Tag Archives: economic development

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.