Well a big shout out to my constituents in District One, and indeed every resident in this great city in which we are lucky to live in, and a happy and safe New Year to all.
This year, of course, will be remembered by everyone for the challenging times, the pandemic, people being laid off, economic down turn, and of course the terrible loss of many lives.
In spite of all we have been through, District One has opened a library, finally got a traffic light at 163rd and Jomax Road, we have a new fire station at 163rd Avenue, and started making all the necessary improvements on Greenway Road, including a needed traffic light at Northwest Ranch Parkway and Greenway Road.
The City of Surprise as a whole managed to get Costco, an Amazon Distribution Warehouse, soon to be condominiums in City Center, and all of the road improvements have been accomplished thanks to the residents voting for our Bond three years ago.
I am excited for my friends in the northwest part of my district. As I said last month, not only is a Fry’s going in at 163rd Avenue and Pat Tillman Boulevard, but also a little shopping area. A QT gas station is also going in at 163rd Avenue and Grand Avenue.
On Saturday, December 5th, the council took part in Shop with a Cop at Kohl’s Department Store, sponsored by the Mavericks, to give needy children a chance to shop for themselves or others. This was our first time participating and it went really well. We hope to do this effort every year with the Mavericks. Much thanks for our men and woman in blue for helping the kids that day.
On Tuesday, December 8th, the Boards and Commissions Nomination Committee met to fill some openings on our various commissions. We did find some folks to fill these chairs and the meeting was over by 7 p.m.
On December 16th, one of my constituents wanted to donate some money to the police toy drive for the kids, so I met him at the Police Station and Chuck Collins gave them a check. That was very nice of him to make a joyous Christmas for so many deserving kids.
There are going to be some big changes in January in our leadership in Surprise. Mark Schott, our Assistant City Manager, is retiring and our police chief, Terry Young, is being moved to the fourth floor at City Hall to be our new Assistant City Manager. Geoffrey Leggett (our Assistant Police Chief) will be the Interim Police Chief, pending a recruitment process. On top of all of that, we had a new councilmember start on January 5th, District 2 Councilmember Aly Cline.
I am very optimistic about 2021. We will finally get a handle on this terrible pandemic now that we finally have the vaccine. We just need a plan to get it into people’s arms, and then the economy will follow. Take care my friends
A big shout out to the residents of this great city we live in. Not much really new, except for a few things this month. As you know, we are still shut down at City Hall for public access. Beginning with our December 1 Work Session and Council meeting, no members of the public will be allowed in the Council Chambers, however, the meeting can be seen live on Channel 11 if you have Cox, or on your computer at www.surpriseaz.gov/surprisetv or the city’s Facebook page. This will hold true until further notice.
It looks like we may have a vaccine for this terrible virus by this month. We are all very happy to see this, I am sure. We all need to keep doing what we have been doing, and hang in there with the face masks, washing our hands often, and the social distancing, so we can all be here to get vaccinated.
As has been happening for the last nine months, I have been attending most of my meetings via Zoom and telephone, and like most of you, I am getting COVID-19 fatigue.
We had our meeting of the Board and Commission Nominations Committee, of which I am the Chair, on Monday, November 9th. We do have some vacancies on the Arts Commission, Veterans, Disability, and Human Services Commission, and the Audit Committee to name a few, so if you have some extra time and would like to help the city, you can apply to volunteer for one of the commissions by calling the City Clerk’s Office at 623.222.1200 or visiting surpriseaz.gov/boards.
We changed the date of our first Council meeting in November to the 2nd because of Election Day. In spite of these challenging times, we in the Surprise City Government, are pushing forward with many permits for development, including commercial.
I am so proud of our Economic Development Department, headed up by Jeanine Jerkovic. Jeanine and her team do a great job getting all kinds of commercial construction in Surprise.
To all my friends in the northwest part of my District (District 1) I want you to keep an eye on the corner of 163rd and Grand Avenue. I can’t say too much about it because it is still under development review. I am doing all I can to get more commercial development in your neck of the woods.
A note to the folks in Northwest Ranch. We are finally getting to improving Greenway Road, so there will be construction in the area, and yes, some dust; but when the widening of Greenway Road is finished, you will have a fully functioning traffic light at Greenway Road and North West Ranch Parkway as well as straightening of Greenway Road near the 303. So, hang in there, and I ask for your patience during the construction.
