Happy New Year, Surprise! Reflecting on the last year, I can’t help but feel proud. We had several changes entering 2019. Mike Frazier became City Manager, I was appointed Mayor, Chris Judd began his term as Councilmember for District 6, and David Sanders was appointed to Councilmember in District 5. Everyone worked together, respected each other’s opinions and diligently worked in the best interests of our great City! It was a successful 2019 in Surprise, with many accomplishments that advanced City Council’s strategic priorities – from economic and cultural vitality to community livability and lifelong learning. I want to highlight some of those big moments as we look forward to even more excitement in 2020.
For the thousands of you who told us you wanted a Costco in Surprise, your wish is coming true in 2020! Costco broke ground on a location near Waddell Road and Sarival Avenue in 2019, with a grand opening planned for this summer. Your opinion matters. We work for YOU! Please be sure to let us know what else you want to see come to town when the Surprise Retail Survey comes out in February!
This past year also brought a number of new restaurants, including Ugly Tuna Sushi, Bonfire Craft Kitchen & Taphouse, Richi’s Diner II, Café Rio, Mucho Burrito, Nothing Bundt Cakes and Angry Crab. Plus, in 2020, The Haymaker will open near Waddell and Litchfield roads. You asked for more restaurants, including locally owned restaurants, you got it!
Some of our business wins brought significant job growth to Surprise. This fall, we held a ribbon cutting for SeaCa Plastic Packaging – a 125-year-old, sixth generation family owned and operated company specializing in plastic packaging; and Trimaco opened its new 275,000 square foot operation, which manufactures paint accessories and professional floor protection products. These two companies brought more than 200 new jobs to Surprise! It is important to your City Council to continue to bring head of household jobs. We continue to work on this goal for you. Loop 303 has been instrumental with highlighting the West Valley for economic development. The I-10/Loop 303 corridor is rapidly growing with manufacturing companies; therefore, bringing more jobs to the West Valley and, hopefully, more employment opportunities for you. It is only a matter of time before that growth moves north.
The city is also growing new housing options. More than 1,600 single family residential housing permits were issued in 2019. Much of the growth is in our Northern area where we are building a new fire station and library to help accommodate the population growth; but, there is also a significant project underway in the Prasada area – Sterling Grove by Toll Brothers. This 2,200 home community brings executive style housing to the city with an 18-hole Nicklaus Design golf course, spa, fitness center, pools, tennis and pickleball courts and more. Models will be open in January 2020.
Education was also an important theme of 2019. Ottawa University Arizona (OUAZ) began its third year of classes with 850 students. This fall, their campus in City Center celebrated three building completions – a 300 bed dormitory, a student union, and a three-story athletic training facility that the city will be able to use for recreation programming. West-MEC Northwest Campus is expanding and will soon offer adult certification programs. Paradise Honors continues to grow, and they have recently annexed from Maricopa County to Surprise. We also continue to partner with Dysart Unified School District under the leadership of Dr. Quinn Kellis.
Speaking of education and Ottawa University, OUAZ is bringing an incredible vibrancy to City Center, and we can expect more development to come to our downtown in the coming years. The Texas Rangers are nearing completion of their housing and meeting facility and the new Hilton Garden Inn has opened its doors. Plus, City Council agreed to a Development Incentive Agreement with City Center landowners that brought forward a draft City Center Master Plan focused on walkability, and a mix of housing, restaurants, shops.
This past year was also a time for working on projects that you voted for in the Decide Surprise General Obligation Bond Election. Roads are being built out and buildings are going vertical. Things are really moving! In 2020, you can expect to see work begin on the widening of Greenway Road, the Public Safety Evidence & Readiness Center, a Police Training Facility and Fire Station 308. You can continue to check progress on all of the projects at www.surpriseaz.gov/decidesurprise.
Planning for new roads, schools, hospitals, public safety staffing and more is supported by the data we get from the Census count each decade, so I want to remind you that Census 2020 will begin in March. Check your mail mid-March for instructions on how to respond. It is so very important that each and every one of our residents be counted! An accurate population count attracts federal dollars to fund some of the things I mentioned above. It also strengthens our voice in Washington DC, as the overall state population projections indicate a new state representative in the coming years. Plus, it can help attract new businesses to the city. For the first time, you will be able to take the survey online, by phone or by mail. You can get all of the details on our city website at www.surpriseaz.gov/census2020.
Also in March, I invite you to my 2020 State of the City Address. It will be a celebration of the accomplishments of 2019 and our 60th Anniversary as a city! The event is Thursday, March 26, 6-8 p.m. at Surprise City Hall. Look for more details to come in the next couple of months. I hope to see you there!
Before I close, I just want to say that it’s an honor to serve as your Mayor. It’s the great people of Surprise, like you, who care about the community and take time to engage that make this city so special. Thank you for all that you do, and I look forward to another great year with you in 2020!
Mayor Skip Hall