Tag Archives: Bell and Grand

D3 Quarterly Newsletter – January 2017

Happy New Year and thank you! With the beginning of a new year and the closure of another year that just passed, comes reflection. I feel an overwhelming abundance of gratitude to my district for their confidence in re-electing me to my third term. As I took my Oath of Office earlier this month, I can’t help but express my gratitude for all of the experiences, opportunities and friendships that this position has afforded me.

This past year was quite busy and successful for Surprise. Last year began with residents and businesses enduring an eight-month closure of Bell Road. Lucky for us, Bell Road re-opened as promised and on-time. While construction on Grand Avenue continues, the project is scheduled to be completed by the end of February! Final paving is still being done on eastbound Grand Avenue which will require simultaneous closures of Towne Center and Bell Grande Drives at times over the next few weeks; businesses in the area can still be accessed using Bell Road during the intermittent closures. Next weekend, pavement work on Bell Road will require westbound Bell Rd to be closed between 134th Avenue and West Point Parkway from 9 p.m. Saturday, January 28, to 5 a.m. Monday, January 30; eastbound Bell Road will be open.

The city created a map so you can familiarize yourself with the Bell Road Bridge and Grand Ave Traffic Patterns before the project is complete in February! You can also view the ADOT Bell-Grand interchange animation to better understand how movements will occur using the Grand Avenue ramps.

Within District 3, Cactus Road was a huge improvement for folks on the southwest side of town. Residents of Sara Ann Ranch will benefit greatly from this roadway improvement as they are no longer limited to one access point in and out of their subdivision. This also adds another path to access Shadow Ridge and Paradise Honors High School. Development is on the move in this area, and we look forward to continued roadway improvements in and around this area, as well as an increase in residential and commercial development.

Another success this past fall was the successful partnership endeavor between the City and Gateway Community College. The new 13,100 square foot facility officially opened its doors in October. The observation-centric training facility provides individuals interested in pursuing careers in the water and wastewater professions with new opportunities for hands-on learning in the West Valley. It also provides mission critical labs and assembly facilities for city water professionals. The center is located on the grounds of the South Plant (SPA1) Water Reclamation Facility – a facility that currently processes over 8 million gallons of water per day.


Economic Development Update

Over the last few months, you’ve probably noticed several new businesses and restaurants opening across our city. Some of our District 3 openings include Surprise Honda, Rodeo Hyundai and our soon-to-be-opening businesses include a new Subaru dealership.

Other new businesses and restaurants include State 48, Oregano’s, Dunkin Donuts (Waddell and Litchfield Roads) CrossFit SPADE, Redline Grill and Mom’s Fixins (northeast corner of Bell and Reems roads), Dickey’s Barbecue Pit (Bell Road and Loop 303) Caliber Collision (southwest corner of Bell and Dysart roads). Panda Express (northwest corner of Waddell Road and Loop 303) and Firehouse Subs (northeast corner of Bell and Litchfield roads) will be opening soon.


District 3 Pavement Preservation

Sierra Montana is scheduled to receive Crack Sealing and a Type II Slurry Seal on the residential roads of Parcels 1-3, 8-12, 14-16, and 18-20.

Sierra Montana is additionally scheduled to receive Crack Sealing and a Type II Rubberized Micro Surfacing on the collector roads of Verde Vista Drive and Sierra Montana Loop.

Current status shows Crack Sealing has commenced and is progress in the residential areas and will continue through the winter. Residential Slurry Sealing will commence in spring 2017. Upon completion of the Residential Slurry Sealing, Rubberized Micro Surfacing will follow on the collector roads scheduled.

Greer Ranch is scheduled to receive Crack Sealing and a Polymer Master Seal on the residential roads of Parcel 12,14,15,18-21, and Phase 1 and 2 North.

Current status shows Crack Sealing has commenced and is in progress in the residential areas and will continue through the winter. Residential Polymer Master Sealing will commence in late Winter 2017.

