Greetings to all of my fellow District 1 residents!
I hope each of you had a wonderful Easter or Passover. I certainly hope April finds you healthy and that this new season of spring brings a continued optimistic outlook for you, your future and the future of our great city called Surprise.
Last month, we had some very exciting news to share! I assume by now that you have heard about the large Japanese company that is going to call our City home, or at least their Western United States Regional Headquarters. Everyone at City Hall is thrilled to have this company here. Did you know they will be building the highest building in Surprise? This new facility represents a $33-$40 million investment, 100 new jobs and $800,000 of new City revenue within the first year of its operation. IRIS USA’s new 280,000 square foot building will include office, manufacturing and distribution space that will be located on 30 acres within the City’s Southwest Railplex Industrial District. IRIS USA is a consumer products company that sells to retailers throughout North America. They are expected to open in Surprise in December 2015.
The first week of March found the Mayor, myself and several other Council Members in Washington D.C. for the National League of Cities Congressional Conference. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperative too much. We found ourselves in the midst of a snowstorm followed by weather plummeting to the single digits. Due to the inclement weather, the Surprise Youth Council (SYC) never arrived in Washington D.C. They were going to attend the Conference for the youth leadership component. While there, I was honored to meet President Barack Obama and get a tour of the White House, but I was also very happy to return home to our fabulous warm climate.
March was also an intensely busy month for our Economic Development Department. Our wonderful staff invited City Council to attend several events to meet possible new business prospects for our City. We were also provided opportunities to thank our current businesses for their contributions to Surprise.
On March 14, the City experienced another milestone with the groundbreaking of yet another park for our residents. Veramonte Park will soon have additional amenities such as a splash pad, restrooms, a parking lot and much more. Just think – within one month, Surprise went from having one community park to three community parks. Surprise Farms Community Park will have the City’s first skate park, and it’s a great design! I would really like to thank Mark Coronado, Donna Miller and their entire team for such a fantastic job on both of the new parks and for everything they do for all of our residents throughout the year.
The City has reached an agreement with WHAM to allow them to continue to occupy the building owned by the City. WHAM is located at Dysart Road & Grand Avenue. We have had a strong partnership with WHAM, which brings art to our residents and provides art classes to Veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and those with special needs. WHAM’s initiatives represent an amazing organization that is inclusive, not exclusive.
It was a beautiful day for all of our young baseball players on Saturday, March 21. We celebrated Cal Ripken Day at the Surprise Stadium with over 1,700 players! Quite impressive! Cal Ripken baseball is one of the outstanding programs run by our Community and Recreation Services Department.
On Tuesday, March 24, I participated in the Celebrity Reading Day at Canyon Ridge Elementary School in District 1. Dr. Shelley Isai and her team do such a wonderful job at this school and always include me at their events.
The new Human Service and Community Vitality Department hosted an Open House on March 28 at the Surprise Community Center, which is part of the Villanueva Recreation Complex in the Original Town Site. I have attended numerous meetings there. We are planning a Heritage District Overlay for this area to preserve our history. We can move forward in planning the future of Surprise, but we must never forget our rich past and where it all began.
March was a long and productive month. I will close for now, but as always, be good to yourself and be good to each other!
Councilman Roland F. Winters Jr.