A big shout out to all the residents of this great city we have the privilege of living in. I should direct my newsletter comments to the entire city since I am your Vice Mayor now, and it is an honor to serve you.
March was a busy month for me, and I started out by reading to the children in Mrs. Guevarba’s 2nd grade class at Countryside Elementary School. This is one of my favorite things to do as a member of the Surprise City Council. The children are so young and innocent with their whole life ahead of them, and I can’t help but ask myself, “What are these little people going to be when they grow up?” In three or four days, I received many wonderful ‘thank you’ notes from the children. Thank you, Mrs. Guevarba, and your class for giving me more than I gave you.
That same afternoon, March 1, I found myself at the Surprise Stadium in the VIP tent to meet and greet some developers and business people and let them know why they should invest in our city. The entire council wants good businesses located in Surprise so our residents can find good jobs in the city they live in and we can make Surprise a self-sustaining city.
Monday, March 4, at 6:00 p.m. found me at the City Academy class at City Hall, telling the class members what it is like being on the council and what my duties are. If you have never taken the City Academy class, I urge you to do so. I took the class even before I was a councilmember and learned a lot. Ruby Sitea runs the class, the HOA Academy and many others, and she does a great job. The best part is all of these classes are free. For more information, please contact Ruby Sitea at 623-222-3242.
Tuesday, March 5, was of course our council workshop at 4:00 p.m., followed by our council meeting at 6:00 p.m. when action is taken. Sometimes the council goes into executive session meeting, all of which can make for a long day.
This time of the year, leading up to our final vote on our city’s budget, we have many meetings on various parts to break down the total budget. On Wednesday, March 6, I was in just such a meeting. We, as a council, need to know what departments need funding and how much. The recommended budget is scheduled for release this month.
To my friends at Surprise Farms III, thank you for your invitation to the HOA picnic. We had a good time at your beautiful HOA park, and I extend my thanks to your community manager Santos, your board president Mark Novak, Vice President Ray, and the rest of the board: Delilah, Mark Miller and Jerry. Next time you have a get together, let me know ahead of time, and I will make sure the police and fire show up. My best to all the residents at Surprise Farms III for a great day on Saturday, March 9.
On Monday, March 11 at 10:00 a.m., I was at the Cimarron Center in Sun City Grand for some more community outreach meetings to ask you, the residents, what would you like to see in our downtown near City Hall. We have been getting many good ideas for that piece of land. The city’s development partner has hired a designer to make up a master plan. This council is determined to plan and build our city downtown led by our Mayor. Scott Philips, who represents the city center land owner, has been working very hard at these community meetings and there will be more, so let’s attend these meetings and tell us what you would like to see.
Tuesday, March 12, I was at the Benevilla Appreciation Brunch for their annual recognition to their benefactors. The Arrowhead Lexus Dealership won the business leadership award and Birt and Louisa Kellam won the Bill Wolfrey Award. Birt had a restaurant named after him, “Birt’s Bistro”, maybe you have heard of it.
That same afternoon I had some more meetings on our 2019-2020 budget which took me well into the afternoon.
On Tuesday, March 14, I found myself back at the stadium to meet the folks from Hines, a developer that Economic Development is encouraging to consider Surprise for future investment opportunities.
On Saturday, March 16, I was invited to a HOA picnic by my friends in the community of Desert Oasis at their own HOA park, and it was a very nice day (little windy, could not keep my hat on). It was a great reception and there were good hamburgers. For those of you who don’t know where this community is, take 163rd off of Grand Ave and go North. There are many new homes going up there. While I was there, I visited our new Dollar General store that just opened, and I talked to a number of residents up there, and they like the new store. They were so happy that there is finally a store close by.
March 19 at 4:00 p.m. was our workshop, which was followed by our council meeting at 6:00 p.m.
On March 20 at 4:00 p.m. I had a ribbon cutting at a new business, Avenir Behavioral Hospital, located on Parkview Place. The Mayor was also there. The owner of this facility has several others in Surprise.
On March 21, I was at my Valley Metro Board Meeting in Phoenix, which I attend monthly. We want a seat at the table so we can have some kind of transit in Surprise, hopefully sooner than later.
That same evening, I was back at the stadium to meet some possible investors.
On March 26, I had a meeting with 5 members of the Surprise Youth Council. We discussed their goals and their future education plans. All of the members seemed mature and were very much aware of what they wanted to do and what they had to do to get there. We talked for over an hour. The future seems to be in good hands.
That same night, I had a meeting at St. Clare of Assisi Catholic Church in Surprise with another great group of youth, Pack 40 of the Cub and Boys Scouts. It seemed that day was my day to interact with the young people. The scouts had an endless list of questions and some of them were working on their civic badge, so they had many questions about the city. A great time was had by all, even the scout leader.
Wednesday, March 27, I attended a ribbon cutting at Rise. I was called upon to say a few words as Vice Mayor. It is located at 18640 N Parkview Place. They have day programs for developmentally disabled residents. I observed a very caring group of people working there. Their motto is “Creating opportunities for and with people.” For more information, please call 480-430-4546.
Right after the above ribbon cutting, I attended another one at Ottawa university, which is located across the courtyard from City Hall. This ribbon cutting was for SpotRX, a new prescription station, and I was please to share this experience with some of my colleagues.
Thursday, March 28 found me at the Radisson Hotel for an update on the Desert Diamond Casino in Glendale. This should be completed in approximately 240 days, and we all can’t wait for that day! Once I left the update, I went to another budget meeting back at City Hall.
To finish off March 28 was our State of the City Address and celebration of the City Hall building which reached 10 years. The State of the City was great, and if you missed it, it is televised on Channel 11 and also on the internet at www.surpriseaz.gov/SOTC. It was a great celebration and every director from the city, and many employees, did an amazing job. Kuddos to our Mayor for thinking out of the box. A State of the City should be enjoyed by all the residents of Surprise and the residents should be able to participate in the celebration free of charge. I think the citizens of Surprise were surprised! What a way to finish the month!
Before I close, I would like to inform you that the Dick McComb dog park lights project has a projected finish of mid-May. This is perfect timing for our spring and summer nights.
The 163rd Avenue and Jomax Road project will deliver the full design and construction of the ultimate intersection at this location. This includes storm water and drainage improvements, traffic signals, street lights, sidewalks and landscape. The project also includes two 500 foot lanes in each direction on Jomax Road and three 500+ foot lanes in each direction on 163rd Avenue.
Additional widening projects on 163rd Avenue are being planned adjacent to the areas being developed and will occur at the same time as those properties are improved.
In closing, I thank each of you for your continued support. Be good to yourself and be good to each other.