The best news this month is that a grocery store is finally coming to my friends in the northwest part of my district. It’s official, the new Fry’s Asante Site Plan has been submitted for review at the Northwest corner of 163rd Avenue and Pat Tillman Boulevard. Plans for this new shopping center show a large Fry’s store with a pharmacy, gas station and some retail stores so our hard work and prayers paid off.
I want to take a minute here and thank all the citizens of Surprise for voting for the G.O. Bond in 2017. We are reaping the benefits with all of these beautiful new roads and repairs for some.
On Thursday, November 19th, I was in attendance at my monthly Valley Metro Meeting. I have been representing Surprise on the Board for two years now. When the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) and Valley Metro decide to start moving toward Surprise with some transit, someone must be at the table.
On Monday, November 30th, the Council was at the Christmas Tree in front of the stadium to light our tree as part of this year’s virtual Surprise Party. Our Communications Department is making a video to be shown, starting December 4th at 7 p.m., and replayed throughout the holidays. You can view it at surpriseaz.gov/surprisetv and see all of the Surprise Party details at surpriseaz.gov/surpriseparty. Because of COVID-19, this Christmas Season will be a little bit different.
Well, I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and happy holidays, and remember, be good to yourself and be good to each other.
Hi and a big shout out to all my friends and neighbors in this great city we have the good fortune to live in.
Let’s start off this month with some great news. I just got the word a couple of days ago that Amazon is coming to Surprise. Their facility will be located at the Rail Plex, have a 145,000 square foot building and hundreds of jobs to be filled. I must give our Economic Development Department kudos for a great job. Director Jeanine Jerkovic, Manager Mike Hoover, Kris Cassens, and many more worked many hours to bring this project to fruition. Good Job Everyone. News like this is especially uplifting in these times of campaign rhetoric saying that Surprise doesn’t get the big companies for the head of household jobs.
I would like to continue with some more good news. On Thursday, July 9th we did a groundbreaking for the Kansas City Royals living quarters right across the street from the Texas Rangers building. Of course, because of COVID-19, we had to do things a little differently, with only a few folks digging dirt, but we did take individual photos of the council with a golden shovel in their mask. This moment was in the works for nearly 10 years.
Just a note to my constituents in the North-West part of my district, I hope you are pleased with the improvement in the area; like widening 163rd, sidewalks and curbs, your new firehouse, and the traffic light at Jomax and 163rd. This area is being transformed.
I hope you all are wearing your masks and/or staying home when possible. As always take care of yourself and take care of each other.
Well, another big shout out to my district friends, and everyone in this great, and growing city that we all have the good fortune to live in. February started off with a bang, and you found me at the ribbon-cutting for our third library in Surprise. The Asante Library is a beautiful building in the northwest part of Surprise and Saturday, February 1st was a great day, for all of Surprise, but especially for residents of that part of the city. We not only had the mayor and council there, but Congresswoman Debbie Lesko and Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Clint Hickman also attended and said a few words. Plus, mother nature gave us a beautiful day.
On Monday, February 3rd, the council was at the ribbon-cutting of another new restaurant at 13621 N Litchfield, right next door to the AMC Theater, called the Amigo’s Mexican Grill. It has great ambience and is very spacious. We had a sampling of their food, and it was very good.
Of course, we had our workshop and council meeting on Tuesday night. On Wednesday, February 5th I was at the main Library on Bullard to judge a bookmark contest painted by many school children throughout Surprise. We had some tough choices for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.
On Thursday I had lunch with several employees from Total Ride to discuss some problems still existing in the Ride Choice program that many Surprise residents use. I talked to the vice president and two managers, so maybe the suggestions I offered will be followed.
The mayor of Buckeye invited me to his tent at the Buckeye Air Show. It was great, I didn’t even know Buckeye had an airport.
On Friday, February 14th, (Valentine’s Day) we checked out the Senior Center on Hollyhock St. and our seniors were having a good time at their Valentine’s Day Luncheon and Dance.
That same night, I had my meeting at the Arizona Traditions Community Center with a good turnout.
Tuesday, February 18th was our workshop and our city council meeting where we take action. At this council meeting, we were all awarded a beautiful plaque from an engaged resident, Glen Klitzca and his wife. I was very surprised, honored, and grateful to receive that recognition.
On Wednesday, February 19th, I was invited to the grand opening of the Desert Diamond Casino on Northern Ave in Glendale. It is a very large and beautiful casino. The same evening, I went to a meeting at the Sun Down School in the northwest part of my district to listen about the plans for another development up there. No citizens were present.
