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January 2021 • Newsletter

Thank you for signing up for Mayor updates. It is my goal to email you a monthly newsletter with information regarding current events and items that may be of interest to you. If there is anything I can do for you, please do not hesitate in contacting me at skip.hall@surpriseaz.gov or 623.222.1313 or 623.451.3975. Also, please feel free to visit my webpage at mayor.surpriseaz.gov. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

Surprise Fine Art & Wine Festival

The 10th Annual Surprise Fine Art & Wine Festival, presented by Thunderbird Artists and City of Surprise, returns January 7-9, 2022. The event will take place 10 a.m.-5 p.m. each day at Mark Coronado Park, 15960 N. Bullard Ave. Admission is $3 and is cash only.

This world-class fine art event features the works of artist Kenneth Ferguson, along with other juried fine artists. The festival allows patrons to view artwork up close and discuss pieces firsthand with creators. Subject matters range from southwest and traditional to contemporary and abstract, including figurative, floral, wildlife, European, African, Native American and more.

Live music and a variety of food trucks will add to the atmosphere of the art arena. In addition to tasty meals, there will be plenty of goodies to satisfy your sweet tooth, including kettle corn, caramels and ice cream.

For more information about the Surprise Fine Art & Wine Festival, please contact Thunderbird Artists at 480.837.5637 or visit thunderbirdartists.com.

Surprise Offers Christmas Tree Drop-off Sites

The City of Surprise offers four Christmas tree drop-off locations for residents’ convenience. The lots are open now through January 18, 2022, at the following locations:

Christmas tree disposal graphic
  • Bi-Centennial Park 16705 N. Nash St. (south end of the parking lot)
  • Surprise Recreation Campus / Youth Baseball Complex 15795 N. Parkview Pl. (across from Valley Vista High School)
  • Dick McComb Softball Park 17894 Westpark Blvd. (parking lot on corner of 180th Ave & Westpark Blvd.)
  • Asante Community Park 16763 W. Vereda Solana Dr. (parking lot at the north end of the park)

Please remove all decorations and place the trees in the designated areas only. There is a limit of two trees per household. For more information, please call 623.222.1900.

Two Martin Luther King, Jr. Events

The City of Surprise is excited to gather with the community to honor the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at our 6th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Celebration & Service on Saturday, January 15.

The public is also invited to join us for an evening of MLK Musical Celebration & Reflections the Wednesday before, on January 12.

Event details:

MLK Musical Celebration & Reflections
Wednesday, January 12, 6 – 8 p.m.
Willow Canyon High School Auditorium – 17901 W. Lundberg St.

Enjoy community speakers, performing artists and groups like Canyon Ridge Elementary School and Gideon Church Choir. Reverend Powell of Gideon Church and others will share reflections on the impact Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had on their lives and the inclusive work that is needed to continue his vision.

MLK Day of Celebration & Service
Saturday, January 15
8:30 a.m. Music & Breakfast, 9 a.m. Program
Surprise City Hall Courtyard – 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza.

Light breakfast will be served to the first 500 guests, starting at 8:30 a.m. The event, starting at 9 a.m., will include Keynote Speaker, Col. Wanda Wright, recognition of the art contest winners, and performances by American Idol Finalist LaKisha Jones, Valley Vista High School, Ashton Ranch Middle School, Gideon Baptist Choir, Arizona Redeemed Choir, Brooklyn Ball and more!

A to Z Polish Market has officially opened!

A-Z Polish Market store front

Located at 17221 N. Litchfield Rd., A to Z Polish market is now open. I want to thank the entire community and Economic Development team for the amazing support and top-notch communication guiding this business through the process at every step. They were so excited to open their doors, so I hope you’ll have the chance to stop by and enjoy a pierogi or two! More info: atozpolishmarket.com

Redistricting Update

The City has already contracted with a consultant for this process, however, due to state law, which does not allow the redistricting process to occur within 6 months of an election, the formal process is anticipated to begin in January of 2023. The IRC issued final state legislative and congressional district maps during the week of December 21. I encourage everyone to visit irc.az.gov to become familiar with the new districts.

2045 General Plan Timeline

The City’s General Plan serves as a comprehensive guide to our future growth and development, and state law requires that all municipalities update the General Plan every 10 years through a public vote of the people.

The City is actively going through the Request for Proposal (RFP) process to solicit a consultant to update the City’s General Plan, with an anticipated contract award in February 2022. The project is anticipated to start in April.

From April 2022 through the end of the year, there will be public outreach, various engagements, data gathering, and analysis. That will help to create a draft General Plan document, which is anticipated by December 2022. You can check out our current General Plan 2035 at surpriseaz.gov/generalplan.

Budget Kick-off

FY2023 Tentative Budget timeline graphic

The City of Surprise FY2023 budget building process has begun. The Finance Department will give a series of presentations to City Council over the next few months. The City Manager will release his Recommended Budget in April, which will be followed by public review and then final adoption of a balanced budget in June. Please stay tuned to the upcoming Council Meetings for the overall development of the budget and upcoming annual process.

Highlights

Fire Stations 304 & 308 Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Fire Stations 304 & 308 Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

December 14 was a great day to celebrate a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for two fire stations built in 2021 – Fire Station 304 in our northern area and Fire Station 308 in southeast Surprise! Thank you to everyone who came out for the event and to all Surprise voters who made these projects possible.

Surprise Party

Surprise Party Tree Lighting

Surprise Party brings smiles, laughs and joy every year, and this year was no exception! Residents enjoyed live music, food, crafts, hot air balloons and more. Thank you to the community for coming out to enjoy yet another successful holiday celebration and to our Parks and Recreation team for all they do to make this event so great every year.