Greenway Parc/Legacy Parc is scheduled to receive Crack Sealing and a Type II Rubberized Micro Surfacing on the collector roads of Custer Lane from Reems Road to Legacy Parc Blvd and 156th Avenue from Acoma to Custer Lane.

Current status shows Crack Sealing and Rubberized Micro will commence on these collector roads in late spring 2017.


Community Development Update

Annexation/Magnolia

The City of surprise received a request to Annex approximately 203 acres of property within a County island generally located between Cotton Lane, 175th Avenue, Waddell Road and Cactus Road, along with the request for a Planned Unit Development neighborhood known as Magnolia. The proposed Magnolia project, if approved, will accommodate up to 900 residential lots with an overall density of approximately 5 dwelling units per acre which is consistent with development in and around the area. This project was recommended for approval by the Planning and Zoning Commission and will be on the agenda for consideration by Council on the January 17, 2017 City Council meeting.

Prasada Lake Village

The City of Surprise approved the 3,355 acre Prasada Planned Area Development (PAD) on June 22, 2006. The Prasada development included three distinctive areas: the 1,225-acre Gateway Village along the Loop 303 corridor; the 530-acre Urban Village located between the Gateway Village and Marley Park; and the 1,600-acre Lake Village west of Cotton Lane straddling Cactus Road. The Prasada Lake Village plan included lakes, themed parks, three elementary schools, and a “rural edge” concept along Waddell Road to provide a transition between the rural nature on the north side and the more suburban nature of the Prasada Lake Village. At the time of the Prasada Zoning, there was a development partner that would master develop the Prasada Lake Village; they have since moved on from this project and are no longer the master developer. In order to market the property to prospective developers, the property owner requested minor changes such as removal of the themed parks but maintaining the minimum 15% open space; addition of four additional architectural types to the architectural theme: Craftsman, Ranch, Cottage, and Farmhouse; and possible dedication of lands for a City-owned and maintained park in accordance with the Surprise Parks and Open Space Master Plan as well as other minor modifications. This project was approved by staff.

Zanjero Trails

The developer is proposing to amend the zoning of just over 29 acres of the 879-acre Zanjero Trails Planned Area Development (PAD) located near Peoria Avenue and Perryville Road. The amendment will modify the land use of two parcels from Multifamily Residential Commercial to Single Family Residential. A Citizen Review meeting was held at City Hall on January 12 for resident input. Along with this proposal, a preliminary plat is intended to initiate the platting process of the proposed amendment for Zanjero Trails. The plat encompasses just over 30 acres and proposes 103 residential lots over 6 acres of open space.

Sycamore Farms

The developer is proposing to amend the zoning of the Sycamore Farms Planned Area Development generally bounded by West Cactus Road to the North, North Sarival Avenue to the east, West Peoria Avenue to the south, and North Cotton Road to the west. The amendment encompasses just over 266 acres of the overall 637-acre development. On September 14, 2016 the developer held a citizen review session for residents to attend and provide comments on the proposal. The changes requested are located in the southeastern corner of the development and involve the reorientation of the large commercial land use (Sarival Ave and Peoria Ave). The applicant has proposed to reorient the commercial parcel to face Peoria Avenue instead of Sarival, reallocating open space and modifying commercial setback lines. The open space modifications include reorienting the proposed 50-acre park to be relocated closer to the northwestern corner of the development (Cactus Road and Cotton Road). Public trails and neighborhood parks will be located throughout the eastern half of the development to provide pedestrian connectivity and adequate amenities for the residents.

The northeastern corner is proposed to be redesigned to provide a diverse land use (including commercial, medium-density and low-density residential) that work together around a proposed central park that will provide many opportunities for recreation. Currently, much of this land is designated as mixed-use and is loosely defined in a way that provides flexibility that could either increase creativity of design or allow land uses to locate next to each other with little concern with compatibility. At the January 19 Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, the project was recommended for approval to the City Council. The City Council will hear this item at the February 21 City Council meeting.


