Greetings to all of my fellow District 1 residents and everyone residing in the beautiful city of Surprise. I’d like to begin this edition with a reminder – the Primary Election is this month! With less than three candidates running for each of our open Council seats, the Primary will decide your representation. Independent voters will not automatically be mailed a ballot since the ballot is consolidated to include state and county issues as well. It is YOUR right to vote for whomever you think would best represent you at all levels – local, state and federal, so choose wisely!
As most of you are aware, City Council was on recess in July, but there were many things happening in our great city that continued to keep us busy! The city hosted the 33rd Annual 4th of July celebration at the beautiful Surprise Recreation Campus. The annual celebration is always free with a canned food donation for our needy families. The event would not be possible with the hard work and dedication of Community and Recreation Services Director Mark Coronado and his amazing team. Thank you all for everything you do!
Nick’s Diner II hosted a ribbon cutting to celebrate their new location on July 7. The restaurant recently moved from the northwest corner of Litchfield and Waddell roads to 13765 N. Litchfield Road (southeast area of Litchfield and Waddell Road), near the movie theater.
I attended the Bell Road/Grand Avenue Business Stakeholders meeting on Tuesday, July 12 at City Hall. These meetings are held monthly to keep the businesses informed of the progress of the bridge construction and to address any of their concerns. The construction has most definitely affected the businesses so I strongly encourage you to ShopSurprise and patronize them. We are half-way done!
Speaking of ShopSurprise, important changes have been made to enhance the ShopSurprise digital marketing campaign. With more than 2,000 subscribers and nearly 123,000 messages and deals announced, you are doing your part to support our Bell-Grand area businesses during the Bell Road bridge construction!
The Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce text message service provider, Dex media, has scheduled a service upgrade to keep this successful campaign running. A new feature, coupons sent directly to your email, is now part of the upgrade so you no longer have to click a link. This change will require a new text opt-in number, which will be 85100.
For those already enrolled, you will receive a text from Dex media, over the next couple of weeks, inviting you to re-enroll in the program by texting ShopSurprise to 85100.
Here are all the ways you can check out the daily deals:
- Text ‘ShopSurprise’ (one word) to 85100 to have daily deals sent to your phone;
- Visit shopsurpriseaz.com to view the daily deals online;
- Like the Shop Surprise, Arizona Facebook page and have the deals appear in your timeline; or
- Follow @ShopSurpriseAZ on Twitter to have deals tweeted to you daily.
A Construction Business Access Map is also available online to help you find the best ways to enter the shopping, dining and service centers to claim your deals. This updated map reflects the traffic switch on Grand Avenue, which occurred on Friday, July 29.
The Bell & Grand ShopSurprise daily deals are only available during the Bell Road full closure. The Chamber will consider a more comprehensive, citywide campaign in the future. For more information about the campaign, please contact the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce at 623.583.0692.
The biggest event for me last month as District 1 Councilman was the groundbreaking of Fellowship Square on Wednesday, July 13. Councilman Skip Hall and Council Assistant Jodi Tas were also in attendance. Fellowship Square will be located near the southwest corner of Bell Road and Sarival. They will have 313 apartment homes on 14+ acres in a fully gated community. They will also offer independent and assisted living options. The independent living will consist of 255 apartment homes with 1 and 2 bedroom floorplans. The assisted living section will consist of 42 apartment homes plus 16 suites for memory care. Fellowship Square will employ 80 full-time and 20 part-time employees. They are expected to open in October 2017.
The parent company of Fellowship Square is Christian Care, and John Norris is the Chief Executive Officer. Christian Care has grown to five campuses throughout Arizona making it the largest not-for-profit provider of senior housing and services in the state. I was honored to present Mr. Norris with a Surprise historical book as part of welcoming them home!
I had the privilege of attending a key ceremony for a newly constructed 1,300 square foot home in the Original Town Site on Thursday, July 14. Councilmembers Skip Hall and Rachel Villanueva, Habitat For Humanity CEO Jason Barlow and city staff were also present when the keys were given to Mary Ann Ramirez and her family. This home was built as part of the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, an income-based grant that assists families with rehabilitation activities.