5th Annual Deck the Hock

Thank you to all the residents and Senior Center staff for making Deck the Hock an enjoyable evening. This night brought residents to the Surprise Senior Center for hot cocoa, sweet treats, tree decorating, holiday crafts and even snow. I appreciate these community events and love bringing holiday cheer to Surprise families.

Senior Center Holiday Party
On December 17, I attended the annual City of Surprise Senior Center Holiday Party at The Colonnade, along with a few other council members. This annual event included a delicious lunch and raffles for all to enjoy. Thank you to the Surprise Senior Center and Human Service and Community Vitality Department staff for hosting such a terrific event!

Surprise Literacy Challenge

Mayor Hall and school students

Participation in the Surprise Literacy Challenge has continued to grow in our schools over the past few years. This year, I am pleased to recognize Mrs. Mitton’s 4th-grade class from Luke Elementary and Mrs. Fallon’s 1st-grade class from Countryside Elementary as our top performers! Reading is so important to our students, and I am proud to see the growth this program has brought to the community. Congratulations to the winning classrooms, and thank you to all who participated.

Coming Up

Mayor’s Breakfast with the Pastors
This year, the Mayor’s Breakfast with the Pastors is scheduled for Friday, January 28, 2022. The event is a great opportunity for local elected officials to meet with the pastors of the community and other local leaders.

2022 State of the City
Join me for a video premiere of 2022 State of the City, followed by an outdoor event with a variety of performances and a showcase of City programs and services.

March 31, 2022, 6 p.m.
Surprise City Hall Outdoor Courtyard
16000 N. Civic Center Plz., Surprise, AZ
More details to come!
Watch the 2021 State of the City

Sanderson Ford College Baseball Classic

2022 college baseball logo

The City of Surprise is excited to announce the College Baseball Classic will return to Surprise Stadium as a two-part series event on February 18 – 20 and 24 – 26.Dates, times, and opponents are subject to change. The game times listed are MST. Additional stadium policies, fan safety and health information and policies are available at SurpriseStadium.com.

Plan ahead and book your stay in Surprise! Trip planning is easy when all the resources are at your fingertips! Visit exploresurprise.com for a list of local hotel accommodations, travel itineraries and ideas for your visit! For more information on the tournament, tickets, and additional events, please visit SurpriseStadium.com or contact the Surprise Stadium Box Office at 623.222.2222.

Spring Training Tickets
2022 Spring Training tickets are on sale now at SurpriseStadium.com!

Grab single-game tickets or bundle with season ticket and mini-plan packages for unique perks, savings over the individual game ticket price, choice of the best available seating locations and exclusive access to special season ticket plan holder events and pre-sale opportunities.

For questions or more information, visit surprisestadium.com or call 623.222.2222.

City Council Meetings
As a friendly reminder, upcoming City Council Meetings will be held on Tuesday, January 18 and Tuesday, February 1. City Council Work sessions begin at 4 p.m. while City Council Meetings follow at 6 p.m. We hope to see you there.

December 2021 • Newsletter

Happy Holidays, Surprise! As we begin the last month of 2021, I reflect on this year with a heart full of gratitude. This year has proven to be quite successful for our city. Our future is bright!

Our Economic Development Department wrapped up the fiscal year in July with nearly a million square feet of new development, $165 Million in new capital investment, 875 new jobs and 33 businesses in the midst of the pandemic. In FY 2022, there is so much more commercial activity in the pipeline! Since this summer, the city welcomed several new eateries including SK Lounge, Crumbl Cookies, a new Chipotle drive-thru concept, Toast Craft Kitchen & Cocktails and Over Easy. The city also welcomed several business expansions from Central Garden & Pet and Surprise Comics! Other now opens since this summer include: Surprise Angels (relocation), United Construction Group, Desert Builders, Hajoca Plumbing and Goodyear Chiropractic.

This fall, several new businesses opened: Over Easy, Black Rock Coffee, Muay Thai Jui Jitsu, The Learning Experience Academy of Early Education, Valvoline Instant Oil Change, The Partners Barbershop, Spirit Halloween Store, Sleep Number Mattress Store, a New Friends of the Library location, Mobile Home Depot and “Just Be Youtiful” boutique offering unique local clothing, jewelry & handbags!

I am happy to report that the following are coming soon/newly announced to the City of Surprise:

  • New Restaurants: Puerto Rican Pete’s, Granite Falls Restaurant, Farmer Boys, Habit Burger, Arby’s, Wow Wow Hawaiian Lemonade, Whataburger (hiring 100 new employees!), CBD Coffee Brewed Differently
  • New (second) Surprise restaurant locations for Dutch Bros., Jersey Mikes, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Dunkin Donuts – and many, many more!
  • New commercial projects: AAA Auto, BackFit Health + Spine, Christian Brothers Automotive, Dollar General, EOS Fitness Marley Park, Etico Construction Group, Floor and Décor, Fry’s Neighborhood Market at Asante, Honor Health Urgent Care, Marriott Springhill Suites, Maverick Gas Station, Moezzi Veterinary Urgent Care Center, Pet Supplies Plus, A to Z Polish Market, Surprise Crossing Ace Hardware and a new Quick Trip at the southwest corner of Loop 303 & Bell Road!
Mayor Hall and Vice Mayor Duffy hold up a Whataburger shirt.

And on the big business side, National Indoor RV Centers bought more land to expand their operations; and commercial developers have closed on 81-acres on the northeast corner of Cactus Road and the Loop 303 to build 1.1 million square feet in Class A industrial buildings, with a complimentary retail component along the Cactus Road frontage. This will bring hundreds of jobs to Surprise.

With regards to community development, we continue to experience exponential growth. Looking at residential growth last Fiscal Year:

  • The city issued 2,856 single-family home permits. This is an approximate 38% increase over the same time last year. And, it was a 10-year high for single-family home permits issued.

