Mayor’s eBulletin: October 16, 2015

Right Decisions Today will Benefit City Tomorrow

Surprise is reaching a critical juncture in its young history.

That is because the city faces many tough decisions that will eventually determine our fate as to whether Surprise transforms into a well-balanced community or remains a “bedroom” suburb of Phoenix.

During my tenure as Mayor, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and speak with literally thousands of residents throughout our great city.

The resounding message I continually hear from constituents: a strong desire to move forward on jobs, education and transportation as well as community amenities that will enhance our city’s sustainability in the short- and long-term.

I’m hearing that residents no longer want to be forced to leave their hometown every day and face long commute times to and from work in order to provide for their families. They don’t want their kids to have to move away in order to obtain a higher education. Residents don’t want to be isolated from other parts of the Valley or become immobile due to a lack of transportation and transit options.

I can’t agree with you more.

That is why I’ve been focusing my efforts not only on the present, but also on the future well-being of our city.

This is also why the city has been working with residents on the Bell/Grand Interchange project since 2003. This project, which is scheduled to begin next April, is a “game changer” and will forever transform and better position our city to attract large employers, enhance transportation options and develop the Surprise City Center.

Major infrastructure projects like this undoubtedly create challenges for nearby residents, local businesses and the traveling public. This is normal and expected for such a massive project. That is why city officials are working closely with staff from the Arizona Department of Transportation to have plans in place for traffic management and to mitigate issues and concerns during construction.

Another important project currently underway is the major amendment to the Surprise General Plan 2035. The major amendment focuses on the land-use element to the General Plan, which guides future development in the city.

Why should you care?

Once again, a lot of time and effort was spent working closely with residents in the development and eventual passage of the General Plan by voters. Thus, the plan is your plan and incorporates residents’ values and goals as well as the community’s vision for the future.

Thus, it’s important that any change to the voter-approved plan continues to reflect the community’s values and vision. And, that comes from you – our residents!

The Bell/Grand Intersection and General Plan Amendment projects will significantly foster the maturation process of Surprise. They both lay the framework for the city to continue moving forward on attracting jobs and providing more educational and transportation options to residents.

Now, we need you more than ever to continue helping pave the path for a prosperous future. Just as you’ve been involved in the development of both these projects over the past several years, now is the time to re-engage yourself and stay informed.

You can start by either attending or watching the Council work session and Council meeting next Tuesday, October 20 when these projects will be discussed in greater detail. The city’s Community Development staff and consultant will update the Council on the major amendment to the General Plan during the Council work session beginning at 4 p.m. The Bell/Grand Intersection discussion will be held at 6 p.m. during the Council meeting.

Both meetings are carried live on Cox cable and the city’s website, http://www.surpriseaz.gov. You can also view the meetings “on demand” at a later time on the website.

A lot of time and effort has gone into working closely with residents on what we want Surprise to be when we “grow up.” Let’s keep up the momentum, and together we can keep our city moving forward!