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!
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!
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
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!