As we continue to see growth, 2020 Census data shows our city jumped from 117,517 residents in 2010 to 143,148 in 2020. For those of you who participated, thank you very much! Census data helps us better understand the make-up of our community and plan for the future. This data will also give us the information we need to start redistricting our city council boundaries, which we will do in 2023.

As we keep growing housing, we are looking at how we need to grow our infrastructure, like streets, public safety services, and recreation opportunities. Adding parks has been a big conversation this past year. Last December, City Council voted to invest in parks, and land has been identified at Greenway Road and Parkview Place to add multipurpose sports fields. This project provides for more programmable and rental field space, which is becoming a greater need in the city. We worked with a design firm on the park design and recently brought on a construction contractor to help move the project into the next phase. The Community Park at City Center is going through design for multiple improvements as well. This year, we also updated turf, the outdoor volleyball courts, and the lobby of the Northwest Regional Library in this area.

Transportation is also important to growth. As you know, with more people living here, there are more cars on the road. We have made significant progress on our east/west connections over the last year with many thanks to our residents that approved our General Bond a few years ago. Last August, we completed a project adding travel lanes to the north and south half of Waddell Road from the east limit of Loop 303 to Reems Road, and added a traffic signal at the intersection of Sarival Avenue and Waddell Road. Greenway Road improvements, from Cotton Lane to Sarival Lane, are now complete and a traffic light is operational at Greenway Road and Northwest Ranch Parkway.

A new section of Happy Valley Road from 163rd Avenue to 147th Avenue opened in July! This is an important connection for our northern residents, providing a contiguous east-west connection to Loop 303.

Fire Station 308 was just completed at the southeast corner of Litchfield Road and Cactus Road, which will help serve our residents and our growing industrial district.

And while infrastructure is very important to a growing community, so is creating moments to celebrate and remember together. We are incredibly grateful to be able to provide those opportunities to you again after dealing with COVID restrictions last year. Our Veterans Day parade was an incredible success, and I can’t wait to see how many of you will enjoy the annual Surprise Party this weekend!

2022 Redistricting

Redistricting is the process of enacting new congressional and state legislative district boundaries. In November 2000, Arizona voters passed Proposition 106, a citizen initiative that amended the Arizona Constitution by removing the power to draw congressional and state legislative districts from the state legislature and reassigning this task to the Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC).

Every 10 years, following the US Census, the Independent Redistricting Commission’s mission is to redraw Arizona’s congressional and legislative districts to reflect the results of the most recent census. The concept of one-person, one-vote dictates that districts should be roughly equal in population. Other factors to be considered are the federal Voting Rights Act, district shape, geographical features, respect for communities of interest and potential competitiveness.

The state Constitution requires five commissioners – two Republicans, two Democrats and an independent chairperson – to start from scratch rather than redraw existing districts. Of these members, four are selected by the majority and minority leaders of each chamber of the state legislature from a list of 25 candidates nominated by the state commission on appellate court appointments. These 25 nominees comprise 10 Democrats, 10 Republicans, and 5 unaffiliated citizens.

The four commission members appointed by legislative leaders then select the fifth member to round out the commission. The fifth member of the commission must belong to a different political party than the other commissioners.

The Governor with a two-thirds vote in the Arizona State Senate, may remove a commissioner “for substantial neglect of duty, gross misconduct in office, or inability to discharge the duties of office.” The Arizona State Legislature may make recommendations to the commission, but ultimate authority is vested with the commission.

This process began months ago and in early November, the Commission approved draft maps for Congressional and state legislative districts. Maps can be changed based on public comment until December 22.

In the West Valley, a significant portion of Surprise as well as Sun City and Sun City West are divided on the Congressional map between two districts whereas prior to this redistricting, Surprise was only one district (Congressional District 8). Most public comments until this point from residents were to keep these communities together in one district for consistency purposes.

Learn more about the process, public meetings and how to submit comments at https://irc.az.gov/.

Two New Surprise Fire Stations Completed in 2021

Residents are invited to a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony in celebration of two Surprise fire stations built in 2021 – Fire Station 304 in our northern area and Fire Station 308 in southeast Surprise! Tours of Fire Station 308 will be offered afterwards and light refreshments will be served.

The ceremony will be held:
Tuesday, December 14 at 3:30 p.m.
Fire Station 308, 13771 W. Cactus Rd., Surprise
Parking Map

Both fire stations were constructed thanks to voter approval of the 2017 General Obligation Bond.

Fire Station 304, located in the city’s northern area on 163rd Ave. near Happy Valley Rd., was fully completed in January of this year. It replaced a temporary, modular fire station to better serve a high growth area of Surprise that includes the City’s planning area.

Fire Station 308, on Cactus Rd. east of Litchfield Rd., went operational in September and is the first station located in our growing District 6 area. It houses an Engine Company and Hazardous Materials Response Team – an important component due to the station’s proximity to the city’s industrial district. The station is designed to provide training specific to responses to hazardous materials emergencies and also has room for a future ambulance.

As part of City Council’s commitment that one and one-third percent of the budget for capital projects be set aside for art, there are stunning art pieces at both stations. Fire Station 304 displays a 6-foot tall bronze firefighter statue with a mural wall behind depicting a firetruck within an Arizona landscape scene. At Fire Station 308, there are large staggered metal panels with the word “courage” cut out. The art piece pays tribute to the critical operations that occur at the station and the men and women who provide these services.

City Encourages Residents to “Shop Surprise, Shape Surprise”

As you search for the perfect gifts this holiday season, don’t forget that shopping locally helps to shape your community – so, “Shop Surprise, Shape Surprise!” Local sales tax makes up nearly 40 percent of the City’s General Fund revenues. That means by keeping sales tax dollars at home, residents are helping to pay for City services that they count on such as police, fire-medical, park operations and street repair.

