Greetings to all of my District 1 residents and all of the fine citizens of this beautiful city we live in called Surprise. November was busy for me and the entire city as we welcomed new businesses and amenities.
I attended WESTMARC’s Best of the West awards at the WigWam Resort on November 5. It was a pleasure to see one of our city’s not-for-profit organizations, Benevilla, win WestMARC’s Best of the West Award for Quality of Life Enhancement. Personally, I have always been amazed at the way Benevilla brings multiple generations together under one roof. We are extremely lucky to have this organization in Surprise as it serves so many of our residents and many surrounding areas. Michelle Dionisio, President and CEO of Benevilla, is an exceptional leader who advocates for our residents and strives to build stronger partnerships with our city.
The Surprise Fraternal Order of Eagles held a ribbon cutting at their new 5,000 square foot location at the AZ TechCelerator. With nearly 300 members from throughout the Northwest Valley, this location provides more than adequate space including a meeting room, a kitchen, an area for live music and dancing and a large social area. Many members of the Eagles assisted with the work needed to get the facility ready for the opening. A big thank you to all of them for their hard work! The Eagles Club is a 501(c)3 organization that supports many charities.
I also attended the Surprise Farms III movie night for the residents. It was an enjoyable, well-attended evening, especially for the young ones who watched the age appropriate movie complete with popcorn.
Councilman Skip Hall and I attended Camino del Sol Funeral Chapel’s United States Marine Corp 240th Birthday and Veterans Day Celebration on Tuesday, November 10. Mr. George Van de Langeryt served as Host Marine for the event. Marine Luke Koerner was the guest speaker.
Surprise Fire-Medical Department held a promotional ceremony for our brave firefighters in the City Council Chambers on Tuesday, November 10. I am proud to say so many received well deserved promotions – 18 in total. Fire Chief Tom Abbott also took the opportunity to introduce our new service employees. As you know, the City now has its own ambulance to serve our residents. We want our residents to have first class service from our first class fire department!
I must mention our city’s very first Veterans Day Parade which occurred on November 11. This event was fantastic, and we will continue to build on it for years to come. There were approximately 70 entries and 4,500 attendees. Staff has already talked about extending the parade route because the front of the parade overlapped with the back end at Bullard Avenue and Paradise. Kudos to Mark Coronado, Community & Recreation Services Director, and his amazing team for a job well done! We could not do it without you!
I’d like to thank Susan DeJong, Chair of the Arts & Cultural Commission, and the Commission members for their hard work putting together the Art Encounter at City Hall the evening of November 12. Not only did residents get a chance to look at the variety of art work at City Hall, they also were given a tour of our building. I was there to give the residents a tour of the Council Members’ offices on the fourth floor, which not many residents get to see. If my constituents are ever interested in a tour, please let me know. The beautiful building belongs to the residents, and you are always welcome to get a tour if you’d like.
I know one of the events that I have been patiently waiting for was the opening of Veramonte and Surprise Farms Parks. The ribbon cutting, attended by the entire City Council, occurred on Saturday, November 14. What a great step in the right direction for Surprise! We know we are behind most cities in the West Valley with regards to parks and open space, but we will get there gradually! It certainly was a historic day in our city as we officially opened our first skate park! I have been a bit disappointed, however, because I’ve noticed litter in the around the park. Please be considerate, and put trash in the provided trash cans.
The community of Desert Oasis hosted a block party on the afternoon of November 14. I am always thrilled to visit with the residents of this wonderful community. A good time was had by all!
Several City Council Members and I joined staff on Wednesday, November 18 for our first annual Safety Appreciation Day. This celebratory luncheon emphasized safety in the work place. We have an excellent safety record with all of our Departments! Congratulations!
The entire City Council attended the ribbon cutting and open house for one of Surprise’s newest businesses, Cobalt Rehabilitation Hospital, on Thursday, November 19. This hospital will be a game changer for our city! The hospital will focus on traumatic head injuries that regular hospitals may not be able to assist with. Recently, Cobalt partnered with Abrazo Community Health Network because of its depth and strong presence in the West Valley and throughout Phoenix. We are very excited to welcome Cobalt to Surprise and wish them the best of success!
The same evening, I attended the Surprise Farms III HOA meeting. I was able to share the latest news with them. They love the new addition – the Surprise Farms Park!
I hosted my monthly Friday Night Chat on November 20. I had a fair amount of attendees, and we were able to have a lively discussion. All are invited to attend my meetings the 3rd Friday of every month at the Community Center in Arizona Traditions at the Retreat.
Before I close my newsletter this month, I want to discuss 163rd Avenue. We all know that the only way into our communities in the northern area of District 1 is this road. I have been exchanging emails with some constituents, and I know this is a very sensitive issue; hence, I would like to elaborate a bit more. The City is aware of our residents’ concerns, but we need developers to continue to build so we can collect impact fees to add infrastructure and roads. A new development, Rancho Mercado, will make some progress towards our goal by contributing funds to construct an exit to the east and ultimately join Happy Valley Road. I know some of you have mentioned Jomax (to the west), but that would go through County land. If anyone would like to discuss further, please let me know.
That is all for this month. I hope you enjoy the upcoming holiday season. Please be good to yourself and be good to each other.
Roland F. Winters Jr.
Councilman, District 1