Tag Archives: Community Outreach

September 2017 • Newsletter

A big shout out to all the residents in District 1 and to all the residents in Surprise! I hope you are staying cool during the remaining month of summer. Thankfully, fall is right around the corner and so are cooler temperatures!

The month of August began immediately with a City Council Work Session and City Council Meeting since we host these meetings the first and third Tuesday of the month. We returned from a recess in July and started business!

Monday, August 7 found me in a meeting with staff to try and work through this disaster called paratransit offered by Valley Metro and delivered by TransDev which is headquartered in Mesa. I continue to receive emails and phone calls from residents – some not even in my District, but that’s ok. I will continue to help anyone who contacts me. I have talked to residents who can’t get a ride to a doctor’s appointment, physical therapy or medical procedures because they are told by TransDev that there aren’t any rides left, and that is ridiculous! When someone calls for a ride on August 28 requesting transportation to a doctor’s appointment in September, and is told by the people at TransDev “all of September is booked”, there is something wrong with the system (that’s no surprise). Upon further investigation, we found many riders on TransDev are starting their ride and ending their ride in Surprise, so if that is the case, they should be using Ride Choice with Discount Cab or Yellow Cab. TransDev Paratransit rides are for regional trips (outside of the Surprise area) only for medical and work trips. We are directing TransDev to tell riders who travel within Surprise to use Ride Choice which they should have been doing all along. Paratransit rides were set-up at 34 rides a day for Surprise residents, so the city has added 21 more rides a day for the next two weeks to try to help the overflow for a total of 46 rides a day for the next two weeks. I am asking all of my Surprise residents to use Ride Choice for your rides within Surprise, making these changes should get TransDev back on an acceptable schedule, maybe. The new contract started on July 1, and we were promised it would be a better system and on time, so much for that prophecy. This system is costing the taxpayer $800,000 each Fiscal Year. I want to thank David Kohlbeck and Mike Gent for all of their help trying to resolve this issue.

I had my monthly meeting on Friday, August 11 at 7 pm and I had a good crowd. A few residents expressed their disgust on the paratransit system.

I attended the summer employee appreciation event in the City Council Chamber on Thursday, August 17. This event was started years ago by city management as an opportunity to show appreciation to our employees. Some are recognized for going above and beyond while they have lunch with their fellow peers and friends. It also provides me with an opportunity to get to know our staff. The taxpayers should be proud of the people who work for the city – from the people working in the ditches, to those on the roads, to the folks in City Hall, from the Directors to all the office workers and more.

Of course one of the big surprises in August was the resignation of District 3 Councilman John Williams who served this city tirelessly for almost ten years. I had a meeting with John on Monday, August 14, and he submitted his resignation letter the following morning. He never said a word about it. John will be missed.

On the afternoon of August 17, the Committee on Community Outreach, Partnerships and Grants met. As a member of this Committee, we make the funding recommendations to the full City Council from the presentations of the grant seekers. This particular meeting concerned the Surprise Community Outreach Grant Program which is offered to local 501(c)3 non-profits that serve Surprise residents. There were 32 applicants requesting total funding of more than $261,000. The Committee listened to 32 presentations – one for each non-profit organization – to arrive at our decision as to which non-profits to fund and at what dollar amount. My hat (cowboy) is off to Jodi Tas for all of her hard work preparing the applications and books required for this meeting. We met for over four hours then made the difficult decisions regarding funding.

On Friday, August 18, I took part in the Boards and Commissions Selection Committee which is another committee I sit on. It is the Committee’s duty to appoint residents to various boards and commissions that help the City Council. On this particular day, we had to choose two folks from six to serve on the Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission. It was a difficult decision because everyone was so qualified.

On Tuesday, August 22, most of the City Council arrived in Oro Valley for the Annual League of Arizona Cities and Towns Conference. This conference provides break-out sessions and networking opportunities with our fellow elected colleagues. I also joined a bus tour to see the public art in Oro Valley to determine how they manage that program. Our public arts program is in its infancy but our Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission is doing a great job placing public art around City Hall. I encourage you to visit and view some of the pieces on our campus if you get a chance.