Our brand new “Shop Surprise” commercial features some of the amazing folks who provide those important city services. Check it out, here! Plus, while you’re out shopping, check out one of our “Only in Surprise” restaurants. Find a list at surpriseaz.gov/shopsurprise.

I look forward to 2022 and serving you! Wishing each and every one of you a happy and healthy holiday season! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Mayor Hall and dog by the Surprise Christmas tree.

November 2021 • Newsletter

Now that we have turned our calendars to November, we are preparing for our fall traditions and anticipating the holidays. For our city, this month begins planning for our next fiscal year and fairly soon, we will begin the process to update our General Plan 2035.

Council Conversations Show

The overall housing market and affordable housing, in particular, has been discussed at great lengths over the last few months. To help provide insight for residents on the situation, I interviewed Arizona Department of Housing Director Tom Simplot about the current housing status and potential solutions for the state and our city. In addition, I interviewed Community Development Director Chris Boyd regarding the local development process and much more. My latest Council Conversations show can be found at https://surprisetv.surpriseaz.gov/watch?v=k-TZU5dr08w.

2022 Redistricting

The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) is responsible for re-drawing maps for congressional and legislative districts every decade. The Commission was created by voters in 2000 to limit political influence by the legislature in re-drawing congressional and legislative district maps. It consists of two democrats, two republicans and one independent.

The IRC has been hosting meetings across the state as part of a listening tour, and they have been gathering information from the public via their website in order to prepare draft maps. I contributed my thoughts at their meeting in Surprise on October 7. If you would like more information on the process, meetings or maps, please visit the IRC website at https://irc.az.gov/.

Veterans Day Parade

Our 7th Annual City of Surprise Veterans Day Parade will be held on Thursday, November 11. The parade begins at 10 a.m. and will be routed along Bullard Avenue between Paradise Lane and Tierra Buena Lane. It will feature community entries honoring the men and women in uniform who have selflessly served our country.

The morning starts with breakfast from 7:30 – 9:30 a.m. at Surprise Stadium in the centerfield plaza and will feature pancakes, choice of sausage or bacon and breakfast refreshments. Tickets for the breakfast will be sold the day of the parade for $6 per plate and $2 for refreshments (Cash only).

Parking will be available for parade attendees at the Surprise Community Park and Surprise Aquatic Center parking lots, located at 15953 N Bullard Avenue.

In preparation for the parade, the following roads will be closed at 9:30 a.m. and will reopen shortly after the conclusion of the parade:

  • Paradise Lane between Bullard Avenue and Buck O’Neil Way
  • Bullard Avenue between Paradise Lane and Tierra Buena Lane

We hope to see you there!

Sci-Tech Festival

The Surprise SciTech Festival will occur on November 6 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. in the Surprise City Hall outside courtyard at 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza. This free, fun-filled educational event features interactive science, technology, engineering, art and math exhibits and demonstrations. There will also be a variety of food trucks, music, and a gaming trailer!

Demonstrations and displays include:

  • Dysart Unified Electric Karts and Robotics Team
  • Surprise Police, Fire-Medical, Water Conservation and other City Departments
  • Business and Higher Ed Institutions
  • Plus, Dino Crew, 30-minute Mad Science Shows (10 a.m. & 12 p.m.), a Virtual Gaming Truck and more!

For more information on the event, please visit surpriseaz.gov/scitech

Surprise Care & Share Expo

The Care & Share Expo is a free community event that will help create connections to human service organizations, health resources and medical checks. It’s a one-stop source for accessing programs and services that promote health, financial growth and self-empowerment. Plus, there will be fun events for the entire family to enjoy!

Here’s a look at some of the services and activities you can expect:

  • Food pantry
  • Pet wellness services and supplies provided by Chance Shelter (dogs & cats only)
  • Dental screenings and fluoride varnishing for kids aged 0-5 and expectant mothers, provided by First Teeth First
  • Health screenings
  • Utility assistance for Surprise & El Mirage residents
  • Veteran & Disability Services Info
  • Kids’ Zone with activities
  • Free lunch (while supplies last)
  • Raffle prizes
  • and more!

The Surprise Care & Share Expo is Saturday, November 13, 2021 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. in the City Hall Courtyard at 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza. This event is hosted by the City of Surprise Veterans, Disability and Human Services Commission and is presented by First Things First and Health Choice Arizona.

Wishing you and your families a happy Thanksgiving!

New Council Conversations Show – Update on the State of Housing

The Arizona housing market has been hot – leaving us with limited inventory and raising housing affordability concerns. Watch Mayor Skip Hall’s new Council Conversations show as he talks about the current housing status and potential solutions for the state and our city, as well as what the development process looks like here in Surprise.

Mayor Hall interviews Director for the Arizona Department of Housing, Tom Simplot, and City of Surprise Community Development Director Chris Boyd.

October 2021 • Newsletter

Fall is here, and we welcome it with open arms! I hope you are getting the opportunity to enjoy the cooler temperatures and get outside. This month, we have many fun events happening in Surprise that will give you that chance, whether it be Surprise Fiesta Grande, Surprise Day of Service, Sunday in the Park, G.A.I.N. Night, catching one of the Fall League tournaments and much more. For more information on these events, please visit our website calendar at surpriseaz.gov/calendar.

City Manager Appointment

The Surprise City Council unanimously voted to appoint someone familiar to serve as the next City Manager. I am sure most of you remember Bob Wingenroth who served as our City Manager from June 2014 to November 2018. He began his service to Surprise in 2013 as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Assistant City Manager. In each role, he earned many successes for Surprise. Prior to joining the Surprise team in 2013, Bob served as the City Manager of Anaheim, CA from 2012-2013 and as the city’s CFO from 2010-2012. He also spent 28 years with the city of Phoenix, departing as the Finance Director. He is a life-long public servant. Bob will resume his service to Surprise on December 13, 2021.

