Happy April to all of my fellow District 1 residents and to all the folks that call this beautiful city home. March got off to a quick start with the Surprise Police Appreciation Dinner at Christ Church of the Valley (CCV) on the evening of Friday, March 2. Many awards were given to show gratitude to the men and women that get on those streets every day and night to keep us all safe. I would like to take this opportunity to thank CCV for their partnership and all they do for our city. We simply ask, and they are there!
On Monday, March 5, I attended a meeting to discuss how we can help the homeless. It is growing into a more significant problem for our residents and visitors in Surprise. It is a very complex issue, and we have to be sensitive to their needs as well. One of the concerns is that we have no place to host them or feed them in Surprise. Most places that can assist or accommodate them are in Phoenix. Our homeless population does not want to leave our city and feel it is their city too.
I had a phone call from the Maricopa County Community Services Commission regarding my interest to serve on their Commission. I was, of course, honored to be considered. There is a process, so I will wait to see if I am chosen.
Friday, March 9 found me at the Economic Development Spring Training Event at Surprise Stadium. Our Economic Development Department is the greatest! They continue to bring a number of opportunities to Surprise!
Tuesday, March 13, I attended Benevilla’s Annual Donor Appreciation Brunch at Briarwood Country Club. The event honored dedicated community members and supporters of their mission. Benevilla President Joanne Thomson presented two awards. The 2018 Bill Wolfrey Community Service Award was given to Larry Vering and the Business Leadership Award was given to Pat Babcock from the West Valley Lutheran Thrift Shop. Benevilla could not provide all their services without the generous contributions of all their donors.
On Friday, March 16, I was at the groundbreaking for our newest company, Trimaco, in the Southwest Railplex area of Surprise. With the growing success of their business nationwide, they have outgrown their current west valley location and will be building a NEW 275,000 SF facility and employing over 110 people in Surprise! Trimaco manufactures paint accessories and professional floor protection products for paint retail, auto body and construction industries worldwide. This project represents more than just the current ground-up development, as the President of Trimaco is a long-term investor in Surprise. Mr. Vito Ancona developed Ancona Professional Plaza off Grand Avenue – and now we are happy to welcome him into our industrial park as well!
Following the groundbreaking, we attended the Economic Development Tent Appreciation Event at Surprise Stadium. This annual event is held to show our appreciation to all of our businesses in surprise. It was very successful. We had over 160 people in attendance! Many thanks to Economic Development Director Jeanine Jerkovic for her exceptional leadership and to the entire Economic Development team for working together to show their gratitude as well as attract new business opportunities to Surprise!
I was so very pleased to be in attendance at the ceremony to honor the late CRS Director Mark Coronado. The event took place on Saturday, March 17 prior to the spring training game at Surprise Stadium. His entire family was in attendance. When the Committee to honor Mark made their recommendations at a City Council meeting earlier this year, we approved all three recommendations. You will now see a Mark Coronado legacy seat in the Stadium, in addition to renaming 8-Acre Park to “Mark Coronado Park” with a memorial plaque at the park’s entry gate. Honorary street signs along Bullard Avenue now read “Mark Coronado Way.” I hope, when someone asks 10 or 15 years from now “Who was Mark Coronado?”, there will be someone there to describe all the fantastic things Mark did for the City of Surprise. I would venture to say if it were not for Mark, there would not be a Major League Baseball team in Surprise let alone two teams. My first year on the Council, I worked closely with Mark to develop Surprise Farms Park, now known as Dick McComb City Park. Oddly enough, it was Dick McComb who hired Mark! Mark was fiercely dedicated to make that park a great place to play for generations to come with a splash pad, and the first skate park in Surprise. He also made sure he added these amenities within his budget. I thank Mark for all he did for Surprise in his 17 years of service to this city. Rest in peace now, Mark!
Of course on Tuesday, March 20, we held our second monthly City Council Work Session at 4 pm and our City Council Regular Meeting at 6 pm when we actually vote on the different agenda items. In addition after these two meeting, we sometimes go into Executive Session.
Thursday, March 22 found me at my Northwest Valley Connect (NWC) meeting at Benevilla, and for those of you who do not know what that organization is all about, it is all about transportation and getting people where they need to go. NWC will take you to your medical appointments, even the grocery store if you cannot get a ride. They are a non-profit 501(c)3 and there is no charge for their service but they do take donations in any amount. Their drivers are volunteers and they do have accessible vehicles, so if you are a wheelchair user, it isn’t a problem.
We had a ribbon cutting at the Shops at Elm Street on Friday, March 23. For those of you who don’t know where these new stores are, they are located on the corner of Bell Road and Civic Center Drive, right next to the soon to open In-N-Out Burger which is now hiring and paying $12 an hour! Not all of the shops are open yet, but the majority are open for business.
In March, we had another grand opening. Ono Hawaiian BBQ, located at 13864 W. Bell Road, is a fast-casual dining restaurant with 70 store locations throughout California and Arizona. The owners are very nice and the food is excellent. Welcome to Surprise!
Tuesday, March 27 found me at Willow Canyon High School for a mock crash scenario to demonstrate what can happen when someone makes the decision to drive under the influence. The demonstration costs about $7,000 to put on, so I hope everyone (students and non-students alike) learned something from it. We were fortunate to get a grant from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. I want to thank our Surprise Fire-Medical Department, Surprise Police Department, Native Air, Dysart Unified School District, Willow Canyon administrators and staff for going above and beyond to help all of us to make the right decisions when it comes to driving under the influence, and not to text while driving. It’s simply not worth it! On a personal note, I think Willow Canyon High School is the best high school in Surprise (because it’s in my District), and I love all the kids there. I don’t want to read in the newspapers that someone was killed or injured in a traffic accident for these reasons. Please be careful out there!
On Thursday, March 29, I attended Arizona Charter Academy’s Community Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon at their school at 16025 N. Dysart Road in Surprise. What a great job Melissa Holdaway and her team do to educate those kids, but that’s not all, the young folks are very polite and respectful. We were also entertained by two different choirs. The lunch was catered by Birt’s Bistro. Great job!
That same afternoon, I attended the retirement ceremony for Surprise Police Officer Terry Vernon Reppert who served the city for 25 years. The retirements of our public safety personnel are always bitter sweet. On one hand you are happy they are going to have a great retirement, but they will be greatly missed for all their good work they’ve done for us over the years.
Still later in the afternoon on the 29th, I attended the ribbon cutting at the opening of Pinnacle Vein and Vascular Center, 12361 W. Bola Drive near the Original Town Site. Dr. Bajeet Uppal is a vascular surgeon with years of experience, and we welcome him to Surprise.
The last event I went to was the Spring Eggstravaganza on Saturday, March 31 on the Kansas City Royals practice field. What a crowd turned out, like a county fair! Community and Recreation Services Director Donna Miller, Assistant Director Paul Frie and their team did a great job! Everything was well organized and ran smoothly considering all the little people vying for all the eggs scattered all over that field. What a bunch of cuties! I hope all of you had a good Easter!
I wanted to wish retiring IRIS USA CEO Chet Keizer a great retirement! He announced last month that he was retiring, but I am happy to hear he will be staying in Surprise!
As you can see, March was a very busy month!
Don’t forget my Friday Night Chat at the Traditions Community Center, 18250 Weatherby Drive on Friday, April 13 at 7 pm. Don’t let the date scare you away. We have great cookies. My meetings are the second Friday of each month at 7 pm.
Take care! Be good to yourself and be good to each other!
Roland F. Winters Jr.
District 1 Councilmember