Surprise Farms, that on Wednesday, June 18, there will be a meeting at Willow Canyon High School about the amenities the City will put in the Surprise Farms park. It is important you attend the meeting if you want to have a voice in this project. We are going to be there to listen to the residents. The meeting will begin at 6 pm, so have an early dinner and be there.
I will close for now so be good to yourselves and be good to each other.
A warm hello to all of you. I hope this month’s newsletter finds you and your family healthy and happy in our beautiful city.
I will try and recap all events in April and bring you up to date on things to come in May. We are already saying goodbye to a fast-fleeing spring so get ready for our warm weather!
We attended the crime prevention day at the Aquatics Center on Bullard Road on Saturday, April 5, and a big thank you to the folks that volunteered to help. Our firefighters and police officers put on a number of great demonstrations, including what happens in an auto accident, demonstrations by K-9 police and the crisis response unit, and Del Webb Medical Center held CPR classes.
Monthly Coffee at Arizona Traditions
Councilman Biundo (Dist 2) and I held our monthly meet-and-greet on Tuesday, April 8 at 10 AM in the neighborhood center in Arizona Traditions, as we do every second Tuesday of the month. Each of us represent a part of the Arizona Traditions community. I hope you will join us in the future.
Swap Meet a Big Hit
I attended the citywide swap meet Saturday, April 12, at the Aquatic Center and there was a great turnout of residents selling almost everything you could imagine. I was pleased to meet and talk to a couple of folks who are brand new to our city and live in Surprise Farms. They already love Surprise!
The same day I was invited to attend a community event at Surprise Apostolic Church on Paradise Lane in our Original Town Site. What a good time everyone had and a great job by all those volunteers. This was their first community day event and they hope to have one every year. Lunch was provided to all who attended and and there was no charge for admission.
Kingswood Parke Block Party
Finally, to close out a busy Saturday, I attended the Kingswood Parke Block Party at the beautiful park they have. There were bouncy houses for kids, the Surprise Fire-Medical Department was there, as well as the Police Department. They had a great country band and delicious hamburgers. A good time was had by all.
Town Hall with Flake, Bennett
I was very privileged to be at a Town Hall meeting where I got to talk with Senator Jeff Flake and Secretary of State Ken Bennett, who is running for Governor. This event was put together by Tony Rivero, who serving his last term as a member of Peoria City Council. Councilman Rivero is running for Debbie Lesko’s legislative seat.
Art at City Hall
The West Valley Arts Council along with the Surprise Arts and Advisory Commission put on a very well done art exhibit at City Hall Wednesday night, April 23, unveiling some new pieces that are on display throughout the ground floor of City Hall. We had some great food catered by our very own City Hall Café. Sue and Dave did a great job and we had a good turnout. Come visit City Hall to view all the great artwork. This is your City Hall. Come and enjoy it!
City Budget In the Works
Probably the most important thing going on right now is the City Council, Mayor, City Manager and our CFO are working on our FY15 budget. We have had a few four-hour meetings and an all day budget meeting on Saturday, April 26, and a Special City Council meeting on the budget Tuesday, April 29th. This will go on until the Council votes on the final budget in June.
All these meetings are open to our residents and I urge you to attend so you can be better informed. When all is said and done, there will be some good things for the residents of Surprise and also our employees. I ask all my fellow residents of Surprise: please do not be upset as our employees get a small raise. After all, they have not had a raise in seven years!
Surprise Farms Park is close to getting some things built, too.
On Sunday, April 27, I attended the Canyon Ridge Community block party with Councilmembers Todd Tande (Dist 6) and Rachel Villanueva (Dist 4). That community is halfway to being built out with 85 homes.
GPEC meeting in Phoenix
I was at the GPEC meeting April 30 in the GPEC (Greater Phoenix Economic Council) Offices in Phoenix for a discussion about our water situation and what can be done to sustain our supply of water for the future.
Let’s Keep Surprise Beautiful!
Before I close my newsletter this month, there is a concern that I’ll share with you. As I travel the streets of our beautiful city, I am seeing some trash discarded along our sidewalks and roadways. Please join me and put your soda cups and paper trash in the proper receptacle. Let’s take pride in our clean city and keep it that way.
I will end my newsletter for May now. Take care of yourselves and each other!