I attended Ottawa University’s (OUAZ) convocation for their first class on Wednesday, August 30 at Christ Church of the Valley (CCV) in Surprise. The ceremony, led by President of Ottawa Dr. Kevin Eichner and Vice President and Provost Dr. Dennis Tyner, was very inspirational with some powerful speeches. Mayor Sharon Wolcott made a good speech and welcomed the students to Surprise. Approximately 450 students attended, and they were all very polite and respectful. Every Wednesday, their curriculum at OUAZ will consist of a personal character building day. It looks like Ottawa has the cream of the crop for their first class. When I left, I felt that the city, State and the nation is in good hands after all for the future of mankind.

On Thursday, August 31, I attended the groundbreaking of Ottawa University Surprise competition fields. The fields will be utilized for football and soccer. There was a good crowd and, of course, more speeches. Just think of that, Surprise will now have college football and soccer teams to cheer on. How cool is that!

City Council and Ottawa Staff breaking ground at school's new Practice Fields

I have been honored with an appointment to the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) Economic Development Council. This seat was formerly occupied by Mayor Wolcott and after she resigned, she wrote the Council a letter of recommendation for me. I was chosen from a number of applicants. Surprise needs to have a seat at the table when decisions are made, not only for Surprise, but for the entire West Valley as well.

Just a few things before I close for this month, and maybe most of you are already aware we are getting the #1 requested restaurant from our Economic Development Survey, In-N-Out Burger, on the corner of Bell Road and Civic Center Drive in addition to a Raising Cane and Starbucks. Surprise is also getting a Hilton hotel with a full service restaurant near Surprise Stadium.

image of former Surprise City Manager Dick McCombMark your calendars! Following City Council’s direction to honor the city’s longest-tenured City Manager Dick McComb (1990 – 2000), the city will officially rename Surprise Farms Community Park, to Dick McComb City Park, at a public ceremony, Saturday, September 30, at 9 a.m. The event takes place at the southeast corner of 175th Avenue and Surprise Farms Loop South. Mr. McComb began his city government career in 1976 and became City Manager for the City of Surprise in 1990. During McComb’s tenure, the city’s population grew from 7,122 people to nearly 31,000. This was a period of commercial growth for Surprise with Surprise Towne Center then under development and the Target opened at Surprise Marketplace. In addition, Mr. McComb served in the United States Marine Corps during the Korean War. Following his retirement, McComb remained an engaged Surprise resident and then became the community manager for Sun Village. He passed away in 2016 at the age of 81.

City Council also approved an additional 10 acres of open space park area at the aforementioned park, which is now turfed. Once the green fence is removed, after the turf has been established, we will be having another celebratory event. We anticipate this event will occur in early October. For more information on these events, please call Community and Recreation Services at 623.222.2000.

In other recreation news, 8 Acre Park fencing is under construction. Construction began last month and should conclude by the end of this month. This project includes 2300 feet of 8 foot tall decorative fencing with pillars to match the aesthetics of our Surprise Stadium fencing.

Eight new pickle ball courts with LED lighting are also under construction. Construction began on August 23, and the anticipated completion, pending weather delays, is the end of November. This project also includes the relocation of our volleyball courts.

Well, be good to yourself and be good to each other!

Roland F. Winters Jr.

November 2016 • Newsletter

Greetings to all of my District 1 friends, neighbors and to all of the residents who have the privilege of living in this beautiful city we call Surprise. On November 8, you will have the opportunity to participate in the democratic process of voting for your favorite candidates. You’ll also have the chance to vote on a $63 million General Obligation Bond measure for our city that, if approved by voters, will fund nine capital improvement projects.

I began the month of October with the ribbon cutting of Caliber Collision, an auto body repair company located on Bell Road just east of Grand Avenue. The facility is state-of-the-art, clean and exceptionally organized. We were provided with a tour that included their new paint process that eliminates fumes. Welcome to Surprise, Caliber!

