Hello to all of my fellow District 1 residents!
I am looking forward to 2015. I just know it is going to be a great year for our City. There are many exciting economic development possibilities that are considering Surprise, and I am excited and honored to be part of it.
December was another busy month for me, but I did get a few days to relax. The City Council held our first meeting of the month on December 2. Mayor Wolcott hosted the Mayor’s Quarterly Business Roundtable on December 3 at the Communiversity. Meg Saligman was a guest at the Roundtable. The Philadelphia-based artist is serving as a consulting artist to Surprise as the City leads the discussion with ADOT and MAG to create a legacy public art project in conjunction with the future Bell/Grand intersection improvement project. Meg Saligman is recognized worldwide for her work on murals. That day, I also attended the Disability Advisory Commission meeting to witness the presentation of their “Above and Beyond” award to some of the Directors at Happy Trails. Happy Trails received the award for their hard work installing automatic opening doors on their community building as well as remodeling a few of their restrooms to make them more accessible for disabled residents and visitors. Congratulations to Happy Trails!
On December 5, I attended the annual Surprise Party tree lighting party at the Surprise Stadium. What a spectacular event it was to see the tree lit and the hot air balloons. If you have not attended this event in the past, I strongly encourage you to do so in December 2015. It was a beautiful night and not as cold as last year.
On Saturday, December 6, after attending some more events at the annual Surprise Party, I was off to the community of Royal Ranch for their block party and holiday celebration. Councilman Todd Tande joined me there, and we were able to meet many wonderful residents. We had a great time!
I was privileged to be invited to the Senior Center’s annual Holiday Party that was held at Arizona Traditions. The Mayor asked if I could give the welcome to the attendees, and I was more than happy to oblige! This luncheon has been held in the ballroom of Arizona Traditions in recent years and as a Board Member of the fine community, I want to extend my personal thanks to our Catering Committee for all of their hard work in serving that delicious lunch to everyone. The Committee’s time and labor was provided at no cost to the City. Thank you!
Our City Manager Bob Wingenroth continues to build a great team to lead our City into becoming an independent, sustainable city. On December 9, we attended a dinner at the Rio Mirage restaurant to meet with Jeanine Jerkovich, the City’s new Economic Development Director. This position is very critical to the goals of the Council, and we are confident Jeanine will lead us to them. Welcome, Jeanine!
On Wednesday, December 10, the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce sponsored an event in the beautiful community of Marley Park to introduce residents to our newly elected government officials and current elected officials. The event was well attended. I was able to speak to our State Representatives and make sure they are aware of the issues that are important to our City.
The annual Legislative Breakfast Meeting was held on December 11 at the Holiday Inn Express. Most of our City’s Directors were in attendance. This meeting was a fantastic opportunity for our State legislators to meet the Council and City staff and discuss the City’s priorities for the next legislative session. One of our newly elected State legislators, Representative Tony Rivero, is a former Peoria Council Member. Representative Rivero is a fine young man and a person of integrity. I was very proud to endorse him during his campaign.
I was honored to be asked to deliver the opening remarks to all the attendees at the Adaptive Recreation and Outreach Tree Party at DreamCatcher Park on Friday, December 12. Joe Gladieux and his team at our Community Recreation Services Department not only did a great job on the party, but throughout the year with all of the programs they put together that our residents truly enjoy. These athletes that participate in Adaptive Recreation don’t dwell on what they can’t do; they focus and concentrate on what they can do!
I attended the Surprise Farms block party on Sunday, December 14. Surprise Farms is the largest community in District 1 with 7,000 homes. I was met with a warm welcome and enjoyed some delicious food. I was able to distribute artist renditions of the planned amenities that will be built in Surprise Farms Park. The ground breaking should take place this month, no later than next month. I’d like to thank Donna Miller and Mark Coronado for those renditions and the information they continue to provide me. I still have copies, so if you’d like one, please contact me or attend my next monthly meeting on January 16 at 7 p.m. in the Community Center at Arizona Traditions (18250 W. Weatherby Drive). I want to thank the residents who attended my meeting in December in spite of the approaching holidays. We had a good turn-out.
A few months ago, I attended the Bell West Ranch block party. At that time, I was asked to judge homes in their community for the holiday decorations. Well, I did it, and it was wonderful. With the help of my wife and daughter, on December 18, we selected a first, second and third place winner. It wasn’t easy as all of the decorated homes were quite beautiful. The Board of Directors provided me with gift cards for those winners that I was able to distribute. My deepest appreciation to Bell West Ranch for allowing me to participate!
On Friday, December 19, I hosted my monthly chat. I really enjoy hosting these meetings, and I’m hoping to see you at my chat in January.
I want to close this newsletter with a bit of good news for those of you who utilize the Surprise Dial-A-Ride. The City has temporarily increased the number of daily Dial-A-Ride trips and expanded service hours. The daily cap for weekday trips will increase from 135 to 140 one-way trips. Saturday service will increase from 20 to 30 one-way trips per day. The expanded services will run through June 30, 2015. Additionally, service hours are being extended for all service days. The new service hours will be Monday – Saturday 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. As a reminder, Dial-A-Ride offers advanced reservations. Certified ADA, seniors and others with disabilities can schedule advance reservations up to 14 days prior to the trip. Same-day booking is available to all other customers based on trip availability. To make an appointment for Dial-A-Ride service, please call 602.266.8723.
At the end of the fiscal year, I will do everything I can to continue the above Dial-A-Ride service within the City’s budget. We will address this topic when our budget discussion for 2016 begins. I would like to thank the City staff for making this expanded service possible for now.
Until next time, be good to yourself and be good to each other.
Councilman Roland F. Winters Jr.