Surprise Police Department Information

Surprise Police Department Neighborhood Watch Programs

Neighborhood Watch groups can be a powerful tool for combating crime in one’s neighborhood. The program teaches citizens crime prevention techniques to reduce the risk of being victimized at home or in public. Additionally, Neighborhood Watch encourages residents to form a group of concerned residents who work together to become the eyes and ears of the police department.

The first step in putting together a neighborhood watch is to talk with your neighbors and gauge the level of interest they have in forming a group and seeing it through. Neighborhood Watch is only as effective as the residents make it. If there are 10-15 interested residents, you may have the strong core of a Neighborhood Watch. Your next step would be to contact the Surprise Police Department’s Community Relations and Crime Prevention team at 623-222-4422 to setup a time and place for the training.

Additionally, the social media site Nextdoor (www.Nextdoor.com) is a virtual extension of the Neighborhood Watch program. Nextdoor allows residents to communicate amongst themselves and allows your police department to share important messages. Signing up for Nextdoor is a great way to meet other safety conscious residents in your community.

Crime Prevention

Unlocked cars and homes continue to be the leading factor in property crimes throughout the city. More than 60% of all burglaries from vehicles are the result of doors being left unlocked or windows being left down. Here are some quick tips to help reduce your likelihood of becoming a victim of these types of crimes:

  • Lock your vehicle door and take keys with you
  • Park in secure/well lit location
  • Don’t leave valuables out in plain sight. Lock them in a trunk or take them with you
  • When at home, park in your garage

Surprise Police Host Shred-a-Thon and Drug Take Back

Surprise Police Department will host a Shred-a-Thon and Drug Take Back Event on Saturday, January 21, 2017 from 7 until 10 am. This event will be held at the Surprise Public Safety Building located at 14250 West Statler Plaza.

During the event, public will be able to bring up to 3 boxes of documents per vehicle to be shredded. Additionally, unused prescription and over-the-counter medications can be brought and dropped off for destruction. There is no cost for the shredding of documents or destruction of medications.

Please note that we are unable to accept sharps (to include insulin syringes/needles) or inhalers of any kind. Additionally, the shredding event will continue until 10am or until the shred trucks have been filled up.


Human Services & Community Vitality Update

The public is encouraged to attend the AZ Military/Veteran Resource Navigator training February 9 in Surprise City Hall Community Room. The training, conducted by the Arizona Coalition for Military Families, is meant to train all people who wish to help service members, Veterans and their families by connecting to a network of services. There are two trainings on Feb 9. The first is from 9 a.m. to noon, and the second is from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Registration is required. To register, please email deborah.perry@surpriseaz.gov.

The City will be hosting another City Academy beginning March 6, 2017. The Academy is an opportunity for residents, students and business owners to learn about our city directly from City Council and city management. Classes meet weekly from 6 until 8:30 pm in the Surprise Public Safety building (14250 W. Statler) through April 17. For more information or to register, please contact Ruby Sitea at ruby.sitea@surpriseaz.gov.

Free Tax Assistance is available through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program run by New Leaf, and we will have these services open to the public beginning the week of January 23. Tax assistance will be offered at the Surprise Resource Center on Mondays from 4-8 p.m. and Thursdays from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. and at Riverboat Bingo on Wednesdays from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Free tax services will also be offered at the Surprise Senior Center on Tuesdays, from 4-7:30 p.m.

Grant applications for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) are now available on our city’s website for non-profit organizations who wish to seek funding to support Surprise residents through a variety of public services. Applications are due on January 25. For more information, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/2616/CDBG-Public-Service-Grants.