The city hosted a Surprise Forward outreach meeting at Arizona Traditions on October 12. The meeting was led by City Manager Bob Wingenroth and included a thorough presentation on the bond initiative on the General Election ballot.

The Committee on Community Outreach, Partnerships and Grants met on Thursday, October 13 to review grant applications for the Neighborhood Grant Program. The program provides eligible neighborhoods with small grants to fund neighborhood events, functions and even community improvements that would encourage community engagement and further build strong relationships within the communities in Surprise. The Committee is compromised of Councilwoman and Chair Rachel Villanueva, Councilman John Williams and myself. The two applicants were awarded $3,000 each for their respective projects. With that being said, the program application deadline was extended to November 30, 2016. For more information, please visit Neighborhood Grant Program or contact Jodi Tas at 623.222.1330.

I hosted my regular monthly meeting at the Retreat Community Center in Arizona Traditions on Friday, October 14. I provided a city update to the attendees.

Surprise Honda hosted their official grand opening and ribbon cutting on Monday, October 17. Councilman Skip Hall and I attended the event and toured the large operation and beautiful facility that includes virtual golf for those waiting for service. Surprise Honda has been a welcome addition to the Prasada Auto Mall since their soft opening in mid-August.

ribbon cutting

I was invited to attend the Northwest Ranch HOA meeting on Thursday, October 20 to discuss the bond as well as other issues the residents of the fine community requested. Several city staff members accompanied me. I wanted to personally thank Community Manager Melanie Veach, Kelly Hall and the remainder of the Northwest Ranch HOA Board for the invitation as well as the city staff which included Deputy City Manager Nicole Lance, Assistant City Manager Mike Frazier, Police Chief Terry Young, Public Works Director Mike Gent, Assistant Fire Chief Brenden Espie, Police Sergeant Tim Klarkowski, Police Officer Jennifer Booth, Assistant Director of CRS Donna Miller, and Assistant Finance Director Jared Askelson.

My family and I attended the open house at Fire Station #304 the morning of October 22. I enjoyed speaking to many of my constituents from District 1 including residents from Asante, Desert Oasis and many more. Thank you to the firefighters for hosting such a great community event!

Later that day, I attended the Surprise Farms V block party with HOA Board President Les Phillips and residents of this fairly new community. We were greeted with warm hospitality and good food!

Additionally, we attended the Tip-A-Cop event held at Red Robin on October 20. This event is a great opportunity to raise money for Special Olympics. Representatives from Surprise Police Department waited on customers and collected tips for the fundraiser.

CM Winters with Surprise PD members

I closed the evening of October 20 with a block party at Arizona Traditions at the Retreat where I continued to mingle with residents and share productive conversations with my neighbors.

Desert Oasis HOA hosted their annual meeting on October 24. We were asked to provide an overview of the bond initiative. I’d like to thank the staff that accompanied me that evening – Deputy City Manager Nicole Lance, Fire Chief Tom Abbott, Police Chief Terry Young, Finance Director Lindsey Duncan, Public Works Director Mike Gent and CRS Manager Paul Frie.

City leaders and GateWay Community College administrators gathered at the Surprise-GateWay Training Center on October 26 to officially cut the ribbon on the new 13,100 square foot facility. The observation-centric training facility provides individuals interested in pursuing careers in the water and wastewater professions new opportunities for hands-on learning in the West Valley. In addition to training space, the center provides mission critical labs and assembly facilities for city water professionals. The center is located on the grounds of the South Plant (SPA1) Water Reclamation Facility; a facility that currently processes over 8 million gallons of water per day making it a logical location for practical learning.

As a reminder, please don’t forget that Bell Road will be opening on Tuesday, November 22. The city is currently planning an appreciation event tentatively scheduled for Monday, November 21 to thank the businesses, residents and partners for their patience during the closure. I hope to see you there! More information will soon follow.

Until next month, please be good to yourself and be good to others.

Best,

Councilman Roland F. Winters Jr.

September 2016 • Newsletter

Greetings to all of my fellow District 1 residents and to all the residents that live in the beautiful city of Surprise. So much has happened since my last newsletter – the local elections took place; new businesses have opened or will soon be opening; and my new Council Conversation taping was completed.