Bob Wingenroth

Surprise Fiesta Grande Street Festival Returns

The Surprise Fiesta Grande street festival celebrates the city’s cultural heritage and features mariachi music, a piñata plaza, games, food, music, dancing, kids’ zone, classic car show, live entertainment and more. The celebration will be held on Saturday, October 9 from 5 – 10 p.m. outside the Villanueva Recreation Complex, located at 15660 N. Hollyhock St. in the Grand Ave. corridor.

As a celebration of our cultural heritage, the festival generally falls within National Hispanic Heritage Month, which is September 15 to October 15. National Hispanic Heritage Month traditionally honors the cultures of both Hispanic and Latino Americans and pays tribute to the generations of Hispanic Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation and society. The City is proud to celebrate its Hispanic heritage this month and all throughout the year! For more information on the Surprise Fiesta Grande, please visit surpriseaz.gov/fiestagrande.

G.A.I.N. Night

Surprise Public Safety officials invite you to attend the upcoming G.A.I.N Night (Getting Arizona Involved in Neighborhoods) on October 23 from 5-9 p.m. at Mark Coronado Park, 15960 N. Bullard Ave. This annual event is designed to bring community members together to enhance relationships between neighbors and public safety officials with one common goal, to make our community safer. We can build a safer community by working together, knowing our neighbors and our surroundings.

This FREE, family event will have plenty of great entertainment, live music, activities for kids, trick or treating, and much more. The Salvation Army will be accepting non-perishable food donations for the holidays. Your donation will impact those in need and is greatly appreciated!

Surprise Day of Service

We are looking for volunteers for our Surprise Day of Service on Saturday, October 16. Volunteers will participate in various projects throughout the city including landscaping, painting, trimming of shrubs, debris removal and more. The neighborhood revitalization and cleanup event assists neighborhoods and homeowners who may not be physically or financially able to maintain their homes as required by local codes.

Individuals and groups can register with Larry Garcia at Larry.Garcia@surpriseaz.gov or 623 222-1522. Groups, please submit a group name and estimated number of volunteers – limited to no more than 10 people. Volunteers will meet at 8 a.m. at the Surprise Senior Center, 15832 N. Hollyhock St., before venturing out to various cleanup and beautification projects across the city. Projects will run until approximately noon.

Pavement Preservation

Drivers can anticipate lane restrictions while the city performs pavement preservation activities on the following roadways, weather permitting:

  • Parkview Place, Bell Road to Greenway Road – October 15-23

Milling work will occur overnight between the hours of 8 p.m. – 5 a.m. Daytime work hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Drivers are encouraged to use alternate routes while pavement preservation work is occurring.

View a complete list and maps of pavement preservation projects at surpriseaz.gov/ppp.

September 2021 • Newsletter

Welcome to September, where we see the end of summer and the ushering in of fall! We began our new fiscal year in July and have great hope for what the next 10 months will bring as the City Council’s conservative fiscal policies continue to serve us well. While we faced challenges last year due to the pandemic, it was still a year of tremendous growth for our city.

FY21 Economic Development Review flyer.We continue to actively recruit economic development opportunities, and this past year was tremendous for business in Surprise. Our Surprise Economic Development Department ended the fiscal year with 875 job assists, initiated 985,000 square feet of new development and $165 million in new capital investment.

The city is in the process of seeking a new City Manager to replace Mike Frazier, who is retiring in January. This position is appointed by the Surprise City Council, and it acts as the Chief Administrative Officer of the city. This position is responsible for providing administrative leadership in the daily operational management of the city. The application period closed on July 30.

A City Council subcommittee, comprised of Councilmember Duffy, Councilmember Remley and me, will review the 59 candidates’ applications and make a recommendation to the full council on which candidates to move forward in the interview process. Interviews are scheduled for September 28 and 29.

For selected finalists, the first day of the interview process will entail an in-person city tour, meet-and-greet with the city’s departments and a group dinner with the council. Day two will begin with a series of interviews with a Stakeholders/City Partnership Panel, a West Valley Mayors and City Managers Panel, and one-on-one interviews with each of the Surprise City Councilmembers.

A Special City Council Meeting on Wednesday, September 29, at 5 p.m., in Council Chambers, will provide finalists an opportunity to present a five-minute live presentation on “Why I Should be the City Manager in Surprise.” Council will then adjourn into Executive Session to ask follow-up questions of the finalists. Council will then debrief and provide instructions to the recruitment consultant, city attorney and human resources department regarding next steps on a possible selection. This meeting will be carried live on Surprise TV and streamed on https://www.surpriseaz.gov/surprisetv.
The city anticipates filling the position in December 2021.

Water availability is always a concern in Arizona. As elected officials, we need to be diligent to ensure we have water for our growth for years to come. As you may be aware, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced a Tier 1 shortage for Colorado River operations for 2022, meaning less water supplies available to Arizona. Due to Arizona’s priority system, our city supplies will not experience a reduction. This shortage declaration does not mean a shortage at your tap.

The city’s water managers, together with the private water companies that operate in Surprise, ADWR and CAP, have been preparing for a shortage on the Colorado River System for years. Surprise has a 100-year assured water supply designation from the State to ensure reliable water supplies that support responsible growth. This designation means that the city has shown continuous, physical, and legal availability of water, along with water quality and financial capability standards, to maintain water supplies. Our city’s private water providers are also required to have a 100-year assured water supply. The city has also built a diverse and robust water portfolio for its water utility, including renewable surface water, groundwater and reclaimed water.

Additionally, Surprise has a comprehensive and strategic Drought Preparedness Plan outlining short- and long- term strategies for managing and sustaining our water portfolio. This plan is currently being updated and will help reduce the city’s vulnerability to supply reductions and increase our portfolio’s resiliency.

