Tag Archives: economic development

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.

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.

New corporate headquarters; jobs and a plan for Investing in One Surprise – highlight 2015 State of the City

State of City 2015

Mayor Sharon Wolcott’s 2015 State of the City Address was filled with breaking news and a vision for growing the city’s future through jobs, preservation, art and more.

She told a full house of business, civic and education leaders, at The Colonnade this morning that IRIS USA will build a new corporate headquarters in the city’s Southwest Railplex.

“This new business locate represents a $40 million private investment in our community,” she said. “In addition, IRIS USA will create 100 jobs and will generate $800,000 of new revenue for the city in just its first year of operation.”

Mayor Wolcott also announced that Western Maricopa Education Center (West-MEC) will build a large campus at Dysart and Grand in Surprise. At build out, this facility will serve 900 students.

“The West-MEC campus will offer between 12-17 programs where students can prepare for such careers as software/application developers, electricians, police officers, firefighters, auto and truck technicians, machinists, medical/dental assistants and cosmetologists,” Wolcott said.

The focus of the speech detailed the building blocks to Investing in One Surprise and how they all relate to growing economic development and jobs.

Wolcott said a business-friendly environment, top-rated schools, maintaining a safe community, the availability of clean water, and quality-of-life amenities are all important to attracting new business to Surprise.

She focused on two other significant building blocks to grow economic development: An efficient transportation system and an on-going capital improvement program to ensure the required public infrastructure is in place to effectively address current and future community needs.

“Identification of needed capital projects to support infrastructure is just the first step in building a city’s foundation for quality growth. Your city government – just like when people buy a new car or home – needs funding to make those capital investments possible,” said Mayor.

On transportation- “Let me be clear: transportation equals economic development and jobs,” added Wolcott. “A connected transportation system is paramount to a self-sustaining community. There’s no other way to say it.”

Wolcott highlighted the importance of revitalizing the Grand Avenue Corridor; the upcoming intersection improvement at Bell and Grand and spoke of the regional support needed in determining the future alignment of the future Interstate 11.

She also spoke to the significance of the city’s efforts to create a Heritage Overlay District to preserve and enhance Surprise’s Original Town Site and how the city is investing in the arts through the process of creating a Public Arts Master Plan.

The event was co-sponsored by the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce and Sun Health.

Read Mayor Wolcott’s 2015 State of the City Address.

Cobalt Breaks Ground

This was an exciting morning in Surprise as Cobalt Medical Partners broke ground on the new Cobalt Rehabilitation Hospital, which will be located at the northeast corner of Dysart and Bell Roads. I had the chance to be a part of the groundbreaking ceremony, along with Cobalt’s CEO Richard Fiske and co-founder/principal Erik de Vries who flew in from Dallas to be a part of this morning’s festivities.

 

CEO Richard Fiske and I at the May 13 groundbreaking.
CEO Richard Fiske and I at the May 13 groundbreaking.

 

In November, Cobalt Medical Partners (CMP) told Council of their plans to construct the 50,000-square-foot facility with 40 beds on three acres at the northeast corner of Bell and Dysart roads.

“We are bringing a whole new level of medical service to the community,” said Mr. Fiske, at that time. “Our advanced rehabilitation center will specialize in treating traumatic brain injuries of military veterans, first responders, athletes and the general public.”

A project like this aligned perfectly with the Council’s Strategic Plan.  It presented an opportunity for job creation and the recruitment of new healthcare operations, both of which are cornerstones of that plan.

The facility, which will open next year, enhances our commitment as a city to create a robust business environment that attracts employment, capital investment, and enhanced opportunities for our residents. In addition to create 125 new healthcare jobs, Cobalt Medical Development’s project represents an investment of $15 million into our city to build the new hospital, which serves to revitalize an area of Dysart and Bell that had been skipped over in the development boom that our city has experienced in the last decade.

What’s more, I’m hopeful that a facility of this caliber will serve as a magnet to attract ancillary businesses to the surrounding area. I would not be surprised to see a future medical campus that can provide additional capacity for other healthcare facilities and professional office development opportunities.

In the meantime, as construction begins, Cobalt will occupy a temporary office inside our AZ TechCelerator building at 124th Avenue and Bell Road. What’s more, we will partner with the company to co-host a job fair as the project nears completion to help Cobalt hire new employees from our region.

Without a doubt, this exciting new facility represents another element to the continuum of healthcare now available in Surprise. It’s a continuum of care that champions healthy living, conducts medical research, and provides excellent rehabilitative care, all while positively impacting the economic development and growth of our city.

 

Vice-Mayor Hall, Councilwoman Villanueva and I were on hand with others to break ground on the new facility.
Vice-Mayor Hall, Councilwoman Villanueva and I were on hand with others to break ground on the new facility.