Thursday, February 20th was the day of my Valley Metro meeting. We had a workshop at 10:30 am and a meeting at 1 p.m. We heard about some projects underway, voted on some motions, and held an executive board meeting on extending our CEO’s contract.
Friday, February 21st was a busy day for grand openings and ribbon cuttings, we had one at Ottawa University to celebrate the completion of the athletic building, as well as the dorms and student union.
Dr. Tyner and his people at Ottawa continue to amaze me as they grow, not just in brick and mortar, but as a student body.
The other ribbon cutting was the Texas Rangers’ Player Housing Facility, which allows them to stay together rather than in hotels. It is a beautiful building.
Saturday, February 22nd you found me at the 304 Fire Station, up on 163rd Ave. It was cold and raining that day, but there was still a lot of visiting. I think the firefighters up there are anxious to move into their new digs. It is certainly going to be a large new station.
As many of you know, Surprise is a dementia-friendly city, and the mayor and I had a meeting on Monday, February 24th with Keren Montandon, Vice President of Operations for Dementia Education and Cure. Also in that meeting was Brian Browne, the President of Dementia Education and Cure. I have had some inquiries about how to contact this organization. Their phone number is 1-888-317-5559. So, if you are taking care of someone with dementia, they can help you.
Tuesday, February 25th, there was a breakfast meeting at West-MEC, on Grand Ave, for the mayors of Surprise, Youngtown, and El Mirage, to talk about their citizens and tell the audience how they have dealt with some issues. That same day, I went to the Massing of the Colors, which took place in the Palm Ridge Recreation Center on Deer Valley Drive in Sun City West. A very patriotic program with several different organizations displaying their flags.
On Wednesday, February 26th, I was at a Ribbon Cutting for De Boa Jiu Jitsu Studio, 14763 Litchfield Rd., near our movie theater. The owners are Leslie and Andrew Gardineer, and they are going to have a very successful business. Good luck to the Gardineers.
We had a groundbreaking on Thursday, February 27th at Heritage by Asante, in the northwest part of my district, 24490 N 173rd Lane. That same afternoon, we had a flag ceremony for our Assistant Fire Chief Johnston, who is retiring. It was a real nice ceremony, and the flag was given to him. Have a great retirement, Daryl.
That same night, I went to a Chamber of Commerce networking event at Bud Kramer’s Western Trails Ranch out on Grand Ave in Morristown; Dillon’s now owns it. It was a nice event and a nice night out there.
Friday, February 28th found me at Surprise Stadium for a Spring Training luncheon with our business leaders. This was organized by our Economic Development Department to keep our lines of communication open with them.
Well, that is it for this month, I will talk to you next month. As always be good to yourself and be good to each other.
Well, here it is already February. A big shout out to the residents of this great City of Surprise. The weather has been cold, and I am hoping for the warmth to come soon. The first month of the decade started off busy, and it’s not going to slow down. I started this month at a meeting with a developer who wants to bring additional businesses to Surprise.
On Tuesday, January 7, we had our Council Meeting with a full agenda. On January 10, I had my monthly meeting in the Arizona Traditions Community Center with a great crowd of residents.
On Monday, January 13, I welcomed Quick Quack Car Wash to Surprise. They are going to be located near the movie theater on Litchfield Road. This is Quick Quack’s first car wash in Surprise, but they have six in Phoenix, one in Buckeye and one in Tolleson. Their corporate office is in Sacramento, California. It was a cold morning with Councilmembers Hayden and Remley in attendance, along with many Quick Quack employees.
Wednesday, January 15, you found me at the Governor’s State of the State Address, which was very well attended. The Governor has plans to invest more money in education this year. Afterwards, I was in my office meeting with our new Transit Director, Kristen Taylor. She will take over once David Kohlbeck retires in the coming months.
On Friday, January 17, I attended the Tourism Fund Subcommittee meeting, as I am a member. We discussed what events can be brought to Surprise.
Saturday, January 18, I was at the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Celebration and Service. Starting with a breakfast in the courtyard, the day was full of volunteers all working together for the greater good of Surprise.
Our second Council Meeting this month was on January 21. Council celebrated a ribbon cutting at Toll Brothers Sterling Grove on January 23. Sterling Grove is an upscale community with homes starting over $300,000 and going up to over a half-million dollars. They have about 13 models open at this time. They offer some beautiful homes with a great golf course.
