A big hello to everyone in this great city we call Surprise. I hope you are all holding up in this heat. Of course, most of you know, we do not have council meetings in July, but we certainly have other meetings and things to do.
On Tuesday, July 3, I had meetings with Kathy Chandler, CEO of Northwest Valley Connect; Audra, CEO of Chance Shelter; and the owners of an upcoming coffee shop, Spencer’s Place, to discuss the good work they do in Surprise. I also gave each organization a donation to help carry on their missions.
July 8 at 8:00 a.m. found me at the grand opening of Growing Minds Preschool, 17999 Surprise Farms Loop South. It is a beautiful facility, and the folks at the Dysart Unified School District worked very hard to remodel and renovate the building, which has been vacant for several years. At the ribbon cutting, there were words from Assistant Superintendent Jim Dean, Mayor Skip Hall, and others. I wish I could have been there when the children saw the “village”, which is a huge room made up to be a city, including shops, a fire house, police station, city hall, and more.
On Tuesday, July 9, there was a great turn out at Raising Cane’s for a fun night of Lemonade with a Cop (the lemonade was free). Thank you Raising Cane’s, located at 14385 W Bell Road. I was happy to meet Deborah Luder, one of my constituents who lives up in the northwest part of my district. Chief Young could not make it, but Assistant Chief Geoffrey Leggett was there, along with many others of our finest in blue. Another constituent of mine, Charles Collins, from Surprise Farms II was also there.
Thursday July 11, you found me in a meeting with the folks from the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) with their CEO, Chris Camacho. Most of the councilmembers were there, including our Mayor. Also our Economic Development Department, including director Jeanine Jerkovic, was in attendance. Our economic development team is the best. GPEC helps us to find sites in our city for commercial and industrial business wanting to locate in Surprise. They are a great help.
Right after that meeting, I had my monthly meeting at 2:30 p.m. with our City Manager to go over what is happening in Surprise, and he usually asks how he can help me. It’s nice to have his support. On Friday, July 12 at 10:30 a.m., I was in the Friends of the Surprise Libraries meeting at the Chamber of Commerce building. I have been drafted into the organization since Mayor Skip Hall was elected. As a councilmember, he sat in on these meetings, but now he has his hands full as our Mayor, and it is very difficult to say no to Alyson Cline. Mrs. Cline and her team do a great job making sure our kids are literate by giving books to our schools, helping our teachers, and working with the nonprofit organization Altrusa to make sure every child can read by the third grade.
I want to wish Lynn Peratt a happy retirement. Lynn was our receptionist at City Hall for many years. She always had a smile and was ready to help anyone, including me many times. I told her she could not leave, but she said no. Have a great retirement Lynn, you deserve it.
I had my meeting on Friday night at the Retreat Community Center in Arizona Traditions and had a large showing. I hope I cleared up some confusion with my friends in the northwest part of my district concerning the Lone Mountain Ranch project. That part of the recent annexation process was to bring the acreage of Marisol Ranch into the city so that property will belong to Surprise when the developer starts building. The Lone Mountain Ranch land is not sold to anyone yet, so any development is years down the road.
While I’m on the topic of my monthly meeting, I want to remind everyone that my August meeting will be on Friday, August 9 at 7:00 p.m. in the Retreat Community Room at Arizona Traditions. A special guest, Scott Phillips, will be in attendance. He works with Surprise Center Development Company, the developers of our City Center project. This is a chance to share ideas about what you would like to see in our future downtown. We will have cookies!
Moving on now, I did my Council Conversations television taping on Monday, July 15, and it was a two-part show. First with Sue Larkin of Altrusa International of the West Valley, then part two is with Donna Miller, Director of Parks and Recreation. The show is now running on Channel 11 if you have Cox, or on the city website, https://d1.surpriseaz.gov/2019/07/25/new-council-conversations-altrusa-international-and-asante-library-update/. The first portion of the show focused on reading programs and how involved our city is with ensuing children are able to read. During the second part of the show, I talked to Donna Miller about the new library being built up in my district at the city park in the Asante neighborhood.
Wednesday, July 17 found me at the Community Room at City Hall for a Valley Metro meeting concerning extending the Paratransit program that Surprise has now to the entire Maricopa County area. There are no proposed service changes for Surprise at this time. I went to a similar community outreach meeting in Mesa last month. Even though it is a county project, I felt as a Valley Metro Board Member, and as a Paratransit user, I needed to be there. Our Mayor was also at the Wednesday meeting, along with other Councilmembers.
On Friday, July 19, I had a much anticipated tour of the Asante Branch Library construction site. The Mayor, and Councilmembers Hayden and Remley were also on the tour. I would like to thank Adam with Haydon Construction for doing the work and the tour; and thank you to Jeff, one of our city engineers. It is going to be a beautiful building with meeting rooms and glass walls for natural light.
Monday, July 22, I was in Phoenix at my Maricopa County Human Services Commission Meeting. Maricopa Human Services Department does some good things for people who are not as fortunate as most of us in Surprise. They help people pay their utility bills, rent payments, etc.
Wednesday, July 24, you found me on a tour at the One Step Beyond organization. They do a great job helping developmentally disabled folks get educated, find jobs, find housing, among other things. They are located right here in Surprise on Reems Road. This tour was organized by a constituent who lives in Surprise Farms II, Charles Collins, who has a special needs daughter.
A quick update sent from a constituent on the Dick McComb Dog Park. The lights are installed and working properly. Thank you Donna Miller and the Parks and Recreation team as now I know my residents can enjoy the park at night when the weather is a bit more tolerable.
Some good news for my northwest district residents. The intersection of 163rd and Jomax will begin construction on Phase 1. This phase will include traffic signals and turn lanes. Fire Station 304, which is south of Happy Valley on 163rd, has also begun construction. I appreciate your patience during the construction times and know that this will benefit our residents greatly.
Well, I’ll close my newsletter for August, and will talk to you next month again. Be good to yourself and be good to each other.
Roland F. Winters Jr