While residents will not see a water shortage with this drought declaration, Surprise will likely enact its Drought Preparedness Plan for 2022, when the shortage status takes effect. At this stage, customers can expect to see extensive messaging on ways to help Surprise conserve water.

Conserving water has always been important in our desert community. To ensure sustainable growth, we must continue planning, investing and being efficient with the water we have. The city encourages residents to use water wisely and practice conservation techniques. Here are some ways you can help:

  • Get water conservation resources and learn about water conservation rebates at surpriseaz.gov/waterconservation
  • City of Surprise water utility customers can track their water use through our WaterSmart® portal and set leak alerts. Access the portal through the “pay my utility bill online” option on our website at surpriseaz.gov/utilities
  • Find 100+ water saving tips at wateruseitwisely.com

Learn more about the city’s water conservation program and drought preparedness at surpriseaz.gov/droughtmgmt.

Sunday in the Park is returning to Surprise with music and food trucks this month! The first event in the series will take place on September 19 and will feature live music by Music II Muzic, various food trucks, an assortment of beer and wine, and family-friendly entertainment such as bounce houses, face painting, a trackless train and more! Event admission is free; food and drink will be available for purchase. Dogs are allowed, if leashed. If you can’t make it to this one, join us October 17 for music by Southbound and November 7 for music by Blaine Long and Rosas del Rey. All Sunday in the Park events will be held at Mark Coronado Park, 15850 N Bullard Ave., from 3-7 p.m.

Major League Baseball has released the Cactus League Spring Training schedule. Opening Day is set for Saturday, February 26th at Surprise Stadium. For more information on the schedule, ticket information, etc., please visit surprisestadium.com for more details and to sign up for email alerts.

The city will host a 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony on Saturday, September 11, 2021 at 8:30 a.m. This ceremony will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and will honor the victims, survivors, and heroes of that day.

The event will be held in the central outdoor courtyard of Surprise City Hall, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza. See the parking and event location map, here. For those wishing to watch online, the ceremony will be carried on Facebook LIVE at Facebook.com/CityofSurprise.

West Valley Arts Council, in partnership with The Vista Center for the Arts and Ground Floor Artists, is presenting an inaugural Surprise Mayor’s Exhibit titled, “A Tribute to Our Heroes.” I look forward to jurying the exhibit, along with a panel of partners and community members.

The exhibit runs September 3 – November 11 at The Vista Center for the Arts, 15660 N. Parkview Place in Surprise. There will be an opening reception on September 3 from 4-7 p.m. For more information, please visit westvalleyarts.org.

It continues to be a privilege to serve you. I look forward, with great anticipation, for what this new fiscal year will bring us.

August 2021 • Newsletter

Neighborhood Grant Program

I am pleased to announce that City Council recently approved the funding for the Surprise Neighborhood Grant Program. This program provides funding to eligible neighborhoods for neighborhood functions, community improvements and events. This program also allows City Council to foster partnership with our local neighborhoods.

All applications are due on Monday, September 27 at 5 p.m. For more information on how to apply please, visit surpriseaz.gov/NGP.

Surprise Mayor’s Exhibit: A Tribute To Our Heroes

West Valley Arts Council, in partnership with The Vista Center for the Arts and Ground Floor Artists, is working on an inaugural Surprise Mayor’s Exhibit. The theme, “A Tribute To Our Heroes,” marks the 20th anniversary of the tragedy of 9/11 and aims to reflect on how the heroes of this day have shaped, and continue to shape, our nation into one of support, togetherness, and collective endurance. Individual artists are invited to submit works thematically tied to the events of September 11, 2001 and/or works remembering and celebrating those who gave their lives through heroic acts. I have the honor of jurying the exhibit, along with a panel of partners and community members.

The exhibit opens September 3, 2021 at The Vista Center for the Arts, 15660 N. Parkview Place in Surprise, and will coincide with performances to be held at this location through November 11, 2021. For more information on how to submit an entry, please visit westvalleyartscouncil.submittable.com/submit.

General Obligation Bond Update

City of Surprise voters approved the General Obligation (G.O.) Bond in November 2017. All 10 of the voter-approved projects are expected to be complete by the end of 2021. The city has already completed Fire Station 304, the Public Works Operations Facility, improvements to Waddell and Litchfield roads, and the majority of the pavement preservation.

The new Public Safety Evidence & Readiness Center will be able to support additional space for police evidence and property storage and accommodate overall public safety tactical storage in one logistics center. The facility will be 29,000 square feet and is designed to accommodate 30 years of growth. Construction began in November 2020 and is expected to be complete in fall 2021.

We are modifying an existing city building on the same site as the Public Safety Evidence and Readiness Center to create a Police Training Facility. The building will accommodate a defensive tactics room, firearms simulation room, classroom, locker rooms and other support spaces. This project is expected to be complete in fall 2021.

To meet the growing service call demand, a new Fire Station 308 is being built on city-owned land located on the southeast corner of Litchfield Rd. and Cactus Rd. Construction began in December 2020 and is expected to be completed in late 2021.

Greenway Road improvements, from Cotton Ln. to Sarival Ln., are expected to be completed by the end of August 2021, weather permitting. Work is underway to add two more travel lanes, turn lanes, bicycle lanes, and sidewalks. A traffic light is now operational at Greenway Rd. and Northwest Ranch Pkwy.

City staff is in the process of exploring potential options for a local park in the southwest region of the city, as well as acquiring 16 acres of land for a shared Police Substation and Fire Station. For more information on the G.O. Bond, please visit surpriseaz.gov/DecideSurprise.

SK Lounge Ribbon Cutting

On July 9, I attended the ribbon cutting for SK Lounge, along with other councilmembers and Dennis Tran, owner of SK Lounge and Saigon Kitchen. SK Lounge is located at 14071 W Bell Rd.