On a personal note, I took my wife to Birt’s Bistro on July 16. We enjoyed some delicious food while listening to some great music from True Memories. If you haven’t been to Birt’s yet, you should consider it. Chef Jeff Amperse is an amazing chef. In addition, every purchase at Birt’s helps to fund Benevilla’s programs and services, providing care for older adults, disabled adults, children and the families that care for them.
The Surprise Police Department hosted a retirement celebration for Sergeant Mike Ferrara on Thursday, July 21. Sgt. Ferrara served our city and protected our residents for 36 years! That dates back to when our city was mostly cotton fields! I enjoyed listening to stories of his career. Thank you, Mike, for all that you have done for Surprise!
Northwest Valley Connect held their Board of Directors meeting at Benevilla. Mobility Services Program Supervisor with Valley Metro RPTA, Arleen Schenck, outlined some of the changes in service contracts for Surprise and the surrounding municipalities. One of the positive changes is customers of Dial A Ride (DAR) no longer need to transfer vehicles when traveling outside the area. If you are ADA certified, the cost is $2.00 for trips within Surprise and $4.00 for trips outside of Surprise. The cost to travel outside of Surprise has increased nearly 220%. I have asked the City Manager for a DAR update at an upcoming City Council Meeting scheduled for September.
Northwest Valley Connect is moving to Sun City in the next few months as it requires larger space but it will continue to serve residents in Surprise.
I attended an HOA meeting at the request of Councilman John Williams on Thursday, July 28. City staff was available to address questions pertaining to traffic – mostly traffic flow concerns on both Greenway and Waddell roads west of Loop 303. Questions also transpired regarding Surprise Farms Park. Two Board Members from Surprise Farms II were present. The city was thanked for the installation of cameras at the park but the credit needs to be extended to City Manager Bob Wingenroth, Community and Recreations Services Director Mark Coronado and Finance Director Lindsey Duncan. These cameras now have a direct feed to the Surprise Police Department.
The month ended with a retirement celebration for Fire Engineer Roman Morales and Firefighter Jim Smaltz on July 29. Both served the city with distinction as proven by the abundance of attendees in the packed City Council Chamber. Thank you for your service, and I wish you both the best of luck and health on your retirement.
I have some fantastic news to share with my District 1 friends, especially my constituents who reside in the northeast portion of my district. Jomax Road has finally been paved! There is finally another way out of that particular area for these residents in Desert Oasis, Asante, Saguaro View, etc. Many thanks to Public Works Director Mike Gent and his team who worked so diligently to make this happen!
One last thing before I close… Surprise Farms Community Park has been named a 2016 Public Works Project of the Year by the AWPA Reporter, the official magazine of the American Public Works Association. What an honor to receive this recognition! Anyone familiar with the park knows what a long road it was to finally realize the dream.
The park, located on the southeast corner of 175th Avenue and Surprise Farms Loop South, won in the category of Structures that cost less than $5 Million and was featured in the July 2016 issue of the magazine.
The recognition is for Phase II of the park, which transformed the existing park to include city’s first skate park; a splash pad; playgrounds with benches (2-5 year and 5-12 years); basketball court; shade structures with tables and BBQ grills; multi-purpose lawn areas; restrooms; parking; landscape; and security lighting. It was completed in November 2015.
The magazine article states, “The park’s inward and outward design is one that instills community pride, encourages environmental stewardship, and exhibits a commitment to valuing each visitor.” I am so proud of the men and women who made this park possible and I’m grateful for the small role I played in it.
As a reminder, I am resuming my Friday Night Chats this month but moving forward, I will be hosting them on the second Friday of each month rather than the third Friday of each month at the Retreat at Arizona Traditions (18250 W. Weatherby Drive). Meetings will begin at 7 pm and conclude at 8:30 pm. I hope to see you there.
I will close for now. Please remember to be good to yourself and be good to each other!
Roland F. Winters Jr.