On Friday, January 24, I was treated to a wonderful tour of Valley Metro. The tour included three buildings as well as the entire transit company. I want to thank the CEO Scott Smith, Pat Dillion, Hillary Foose and all the folks who helped put on the tour.
The Surprise Pops Band is back for another season at The Vista Performing Arts Center on Parkview. Their concerts are every other Sunday and are very entertaining, as well as relaxing. The cost is only a couple of cans of food.
On Monday, January 27, the Mayor and I attended a meeting at Happy Trails with a large turnout of residents to hear a lecture from Brian Browne about Dementia and Alzheimer’s. Brian is very knowledgeable about the disease. The City of Surprise has become a Dementia Friendly city, helping to care for people affected by this terrible disease. We will meet with Brian in the future to see what other ways the city can help.
On January 28, I was in Scottsdale to help One Step Beyond celebrate the grand opening of their fourth campus in Arizona. Their Surprise campus is located on Reems Road. They have many programs for adults who are developmentally disabled, including assistance with finding employment.
On January 29, I attended the Breakfast with the Mayor event, which is a prayer breakfast led by the city’s pastors and ministers at Ottawa University. This partnership with Ottawa has been a great relationship for both parties. That same day I was at the groundbreaking for our new apartment complex, being built on Greenway Road and Civic Center Plaza by Sparrow Construction. Sparrow is an Austin, Texas corporation that plans on building several products in the Valley. This is their first venture in Surprise. This apartment complex, with two buildings, will be age-restricted and our first residential property in the downtown area.
On Thursday, January 30, I was at my Valley Metro workshop in Phoenix at 10 a.m. followed by the meeting where we take action at 11:15 a.m. Some of my Valley Metro meetings take up my whole day. The last day of the month was the icing on the cake when we had the grand opening and ribbon cutting for Spencer’s Place. This coffee shop is a great place where young adults with developmental disabilities can find a job and be productive citizens of Surprise. It’s a dream come true for Karin and Chris (Spencer’s parents) who worked tirelessly to open this coffee shop. Karin was a special education teacher at Valley Vista High School for many years and a number of her former students now work at Spencer’s place. From all of Council at City Hall, we wish you much luck in this new business.
So, for now, I say so long until next month. Be good to yourself and be good to each other.
Well, I can’t believe once again another month has gone by, and we are working on the last month of the year. I sure hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving with family and friends and that you are looking forward to the holidays.
November started off with the opening of a nice new restaurant, called Bonfire Craft Kitchen and Taphouse, located at 15332 W. Bell Road. The ribbon cutting was held on November 1 and the owner, Dave, and all employees were great. I wish them good luck on their new restaurant.
On Saturday night, November 2, there was a tailgate party at the Ottawa University football stadium. This celebration took place before the last regular season game and was sponsored by One Step Beyond and Charles Collins, one of my constituents. We had a great time with hotdogs, hamburgers and all that goes along with that. A big shout out to all of those who helped make this a success.
Sunday, November 3, found me at the Bell Point HOA Picnic on 184th Ave. and Legend. Many residents were there including my friend Lee Daniels. They are getting ready for all of the new neighbors that will soon be on Bell Point as soon as the development goes vertical.
On Monday, November 4, I was at the Friends of the Surprise Libraries meeting for their annual officer elections. The meeting was held in the Northwest Regional Library on Bullard Ave. They also have some Altrusa members as part of their organization.
That same afternoon, I was at a new rehab hospital grand opening located at 15150 W. Mondell Road. It is a beautiful facility and the folks were also very nice.
Of course, November 5 was the first Tuesday of the month and the evening of our Council Work Session followed by the Council Meeting, where action is taken.
Thursday, November 7, was WESTMARC’s Best of the West annual awards dinner celebration at the State Farm Stadium. Our Economic Development team has previously won an award, but this year, others were recognized.
On Friday, November 8, Canyon Ridge Elementary School put on a nice event for our veterans in their outside courtyard. Christopher Raso does a great job with these events, and I thank him for his continued efforts.
Following the Canyon Ridge event, I came to City Hall to help Linda Stevens celebrate her 25 years of service to the City of Surprise. Congratulations Linda, and here’s to many more years.
That same evening, I held my monthly meeting at 7:00 p.m. in the community center at Arizona Traditions. I would like to thank Neal and his team for reserving that spot for me every month.
