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!
Councilman Roland F. Winters Jr.