Get Fit in 2017 at the Surprise Senior Center! Did you know that the Surprise Senior Center has a Health & Wellness Initiative that includes a gym membership and exercise classes? Annual Fitness Memberships at the Surprise Senior Center are $30 per year for residents. Senior Center membership is only $12 per year. Come enjoy programs like Silver Sneakers, Fitzi with Mitzi exercise classes, Stepping It Chair Exercise, the Walking Club and Coed Volleyball for Seniors. The Surprise Senior Center is a hub for activities and programs for adults, age 50 and better. The Center offers a place for people to gather, learn, exercise, socialize and enjoy a delicious and healthy hot lunch. For more information, call 623-222-1500.

Please remember that the block party trailer is available to reserve at no cost! If you are interested in hosting a block party and would like to utilize the trailer, information can be found at www.surpriseaz.gov/869/Block-Party-Trailer.


Surprise Youth Council Update

This October, seven members of the City of Surprise Youth Council (SYC) attended the National League of Cities Summit in Pittsburgh, PA. This event allowed them the opportunity to learn from national leaders and experts on issues of economic development, technology, and sustainability, as well as important cultural and social issues. Through a series of workshops and seminars, SYC members were also able to share their own experiences and perspectives with other youth councils from around the country. This exchange of ideas had a major impact on our youth and allowed them to bring home a host of new ideas and best practice strategies which will help them develop their leadership skills for the betterment of our Surprise community. They performed so well during these sessions that they have been asked to nominate an SYC member to serve on the National League of Cities Youth Planning Committee; a great honor for the youth of Surprise.

Over the last few months the City of Surprise Youth Council has been working hard to help local youth expand their opportunities, develop their leadership skills, and prepare for successful and healthy futures. After undergoing a series of trainings with BLOOM 365, a nonprofit dedicated to fostering healthy relationships, SYC members are now ready to begin delivering peer-to-peer dating violence awareness trainings in local Surprise high schools. With the support of local schools, this project has the potential to positively impact thousands of local teenagers. Dating violence is an unfortunate, but important, issue that the SYC is willing to address directly, in order to help prevent local teenagers from being victimized or abusing others.

The BLOOM 365 project is just one of the many creative ways the SYC is seeking to expand its impact beyond its own membership. The group has shown its support for local veterans and teachers by marching in the Surprise Veterans Day Parade and holding a school supply drive for local teachers. The SYC will also be hosting a free SAT training for local high school students at the Surprise Library on January 28, and is currently developing a blog that will allow local teens to share resources and discuss important local issues with one another. All of these endeavors help us to reach our goal of helping local youth find greater success in the classroom, in the workplace, and in the community.


Community & Recreation Services Update

Check out the following lessons and classes available through the Community and Recreation Services Department, and get additional information at www.surpriseaz.gov/recreation.

Mommy & Me Tennis – NEW PROGRAM
Register for this 4-week session that meets on Tuesdays at 1 p.m. in February and March for 45 minutes each week. Class will focus on FUN interaction between parent and child. Perfect way to spend quality time with your child and meet new friends while developing the love for tennis. This program is for ages 2-4 years old.

High School Drop – In – NEW TEEN PROGRAM
Calling all HIGH SCHOOL Tennis Players both Varsity and JV! Are you ready for the 2017 Season? Do you need to tune up your game? Then play at the Surprise Tennis & Racquet Complex on Tuesday nights from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Each week, 3-time AZ State Tennis Champ Max Schell will run half-hour drills to get you warmed up. Then, put your skills to the test in doubles or singles play against other local players. ALL LEVELS are welcome, and the fee is $2 for Surprise Residents and $3 for non-Surprise residents.

Racquetball Lessons
Looking to learn a new sport or just get in shape? Then try racquetball! The cardio benefits are excellent! This new program is for adults 18 & over. Classes are forming now.

Drop-in Paddleball – Monday Nights!
Paddleball Drop-in is every Monday night from 5-7 p.m. Not sure what paddleball is? Don’t worry! All levels are welcome, and equipment is available for you to try it! This fun game and great workout is for adults 18 & over and the fee is $2 for residents and $3 for non-residents.