Monday, November 11, was a great day for the City of Surprise, not only because it was Veterans Day, and we had a great celebration of our veterans with our beautiful parade, but also we cut the ribbon to our latest memorial to another great American, Brian Mancini. He was a true hero who served on the battlefield as a medic when an IED hit his vehicle. The memorial is located behind the library on Bullard, by the lake. It is a beautiful space to sit and reflect.
Tuesday, November 12, was a breakfast for leaders of the local area at Marley Park Heritage Hall. Following the breakfast, I headed to City Hall for the retirement ceremony of Ruby Sitea. The last stop of the day was a ribbon cutting for Vein Envy.
On Wednesday, November 13, we had another grand opening and ribbon cutting at Ugly Tuna Sushi, 15459 W. Bell Road. Daniel and his wife are the owners and their whole team treated us great. The entire council was there to welcome them as well as taste their great food.
On Saturday, November 16, we visited Fire Station 303 at Cotton Ln. and Greenway Rd. This is the start of the Fire Station Open Houses where you can visit the stations and meet the firefighters. There are two in my district. Check the city calendar at www.surpriseaz.gov for future dates.
We had another ribbon cutting on Monday, November 18 for the Surprise Health and Rehab Center at 14660 W. Parkwood Drive. We just keep on growing!
That same evening, I was off to Phoenix to join my colleagues on the Maricopa County Human Services Commission. This group aims to give a helping hand to the folks in our county that are less fortunate than most. We, unfortunately, have more people that you’d think living below poverty level.
Tuesday, November 19, I was in a meeting with our finance team concerning some possible amendments to our budget. After that, I went to my Board and Commission Selection Committee Meeting. The committee reviewed some changes to bring to council to consider relating to the Veterans, Disability and Human Services Commission.
Wednesday, November 20, was yet another day for a ribbon cutting at the second location for Richi’s Diner at 17221 N. Litchfield Road. Liza and her team were very gracious to all of us in attendance. The menu is varied and the diner is spacious. Karaoke happens on Wednesday nights.
On Thursday night, the Mike Nesbitt Show was streamed live from Buffalo Wild Wings on 13882 W. Bell Road. Mayor Hall and Councilman Sanders were guest speakers. If you don’t know who Coach Nesbitt is, he is the Head Football Coach for Ottawa University in Surprise. This year the football team had only one loss in their regular season.
The community manager and the board at Arizona Traditions invited the Mayor to speak in front of the residents in the ballroom on Friday, November 22. Councilmember Hayden and I were present as well. The Mayor went over all of the things happening in Surprise and some things to attend to an almost standing room only audience. He was greeted with appreciation, applause and a couple of kind comments. I want to thank the folks at Traditions for inviting our Mayor to this Town Hall as it has been a number of years since a Surprise Mayor has been invited into this community.
I was honored on Saturday, November 23, to act as a judge at the Chance Shelter Fundraiser “Most Like My Owner” Dog Competition and Fashion Show. It was a very successful event with a great turn out. Audra, Gregg and the entire team did a great job, which raised some much needed funds to build their no kill shelter in Surprise. I want to thank Lew Goldstein, Manager of the Toyota Dealership, for hosting this event for the 2nd year in a row with no charge to Chance Shelter.
On Tuesday, November 26, I was in a meeting with a three constituents, one lady from Bell West Ranch and Mike Gent, our Public Works Director, to discuss plans for bringing back our recycling program. This meeting was asked for by Ro from Northwest Ranch, and I believe most of her concerns and questions were answered. It was explained that we are working on the issue and that it is an issue that many residents want us to solve.
Well, I will close for now and talk to you again at the end of the year. Don’t forget our big Christmas party and tree lighting on Friday, December 6.
A big shout out to all the residents in this beautiful city we call home, and Happy Halloween. Before we get started on what I have done and where I have been in September. I just want to let my friends in Bell Point know that you will be getting some new neighbors, as you probably noticed on the east side of Bell Point. It is going to be called Bell Point II South. They cleaned off all the vegetation and turned the dirt over in two days for some new homes.
Wednesday, September 4, we had a Central Arizona Project (CAP) Dinner meeting and were brought up to speed on the CAP. With Surprise having annexed about 200 acres in the northwest part of my district, the CAP now runs through Surprise.
We had our Council Meeting on Thursday, September 5 due to the holiday. That morning, I was at Rio Vista Park in Peoria to see the Vietnam Moving Wall that stayed there for three days. That is quite a sight.
On Saturday night, September 7, Council attended the Ottawa University game at their home football stadium on Tierra Buena. If you have not seen the football stadium yet, it is worth the trip over there. Who would have thought that Surprise would have their own football stadium with press box and the whole nine yards?
