Dedication of the Roy Villanueva Community & Recreation Complex. I had the privilege of attending this building dedication on October 4 that was named after former mayor, vice mayor and council member Roy Villanueva. I had the honor of serving on the City Council with Roy prior to his passing last July. He was a great man, husband and father as well as a leader in our community. He was instrumental in enhancing the quality of life for residents living in the Old Town Site and throughout the city.
Surprise Fiesta Grande. This inaugural street festival on Saturday, October 4 was great fun and a smashing success. The day started with the dedication of the Roy Villanueva Community & Recreation Complex and ended with mariachis and other entertainers direct from Mexico entertaining the large crowd of residents and visitors. The event also featured more than 120 entries in the inaugural car show. In total, the city’s Community and Recreation Services Department estimated event attendance at 15,000.
Remembering Vietnam War Veterans. I had the opportunity to attend the closing ceremonies of a traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., which was on display for one week in Goodyear. “The Moving Wall” is a half-size replica that was created by three war veterans as a way to share the powerful experience of visiting the memorial with those who may never have a chance to travel to our nation’s capital. The wall has been traveling around the country for the past 30 years and displayed in more than 1,300 communities.
Surprise Participating in Arizona Age-Friendly Network. Surprise is a community of all ages. Because of this fact, it’s more important than ever the city constantly strives for and leverages new ways to engage our residents of all ages. On October 8, I met with Amy St. Clair from the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) regarding a new initiative. Ms. St. Clair is coordinating a project that MAG is leading called the Arizona Age-Friendly Network. Surprise recently joined the network, and the goal is to connect generations of citizens and strengthen communities in cities throughout the state. To learn more about the Arizona Age-Friendly Network, visit www.Connect60Plus.com.
Community Outreach Initiative. I began holding a series of three community meetings in October to provide residents with an opportunity to discuss important issues facing the city. I kept the meetings small, so everyone had a chance to participate. In total, nearly 100 residents attended my “Community Conversations,” which enabled me to learn firsthand what’s most important to my constituents from a citywide perspective as well as openly discuss how we can make Surprise an even more dynamic place. I plan to hold more community meetings in the coming year.
Water is Essential, Especially in the Desert. Terry Lowe, the city’s director of water resource management, provided my colleagues and I with an update on the city’s Water Master Plan process at the October 21 Council meeting. Mr. Lowe covered such water-related topics as storm water management, state and regional water supplies and the city’s water conservation efforts. Mr. Lowe also informed us of the West Salt River Basin Study currently underway. The study will help predict future projections for water supply and demand as well as analyze how existing water infrastructure and operations will perform with population growth and climate change. The study is expected to be completed by summer 2016.
A Night Dedicated Solely to Neighborhood Safety. I had a fantastic time welcoming large crowds of residents who attended the Surprise Police Department’s G.A.I.N. Night on October 25. G.A.I.N. stands for “Getting Arizona Involved in Neighborhoods.” The event featured the department’s SWAT team and K-9 unit, as well as the Surprise Fire-Medical Department fire prevention unit and its popular trailer. There were a lot of activities for children, and everybody had a great time.
New High School Building at Arizona Charter Academy. The Arizona Charter Academy’s (ACA) new high school building opened this month, and I had the privilege of speaking at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The new, 26,000-square-foot building features 13 classrooms, 2 science laboratories, a beautiful performing arts studio, two conference rooms, administrative offices and much more. The “A” performing school is such an asset in our community, and the faculty and staff there are doing such a terrific job with their 700 students in grades K – 12.