Well we have gone through another year, and a whole new year lies in front of us. I want to wish the folks in District 1 and all the residents in this beautiful city of Surprise a happy and prosperous 2018.
Of course, one of the sad events last month was the death of one of our Councilmembers and friend, Jim Hayden. He had a good heart and was always willing and able to discuss the issues that faced the Council and this city. Jim’s memorial service will be held on January 21 in the Kiva Ballroom in Sun City Grand beginning at 11 a.m. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife Nancy and the entire Hayden family.
There will be a lot of things happening this year in Surprise with the passing of the bond. Streets will be improved, two new fire stations, new Public Works buildings, and the police will finally get a new evidence building. I am excited about the new fire station on 163rd Avenue, in the northwest area of my district. The new station will be moved a little further south of the intersection of 163rd Avenue and Happy Valley Road, which will be a very busy intersection someday. I am also glad that we will be improving Greenway Road at Northwest Ranch Parkway and the alignment of Sarival. The intersection will include a traffic light, so folks will have an easier time entering and leaving the Northwest Ranch community.
I am thankful we finally got around to repaving 163rd Avenue, north of Jomax, for my friends in the northwest part of District 1. In March, the final top coat will be applied.
This new year will also include an election. There will be five seats on the Council as part of the election which will include my District Council seat, as well as Districts 2, 3, 5, and 6. The primary election will take place in August. If you are on the permanent early voting list, you will receive a ballot in the mail.
On Friday, December 1, I was at the groundbreaking ceremony for the next phase of the Desert Diamond Casino in Glendale. The construction is part of the permanent casino being built on the property. When the project is completed, there will not only be a full service casino, but also a resort and hotel.
That same evening, I attended our city’s annual Surprise Party which included the tree lighting ceremony outside the Surprise Stadium on Bullard Avenue and a great holiday party that continued that whole weekend. The celebration gets larger every year, and the residents really enjoy it.
On Saturday, December 2, I joined Councilmembers Skip Hall, Ken Remley and Patrick Duffy at the ribbon cutting for the Port of Subs restaurant. They are located at 14557 W. Grand Avenue. The sub sandwiches are great!
Later that same day, I was off to Fire Station 303 on Cotton Lane to check in on their open house which had many visitors. If you have not visited one of our fire stations, it is well worth your time. After that, I stopped back in to Surprise Party at 8-Acre Park to enjoy the sights and events, especially the car show.
I attended an EPCOR meeting in the ballroom of Sun City Grand. This meeting was part of a series of Community Outreach meetings EPCOR is hosting to explain their plan to apply the costs of repairing their infrastructure over all their service areas, so as to keep the cost down for the rate payers. This meeting took place on December 4, but I don’t know how many more they are going to have before they go before the ACC (Arizona Corporation Commission) for approval. That evening, I was at City Hall for a new art exhibit opening, featuring youth artists.
Tuesday, December 5, I was off to my Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) Economic Development Committee meeting in Phoenix. The committee is made up of Mayors, Councilmembers and business owners, working to bring new commercial and businesses opportunities to Maricopa County. I got back just in time for the City Council Work Session at 4 p.m. and then the City Council meeting.
The evening of Wednesday, December 6, my wife and I were at a holiday party put on by Gammage Law firm in Phoenix. We ran into Alan Jones of Lennar Homes. He was telling me how great the staff in Surprise are and what a pleasure it is to work with them. I also had the honor to talk to Grady Gammage for a few minutes. We talked about how many opportunities are opening up in the West Valley.
On Thursday, December 7, I attended the holiday celebration at our TechCelerator on Bell Road where we give startup companies a chance to succeed with reduced rent, advice, etc. Julie Neal is doing a great job over there. One of our startup businesses was bought by Google.
I went to a ribbon cutting on Friday, December 8 for our newest restaurant in Surprise – Raising Cane’s. What a celebration they had with marching bands, choirs, free chicken and much more. It is good to finally see something going up on that property on the corner of Sun Village Parkway and Bell Road… and coming soon is In-N-Out Burger!
I was at my Northwest Valley Connect Advisory Committee meeting on Wednesday, December 13. We are working on building a consortium of business people, office holders and others interested in getting a reliable source of mass transit in the West Valley, which is underserved to say the least. With the leadership of Kathy Chandler and Bonnie Boyce Wilson, I can see it really happening. We were joined by Representative Kevin Payne who applauded our efforts.
On December 14, I attended the annual holiday party that the city gives to all of our loyal workers at lunchtime. It is great to see the employees relax and enjoy themselves once a year and all the directors served up the food provided by Birt’s Bistro.
I attended the holiday party of our seniors that go to the Senior Center for different programs every day. The celebration took place on December 15 at the Colonnade which is a new venue for the event. What is neat about this party every year is that neither the city nor the taxpayer pays for this. The bill is covered by the money earned through the rental of vendor booths at the city’s Surprise Super Swap Meet, held bi-annually at the Surprise Aquatic Center parking lot.
On Saturday, December 16, the long-awaited new pickleball courts opened up. The date was chosen so the most people could be there, and they were there in force. Jeff Stone, the Surprise President of the Pickleball Association, joined the Council Members in cutting the ribbon. Thanks Jeff for all your hard work in getting this done. It was my pleasure to be there.
On the morning of Monday, December 18, Public Works Director Mike Gent and I took a ride to survey the work done on some of the roads in District 1. As I previously mentioned, 163rd Avenue was repaved. Other roads recently given a layer of asphalt were: Sarival between Bell and Greenway roads; Bell Pointe Road; and some roads in Surprise Farms V. Plus, paved for the first time a number of months ago, was Jomax, east of 163rd Avenue. Then of course, these roads were re-striped. Thanks to Mike and his team for all their hard work.
On Wednesday, December 20, I did a taping of a new Council Conversation show with the city’s Transportation Manager, David Kohlbeck and Public Works Director Mike Gent. If you get a chance to tune into Surprise TV and see it, please let me know what you think. The show is mostly about our transportation systems, such as they are, and the roads in and around District 1.
Many of you know about the other tragedy that took place in our neighboring city of El Mirage, and that was the death of Police Officer Paul Lazinsky who sadly died December 12 in the line of duty. I went to his viewing on December 20 at the Surprise Funeral Care on Bell Road and his funeral service the next day at Radiant Church. There was a 21-gun salute, bag pipes and many other honors and accolades. Officer Lazinsky was buried at Arlington National Cemetery with honors.
Mark your calendars as the Vietnam Moving Wall is coming to Surprise from July 5 through July 9. I have been working with staff for the last year to get this accomplished. We will need many volunteers to help make this a success. If you are interested, please contact Paul Frie at 623.222.2240. More details will follow!
I would like to relate to you a story before I close my January newsletter. Over the last four or five weeks or so, someone who visited me must have noticed my tattered American flag hanging from the front of my home. Well, Christmas morning I woke up rather early and went out in front of my house and someone had left a brand new American Flag on a pole wrapped in plastic standing against the front door. There was a no note or card so I just want to thank you so very much to whoever left it. What a nice Christmas gift and what a nice gesture!
So until next month, I will say goodbye for now. Be good to yourself and be good to each other. To whoever gave me that American flag…thank you!
Roland F. Winters Jr.