Monday, September 9 found me at the groundbreaking ceremony for Fire Station 304. This Fire Station is located on 163rd Avenue in the northwest part of District 1. It will be the largest Fire Station in Surprise when finished and will replace the temporary station, which has been in use for 17 years. Our firefighters and our residents in that area deserve a permanent fire house.
Then, I was off to a Chamber of Commerce Luncheon Meeting with Congresswoman Debbie Lesko at WESTMEC; that school is really growing. Congresswoman Lesko announced she is moving her office to Surprise from Glendale so it will be centrally located.
Legacy School, near Marley Park, had a wonderful ceremony in honor of Patriot Day (September 11). The ceremony included the Surprise Police Department as well as the Color Guard raising the flag. There were many parents, students and elected officials in attendance.
Friday, September 13, found me at my Friends of the Surprise Libraries meeting, and their latest project is getting a book return deposit built into the side of the new library at Asante Park. This would help residents since they would be able to drive up and return books without getting out of their car. That same night, I held my monthly meeting at the Community Center in Arizona Traditions. I had a discussion with one of my constituents last month, and she told me that since Arizona Traditions is a gated community, she can’t get in. Well, that cannot be further from the truth. When you arrive at the gate, just inform the guard that you are here to attend the District 1 meeting held by Vice Mayor Winters. Everyone is always welcome!
Tuesday, September 17, was Constitution Day. I was at Canyon Ridge Elementary School along with Mayor Hall and Councilman Sanders. Every year, this school puts on a nice program along with the Sons of the Revolution. I ended my night with our bi-monthly Council Work Session and Council Meeting.
I attended the Veteran’s Summit on Wednesday, September 18. This meeting works to get all of the individual veteran organizations to work together. The main project we need to concentrate on is a Veteran’s Hall. This would allow veterans to have a place to meet and gather. That same afternoon, I was on a conference call to discuss our budget.
On Thursday, September 19, I was at my Valley Metro Meeting in Phoenix. Some of the discussion was the fact the residents approved the continuous building of the light rail. That evening, I was at the Post 96 Meeting at the Neighborhood Center in Arizona Traditions. During this meeting, four young men from Willow Canyon High School were recognized for their completion of the NAU Boys State program where they learned about civic engagement. Mayor Hall and Councilmember Hayden were there to support these young men. Thank you to Post 96 for sponsoring this event each year.
Friday, September 20 (my birthday), found me at Gaines Park in the Original Town Site for a neighborhood picnic. The Mayor and Councilmember Remley were in attendance. It was a beautiful day for this event.
On Saturday, I was at the celebration of placing a Peace Pole at City Hall, across the street from the Police Department. This piece of art was donated to the city by the Surprise Rotary Club in collaboration with the Surprise Arts Commission. Thank you to Jay Likus from the Rotary Club for being the emcee for the event. The beautiful piece of art has a friendly reminder on there to be Peace on Earth in four languages. I was able to thank the Rotary Club and the Arts Commission on behalf of Mayor and Council.
Monday, September 23, found me at Dysart Unified School District’s dedication ceremony for Freedom Traditional School. It was certainly a big celebration with many students, parents, staff and elected officials. This school took the place of the old Parkview Elementary School.
That same evening was my Maricopa County Human Services Commission Meeting in Phoenix, and if you remember, that was the night it was raining like crazy. The discussion that night was about people in low income brackets who may have their electricity turned off. The issue was at what temperature does it need to be for the company to not be allowed to turn off power.
The next morning was beautiful with no more rain, and I was at Fire Station 305 to celebrate the donation of a fire truck to Valley Vista Fire Science Program. It was a great event, and the students were also in attendance.
That evening, I attended the Community Outreach Meeting at Asante Prep in regards to the Austin Ranch Development in the northwest part of my district. This community is going to be very nice.
On Wednesday, September 25, we had a nice tour and ribbon cutting for SeaCa Packaging. This is one of our newest manufacturing plants, which brought in 65 phase one jobs. This company is family owned and operated since 1889. If you have a chance, you can read about the wonderful history of the company and family online at www.seattlebox.com/seaca.html.
That same night, there was a special showing of the Peanut Butter Falcon at the AMC Theater on Litchfield Road. This whole event was set up by Charles Collins, a resident who lives in my district who has a special needs daughter. I want to also thank the manager of the AMC Theater for the special showing for those special clients of One Step Beyond, located on Reems and Bell roads. This was a very nice event.