Surprise City Council and the economic development department join Saigon Kitchen to cut a ribbon for the opening of SK Lounge.

Safe Digging Day

National Safe Digging Day is August 11th, and it’s a great time to brush up on tips for safe digging. Natural gas, electricity, sewer and water utility lines can be buried anywhere underground, so it’s important to know before you dig. Striking one of these lines poses a safety risk and can also cause an interruption of service to customers.

The City of Surprise encourages you to call 811 or visit arizona811.com two full working days prior to digging to request a utility line locate.

Get more information on safe digging at arizona811.com.

Drop-Off Recycling

Drop-off recycling is available at the Public Works North Yard, located at 17274 N Litchfield Road. Hours of operation are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Accepted materials are:

  • Plastic bottles #1 and #2 (including milk gallons, soda bottles, condiment bottles, water bottles, shampoo bottles, and detergent containers). Please be sure to screw all lids on the bottles or remove them completely
  • Cardboard
  • Aluminum and tin cans

A city staff member will be present to assist in sorting recyclable materials and help ensure the recyclables are not contaminated. Please ensure your recyclables are clean and dry. Residents are encouraged to arrive to the recycling center with their recyclable materials pre-sorted to help expedite the process. For more information, please visit surpriseaz.gov/dropoffrecycling.

Council Conversations Show

Please take a moment to view my new Council Conversations show, where I interview new City of Surprise Police Chief, Benny Pina, and former Police Chief and current Assistant City Manager, Terry Young. We had a great discussion about the policies and practices that keep our Surprise Police Department operating at a standard of excellence. To watch, please visit https://bit.ly/2TtEb1z

City Council Meetings

The next regularly scheduled City Council meeting will be August 17 at 6 p.m. Please join us in-person or tune in on surpriseaz.gov/surprisetv, the Surprise City Gov Facebook page at facebook.com/cityofsurprise, or Cox channel 11.

July 2021 • Newsletter

4th of July Celebration

The City of Surprise will host the 38th Annual 4th of July Celebration on Sunday, July 4 at Mark Coronado Park from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is free with the donation of a canned food item. This event will feature live music from Steven P and Music II Music, as well as a variety of food trucks.

The city will host a 20-minute firework show at approximately 8:40 p.m. on July 4th, weather permitting. The display will be staged in the area around Bullard Avenue and Paradise Lane.

Physical distancing is recommended at all Independence Day celebrations.

Arizona Fireworks Laws

With the Fourth of July right around the corner, it is important to review the laws regarding the use and sale of fireworks within Surprise city limits.

  • The sale of permissible consumer fireworks will take place from May 20 through July 6 with the minimum age to purchase fireworks being 16 years old.
  • Consumer firework use is permitted June 24 through July 6, on private property within city limits with owner consent. It is still illegal to use consumer fireworks on public property; this includes streets, sidewalks, and parks.

It is also important that you research your HOA community guidelines to understand their restrictions in relation to firework use in your driveway and yard. For more information regarding the sale and use of consumer fireworks please visit, surpriseaz.gov

APS West Valley Central 230kV Connection Project

Arizona Public Service’s (APS) mission is to provide clean, reliable, and affordable electric services to support and deliver for their existing customers, and their future growth. APS is planning on adding three new 230kV power lines that will connect a new Contrail Substation (located on the southeast corner of Olive Avenue and Dysart Road) to existing transmission facilities, Future TS-2 Substation and El Sol Substation.

APS needs community input to help identify the locations for the new power lines. Citizens are encouraged to visit the Public Information Virtual Open House online any time through July 10 by visiting, apswestvalleycentral.com. Through this, you will be able to view project information, provide your input, and request to speak with one of APS’ subject matter experts.

Heat Relief Stations

The City of Surprise has collaborated with Heat Relief Network to provide hydration and refuge situations to those in need of a place to cool off during the summer months. The city has three Heat Relief stations:

  1. Surprise Resource Center, Refuge & hydration – 12425 W. Bell Road, Building A, Suite 124
  2. Surprise Fire-Medical Station #301, Hydration – 16750 N. Village Drive East
  3. The Salvation Army, Refuge & hydration – 17420 N. Avenue of the Arts Boulevard

You can help those in need of relief by donating sunglasses, sunscreen, hats, and water bottles at either the Surprise Resource Center or Surprise Fire Medical Station #301.

The Surprise Police Department wants to remind you that, hot cars can kill! Never leave a child alone in a car, and always check for kids, pets, and vulnerable persons before you lock your vehicle. If you see a child alone in a vehicle please call 911.

Surprise Day of Service

The City of Surprise Human Services and Community Vitality Department will be hosting a Day of Service at St. Mary’s Food Bank. This event will take place on Wednesday, July 21. Volunteers assist with sorting bulk food items, creating food baskets and loading food into vehicles; helping in the process of providing food for families in need. To volunteer, contact Larry Garcia at 623.222.1522 or larry.garcia@surpriseaz.gov.

Traffic Signal Project

A new traffic signal is being installed at Waddell Road and 145th Avenue. As a result, drivers can expect intermittent lane restrictions. The signals are tentatively scheduled to be fully operational by the end of August 2021. For more information, please visit surpriseaz.gov

Floyd Gaines Park

Councilmember Ken Remley and I are proud to announce that Floyd Gaines Park is back open after it’s relocation to 16001 N. Nash Street. The newly relocated field includes a lighted youth baseball field, netting, fencing, restrooms, and a lighted paved parking lot.

The relocation of the field allowed for some additional amenities to be brought to the Original Town Site, in addition to the construction of an affordable housing project. For more information on Floyd Gaines Park and all Surprise city parks, please visit surpriseaz.gov/parks

Floyd Gaines Park baseball, sign, and commemorative plaque.