Adult Development – NEW TENNIS CLINIC on SATURDAYS at 9 a.m.
This 90-minute well-rounded clinic is for the 3.0 and “returning to the game” players who are looking for a coherent path to better tennis. Players will work on skill development and then learn how to utilize it in game situations.

Girls Volleyball League – NEW SEASON DATES The youth girls’ volleyball season will teach the game of volleyball in the spirit of sportsmanship, fun and wholesome competition. An emphasis is placed on the development of skills and the value of teamwork.

Cal Ripken Youth Tee-ball, Baseball and Babe Ruth Girls Softball Leagues
The road to the “Big Leagues” starts here! This program offers youth the opportunity to learn the basic fundamentals and skills associated with the game of baseball and softball in an atmosphere where participation and fun are top priority.

Youth Competitive Leagues
The City of Surprise has designed the Competitive Sports Program to provide youth athletes with the opportunity to participate in an organized, local league that will introduce them to the competitive side of sports relative to playing time, rules, standings and player development. While emphasis will remain on basic fundamentals, sportsmanship, and cooperative participation and socialization with peers, this program differs from recreational sports in that there are NO MANDATORY PLAYING TIME RULES. The Competitive Sports Program will follow modified NFHS rules, and is intended for experienced players only. Participants will go through a skills evaluation and will be drafted onto a team. Special requests are not honored in competitive programs. Teams will play 7 league games and participate in a single elimination tournament to conclude the season.

Bicycle Safety
Geared for beginner to advanced bike riders. This course will cover proper helmet wearing, mounting / dismounting, braking techniques, riding on the road, setting up your bike, chain resetting, basic maintenance, and shifting techniques. Course is taught by a Police Department Bicycle Safety Course graduate. This course is best suited for multi-gear bikes, but can be used for BMX and single gear as well. Bring a bike, helmet, and wear closed toed shoes and wear appropriate clothing. Riders must be able to ride a bike well before entering this class.

Beginning to Advanced Bass Guitar
Learn beginning to advanced techniques for the 4 and 5 string bass guitar and how to utilize them in a band situation. Students must provide their own bass guitar.

Self Defense Class
Defense is much more than knowing how to fight back against a physical attack. Our class will encourage participants to think about their choices, help them develop awareness, and provide a friendly environment for practice of physical self-defense techniques. We will help participants expand the way they think about violence prevention, help them confront their fears and enable them to be more empowered and assertive.

Ukulele 101 Teen/Adult
The class will teach students the basics that they need to begin playing the ukulele. They will focus on chords, single notes and rhythms. Students will learn the parts, care and notes on the ukulele and how to read rhythms and chord charts. By the end of class, students will have learned techniques and information that will allow them to play 3 chord songs and continue learning on their own. Please bring a notebook and ukulele.

Laser Tag Teen Tournament
Join the biggest game of outdoor laser tag in Surprise. Teams are encouraged to crawl, scoot, sneak, hide and move throughout the park to claim the title of laser tag champion. All participants must have a participation waver completed and turned in before being eligible to play. Teams of 6 or free agents welcome.

Ultimate Capture the Flag with Bubbles
Compete with teens from all over Surprise in the classic P.E. game Capture the Flag, except you will be wearing a bubble. Be prepared to knock your opponent out of the way and roll down the field to glory in the ultimate game of capture the flag! All participants must have a participation waiver completed and turned in before being eligible to play. Teams of 8 and free agents can register. The tournament will be co-ed.

Wonderland Tea Party

April 8 – Children will enjoy dancing, crafts, stories and a tea party with storybook characters. Tickets may be purchased at the Community & Recreation Services Department for $5.