On Thursday, September 26, I was at the Northwest Valley Connect Meeting – mainly to hear what the new Chief Operation Officer for Total Ride had to say. Total Ride is one of the providers for Ride Choice. They are trying very hard to get their act together.
That same day, I had my monthly meeting with our City Manager, then my monthly meeting with Mayor Hall. At 5:00 p.m. I had my last meeting of the day with Kendra Pettis and Joe Bertoletti from Sports and Tourism. This meeting was to kick around some ideas for events in Surprise.
On Friday, September 27, I spend 2 ½ hours at the Dysart Unified School District Main Offices filling out a survey and breaking into groups to learn how to solve problems. That same afternoon was the ribbon cutting for Trimaco, another great manufacturing facility in Surprise. They specialize in paint supplies and will bring lots of jobs to our city. The owner came to this country with very little money but climbed to the top with a very successful company. I got to the ribbon cutting a little early so I was given a private tour of the facility. Trimaco is located at 13600 W. Sweetwater Ave.
My first stop on Saturday, September 28, was the grand re-opening of the Westside Total Fitness Gym with Keith and Julie. They have a great place at 16630 W. Greenway Road. We cut the ribbon in the morning, and I was able to welcome them to Surprise on behalf of the Mayor. Councilmembers Hayden and Sanders were present as well. I wish the new owner of Westside Total Fitness lots of luck.
Also on Saturday, I was invited to the HOA Picnic for Surprise Farms II at the Fire Truck Park. Ervin from our city’s Neighborhood Services team was there, and he is the number one disc jockey of the Surprise Block Party Trailer. This community is making the big change-over to First Service Management Company. The hot dogs and hamburgers were great and so were the residents. I even got a few, “you’re doing a great job” comments, which is always nice to hear.
To wrap up the month, I had a meeting Monday afternoon. It was a very busy month.
A big shout-out to all my neighbors and friends in District 1 and throughout this beautiful city that we are blessed to call home. Happy New Year to you! If you are like me, I can’t believe that 2016 was here and gone in the blink of an eye and now we begin 2017.
While December was slightly slower than most months, I was able to attend a few events and meetings as well as meet with some of my constituents. I began the month at the Northwest Valley Connect Advisory Commission meeting on December 2 followed by the Christmas tree lighting at the Annual Surprise Party. City Council Members and their families were joined on stage to welcome residents and light the tree. Despite the cold, there was a great crowd of residents that attended the two-day event.
Councilman Skip Hall and I, as Committee Members, attended the Audit Committee meeting on Wednesday, December 7. In addition, this Committee is comprised of residents, employees, and the City’s auditor. Meetings are open to the public and posted on our website. The next meeting is scheduled for March 22 at 3:30 pm in the Council Overflow Room at City Hall.
I attended the “Tech the Halls” Holiday Open House at the AZ TechCelerator on December 8. This event was an opportunity to look at the latest advancements from Surprise’s technology start-ups, including electric vehicle conversions, water desalination and electric skateboards. Since 2009, the TechCelerator has fostered local start-ups resulting in 16 businesses, over 200 jobs graduated and a local Google corporate office. This year, the TechCelerator reached worldwide with its Global Concierge Services program which helps international businesses establish local operations in Surprise and has thus far generated more than 300 additional community jobs.
On December 9, most of City Council and members of the Planning and Zoning Commission visited the new Mattamy Homes Rhythm development in Tempe to look at their new models. The purpose of the trip was to learn more about the project to see if it would be a possible future “good-fit” development in Surprise.
The Human Service and Community Vitality Department hosted their Annual Holiday Party for senior services at the Arizona Traditions Ballroom, December 14. Councilmembers Jim Hayden, Skip Hall and Todd Tande also attended with staff.
The Arizona State Transportation Board, which is responsible for establishing a complete system of state highway routes in Arizona, hosted their December meeting at City Hall on Friday, December 16. I attended the meeting which included discussion on future transportation projects and a summarization of projects that were recently completed including the Bell Road bridge project which was mentioned several times. While Bell Road opened for commuters in November, the entire project, including the ramps connecting Bell to Grande Avenue, is scheduled for completion in February.
On December 28, I attended an outreach meeting at Desert Oasis where we discussed future development north of Jomax Road. Additionally, this year, there will be some new home building along Bell Pointe and immediately outside the AZ Traditions gate along the dam.