City Council Meetings

City Council is on recess in July. The next regularly scheduled City Council meeting will be August 17 at 6 p.m. Please join us in-person, or tune in on surpriseaz.gov/surprisetv, the Surprise City Gov Facebook page at facebook.com/cityofsurprise, or on Cox channel 11.

June 2021 • Newsletter

General Obligation Bond Update

City of Surprise voters approved three General Obligation (G.O.) Bond questions in November 2017, representing 10 Capital Improvement Projects. The city has already completed Fire Station 304, the Public Works Operations Facility, improvements to Waddell and Litchfield roads, and the majority of the pavement preservation. The remaining projects are expected to be wrapped up by the end of 2021.

Fire Station 308, located at Litchfield Rd. and Cactus Rd., is projected to be complete in the late part of 2021. The 16,000 square foot building is approximately 60% complete, with plans to house an Engine Company, HAZMAT Response Team, and future ambulance.

Greenway Road improvements, from Cotton Ln. to Sarival Ln., are expected to be complete in November 2021, weather permitting. Work is underway to add two more travel lanes, turn lanes, bicycle lanes, sidewalks, and a traffic light at Greenway Rd. and Northwest Ranch Pkwy.

Both the Public Safety Evidence and Readiness Center and the Police Training Facility are about 30% complete and are expected to be finished this fall. Both are located at 134th and Foxfire drives. One building will house the public safety tactical and emergency equipment and police evidence; the other will provide police training space.

City staff is also in the process of exploring potential options for acquiring 16 acres of land in the southwest region for a shared Police Substation and Fire Station and city park. For more information on the G.O. Bond projects, please visit surpriseaz.gov/DecideSurprise.

2021 National Community Survey

The 2021 National Community Survey (NCS) results reveal at least 9 in 10 residents gave excellent or good ratings to the overall quality of life in Surprise and the city as a place to live. Responses were collected on various topics ranging from traffic flow to public safety to senior and youth services. City official will use results to prioritize projects for Surprise, and indicate where limited city funding should go based on services most desired.

Here are the overall ratings in each category:

  • Economy – 88% Overall economic health of Surprise (Higher than national benchmark)
  • Mobility / Transportation – 41% Overall quality of the transportation system (auto, bicycle, foot, bus) in Surprise (Lower than national benchmark).
  • Community Design – 79% Overall design or layout of Surprise’s residential and commercial areas (Higher than national benchmark).
  • Utilities – 83% Overall quality of the utility infrastructure in Surprise, such as water, sewer, storm water, electric, gas. (Similar to national benchmark).
  • Safety – 85% Overall feeling of safety in Surprise (Similar to national benchmark).
  • Natural Environment – 79% Overall quality of natural environment in Surprise (Similar to national benchmark).
  • Park and Recreation – 79% Overall quality of parks and recreation opportunities (Similar to national benchmark).
  • Health and Wellness – 80% Overall health and wellness opportunities in Surprise and 80% Quality of health services (Similar to national benchmark).
  • Education, Arts and Culture – 62% Overall opportunities for education, culture, and the arts (Similar to national benchmark).
  • Inclusivity and Engagement – 64% Sense of community and 81% making all residents feel welcome (Similar to national benchmark).

To view the complete results of the 2021 National Community Survey please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/ncs

Solid Waste Rate Increase

Starting July 1, 2021, single-family solid waste (trash) customers monthly base rate will increase $0.10 per month, to $23.50. The monthly rate will increase by $0.10 each fiscal year through FY2024, bringing the rate to $23.70 on July 1, 2023. Residential water and wastewater utility rates will remain unchanged. Customers who have automatic payments with their financial institution are advised to update their accounts to reflect the changes to their utility rate.

In February 2019, the Utility Rate Study was approved, creating a five-year structured schedule to obtain the necessary revenues required to operate utilities and maintain infrastructure while also considering asset replacement and emergency funding needs.

New Surprise Police Chief

Police Chief Benny PinaPeoria Deputy Police Chief, Benny Pina, has been selected to serve as the next Chief of the Surprise Police Department. Prior to his appointment to Deputy Police Chief in Peoria in 2014, Pina served with the Phoenix Police Department for 25 years rising to the rank of Police Commander.

Upon completion of final employment screenings, Chief Pina will fill the vacancy left following the promotion of former Police Chief Terry Young to City of Surprise Assistant City Manager.

Surprise Retail Survey

The annual Surprise Retail Survey launched on April 5, and received approximately 5,100 responses. City staff uses survey results to see what local retail and restaurant spots are most requested, and the city’s retail strengths. In previous years, the Surprise Retail Survey has helped bring In-N-Out Burger, Texas Roadhouse, Oregano’s Pizza Bistro, and Costco to Surprise.

To view the full results, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/retailsurvey

4th of July Celebration

The City of Surprise will be hosting its 38th Annual 4th of July Celebration on Sunday, July 4th at Mark Coronado Park from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is free with the donation of a canned food item. This event will feature live music from Steven P and Music II Music, a variety of food trucks and a spectacular fireworks show. The 20-minute fireworks show will begin at approximately 8:40 pm., weather permitting. The display will be staged in the area around Bullard Avenue and Paradise Lane.

The Surprise Aquatic Center will also be open for a fun filled evening, with games, activities and a poolside view of the city’s fireworks show. Admission is $6 for residents and $11 for non-residents. You can reserve your spot starting June 9 at http://surpriserec.surpriseaz.gov. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Face masks and physical distancing are recommended at all 4th of July celebrations.

Monsoon Season

As we enter summer, we also enter monsoon season, which officially runs from June 15 to September 30. This means higher humidity, which can lead to thunderstorms, heavy rain, lightning, hail, high winds, flash flooding, dust storms and extreme heat. Our city website offers safety tips and details on where to get free sandbags, in the event of heavy rain and flooding. Be prepared by checking out surpriseaz.gov/monsoon.