August was a full month following the City Council recess in July. I started the month with the grand opening and ribbon cutting of Sun West Credit Union at 14865 W. Bell Road, which is located in Councilman Skip Hall’s District 5. He and I were joined by Councilman Todd Tande as we welcomed this new business to Surprise!

Councilmembers Hall, Tande and Winters at grand opening of Sun West Credit Union

I recorded a new Council Conversations show on August 9 that features an interview with Friends of the Surprise Library. Alyson and Gary Cline have done a fantastic job supporting literacy and programs in Surprise at the Northwest Regional and Hollyhock Branch libraries. Friends of the Library is a local non-profit organization that accepts gently-used books and magazines, so if you have any that you would like to donate, please do so. You can bring them to the Northwest Regional Library at 16089 N. Bullard Avenue. For more information on this wonderful organization, you can visit www.friendsofthesurpriselibraries.org.

Roland Winters Council Conversations Show

The Maricopa Association of Governments hosted an “On the Move Early Phase Open House” on August 11. The Early Phase Input Opportunity was an opportunity to speak to regional planners about projects that are important to us. I wanted to ensure they knew Surprise is still here and that we NEED reliable and established transit!

I hosted my regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Friday, August 12. A few items were brought to my attention, including trees on the north side of Bell Road near Happy Trails. Public Works Director Mike Gent, Assistant Director of Community Development Chris Boyd and I worked together to get the issue expeditiously resolved. A big thank you also needs to go to the staff that did the dirty work of cutting and grinding the trees. This is just a little example of teamwork and the high caliber of folks working for our residents!

The Audit Committee met on August 17 at City Hall. Councilman Skip Hall and I sit on the Committee. I want to remind everyone that the Audit Committee meetings are open to the public, and you are welcome to attend! The next meeting is scheduled for November 16 at 2:30 p.m. in the City Council Chamber Overflow Room at City Hall.

The Committee on Community Outreach, Partnerships and Grants met on August 18 to review grant applications for this year’s Surprise Community Outreach Program(SCOP). Councilwoman and Chair Rachel Villanueva, Councilman John Williams and I have seats on the Committee. Staff received 22 applications this year with grant requests slightly exceeding $188,000. Applicants were asked to present their requests to us. The background to their requests were heartwarming and, in some cases, heartbreaking. After listening to the requests, the Committee discussed the funding recommendations which were brought forth to the full City Council. The decision was difficult as the budget for SCOP was $65,000, but we managed to make funding recommendations for almost every applicant. Several factors were considered in our decision process, including how many residents would be impacted by the funds if the grant was approved for each organization. The city is so fortunate to have so many non-profit organizations that help our citizens who are in need, and I consider myself fortunate to be part of this Committee. This is the part of my job I really enjoy, the ability to help so many people and truly make a difference!

The Annual Arizona League of Cities and Towns Conference was held from August 23 – August 26 in Scottsdale. The Conference is a great opportunity to network with fellow elected officials at the local and State level. I attended several break-out sessions and meetings held during my time there. Overall, this was a very successful conference.

On August 29, I attended the Boards & Commissions Selection Committee meeting. The Committee interviewed impressive candidates for several openings on our Boards & Commissions. We really have some enthusiastic residents who want to serve their time and talent to Surprise! As Chair of the Committee, I want to thank Council Members Skip Hall and Rachel Villanueva for all their time and assistance during the interview process.

I joined Councilman Skip Hall at the grand opening and ribbon cutting celebration of Desert Premier Home Realty on Tuesday, August 30. Desert Home Premier is a real estate agency that focuses on homes for sale in the West and Northwest Valley.

Please remember that I will continue to host my monthly meetings on the second Friday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Retreat Community Center in Arizona Traditions, 18250 W. Weatherby Drive. This is your opportunity to voice your concerns, compliments or just to chat. I hope to see you then.

Until next time, please be good to yourself and be good to each other.

Best Regards,

Roland F. Winters Jr.
Councilman, District 1