New businesses and restaurants have recently opened or will soon open in Surprise including a new car wash near Winco, a new Wendy’s restaurant, Panda Express, Red Line Grill, a new self-storage facility located near the Sam’s Club shopping center, a new Verizon Wireless store, Denny’s restaurant and a new Popeye’s. At a Council meeting late last month, it was announced that Raising Cane’s has plans to build a restaurant near the corner of Bell Road and Civic Center Plaza.
Until next time, please be good to yourselves and be good to each other.
Greetings to all of my fellow District 1 residents and to all the residents that live in the beautiful city of Surprise. So much has happened since my last newsletter – the local elections took place; new businesses have opened or will soon be opening; and my new Council Conversation taping was completed.
August was a full month following the City Council recess in July. I started the month with the grand opening and ribbon cutting of Sun West Credit Union at 14865 W. Bell Road, which is located in Councilman Skip Hall’s District 5. He and I were joined by Councilman Todd Tande as we welcomed this new business to Surprise!
I recorded a new Council Conversations show on August 9 that features an interview with Friends of the Surprise Library. Alyson and Gary Cline have done a fantastic job supporting literacy and programs in Surprise at the Northwest Regional and Hollyhock Branch libraries. Friends of the Library is a local non-profit organization that accepts gently-used books and magazines, so if you have any that you would like to donate, please do so. You can bring them to the Northwest Regional Library at 16089 N. Bullard Avenue. For more information on this wonderful organization, you can visit www.friendsofthesurpriselibraries.org.
The Maricopa Association of Governments hosted an “On the Move Early Phase Open House” on August 11. The Early Phase Input Opportunity was an opportunity to speak to regional planners about projects that are important to us. I wanted to ensure they knew Surprise is still here and that we NEED reliable and established transit!
I hosted my regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Friday, August 12. A few items were brought to my attention, including trees on the north side of Bell Road near Happy Trails. Public Works Director Mike Gent, Assistant Director of Community Development Chris Boyd and I worked together to get the issue expeditiously resolved. A big thank you also needs to go to the staff that did the dirty work of cutting and grinding the trees. This is just a little example of teamwork and the high caliber of folks working for our residents!
The Audit Committee met on August 17 at City Hall. Councilman Skip Hall and I sit on the Committee. I want to remind everyone that the Audit Committee meetings are open to the public, and you are welcome to attend! The next meeting is scheduled for November 16 at 2:30 p.m. in the City Council Chamber Overflow Room at City Hall.
The Committee on Community Outreach, Partnerships and Grants met on August 18 to review grant applications for this year’s Surprise Community Outreach Program(SCOP). Councilwoman and Chair Rachel Villanueva, Councilman John Williams and I have seats on the Committee. Staff received 22 applications this year with grant requests slightly exceeding $188,000. Applicants were asked to present their requests to us. The background to their requests were heartwarming and, in some cases, heartbreaking. After listening to the requests, the Committee discussed the funding recommendations which were brought forth to the full City Council. The decision was difficult as the budget for SCOP was $65,000, but we managed to make funding recommendations for almost every applicant. Several factors were considered in our decision process, including how many residents would be impacted by the funds if the grant was approved for each organization. The city is so fortunate to have so many non-profit organizations that help our citizens who are in need, and I consider myself fortunate to be part of this Committee. This is the part of my job I really enjoy, the ability to help so many people and truly make a difference!
The Annual Arizona League of Cities and Towns Conference was held from August 23 – August 26 in Scottsdale. The Conference is a great opportunity to network with fellow elected officials at the local and State level. I attended several break-out sessions and meetings held during my time there. Overall, this was a very successful conference.
On August 29, I attended the Boards & Commissions Selection Committee meeting. The Committee interviewed impressive candidates for several openings on our Boards & Commissions. We really have some enthusiastic residents who want to serve their time and talent to Surprise! As Chair of the Committee, I want to thank Council Members Skip Hall and Rachel Villanueva for all their time and assistance during the interview process.
I joined Councilman Skip Hall at the grand opening and ribbon cutting celebration of Desert Premier Home Realty on Tuesday, August 30. Desert Home Premier is a real estate agency that focuses on homes for sale in the West and Northwest Valley.
Please remember that I will continue to host my monthly meetings on the second Friday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Retreat Community Center in Arizona Traditions, 18250 W. Weatherby Drive. This is your opportunity to voice your concerns, compliments or just to chat. I hope to see you then.
Until next time, please be good to yourself and be good to each other.