Surprise Talent Show

May 12 – The City of Surprise is looking for its most talented residents! If you can sing, act, play an instrument or perform what you think is a talent (must be safe) then come and show off your skills. Registration forms must be received by April 7. Those that make the cut will perform in the Talent Show on Friday, May 12 at Valley Vista Performing Arts Center. The show will be split into age groups: youth, teen and adult. The audition forms are on the following website: www.surpriseaz.gov/recreation or can be picked up at the Surprise Community and Recreation Services Office. There is no fee to audition or be in the talent show, and friends and family are welcome to purchase a ticket. Admission tickets for the Talent Show are $3 advanced purchase and $5 at the door.

Taste of Surprise

The 4th Annual Taste of Surprise will showcase some of the West Valley’s best local restaurants. Several bands and a former American Idol contestant are part of the music line-up. This year’s event will take place at our very own Surprise Stadium on Saturday, April 8 from 4 until 9 p.m. All proceeds from the event will benefit selected Surprise non-profit organizations.

You can purchase your tickets for $25 each at www.tasteofsurprise.com.


Mark Your Calendars

I will host quarterly community meetings throughout the year. The format will allow residents to engage in conversations with various departments and, in some cases, businesses and developers, and it will ensure we are all in the “know” on how our city is progressing. The first meeting of the year will be held on February 22 at 7 p.m. in the Community Room at City Hall. Developers from Prasada will be in attendance, as well as various city departments! I hope to see you there!

This year promises to be exciting in Surprise!

City celebrates reopening of Bell Road

Commuters were able to cruise over the new Bell Road Bridge at Grand Avenue on their way to work this morning, as the Arizona Department of Transportation officially opened the road at 12:15 a.m.

The city of Surprise hosted a pre-celebration on Monday in the Surprise Marketplace parking lot to officially kick-off the 2016 Holiday Season and to thank the area businesses, residents and drivers for their patience during the seven-month closure of Bell Road.

“To the customers that continued to shop these businesses, thank you for realizing that they were ALWAYS open and for supporting them,” said Mayor Sharon Wolcott. “And to those that took a different commute during the closure, I invite you to come back to this area. No more stopping for the train and three new businesses have opened since the closure began in April, with two others opening this fall. Come check them out!”

Representatives from the Arizona Department of Transportation and the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce also spoke at the event that was attended by neighboring elected officials, residents and local businesses.

As a “thank you” for supporting the businesses around the Bell and Grand intersection attendees received Surprise shopping bags, filled with vendor coupons and promotional items. A perfect reminder to Shop Surprise this holiday season!

The Bell Road closure was part of the ADOT US 60 (Grand Ave) and Bell Road Interchange project which began in January 2016. By closing Bell for 7 months, construction delays were avoided during two Spring Training Seasons and this year’s holiday shopping season.

The entire Bell-Grand project, including the ramps connecting Grand Avenue to Bell Road, is scheduled to be complete prior to Spring Training 2017 at the Surprise Recreation Campus. In the meantime, your Bell to Grand Avenue access remains on Dysart Road, east of the intersection and Bell to Reems to Grand, west of the intersection.

D3 Quarterly Newsletter – September 2016

As September rolls in, I hope everyone is enjoying the final days of summer. School recently began and fall is rapidly approaching! It’s hard to believe we have completed two months of fiscal year 2017.

I am hosting a District 3 Update meeting on September 13 at Surprise Honda, located at 13270 N Autoshow Ave. I appreciate my constituents and thank you for sharing your thoughts and ideas on future development! I share your passion for growth and I would love to see many of the amenities discussed. Please join me on the 13th from 5 pm until 6 pm as we will receive an Economic Development update from City staff, a Prasada update, and bond information. A tour of the new dealership has also been offered by Surprise Honda General Manager Leon Lee.


Transportation Update

Completion of Cactus Road

After meeting with constituents and members from our schools over the last year, I am happy to report the completion of Cactus Road from 175th Avenue to Cotton Lane is complete! This pavement project provides additional east/west connection, in addition to Waddell Road, for the neighboring communities of Sara Ann Ranch and Sierra Montana as well as Shadow Ridge and Paradise High Schools.

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Update

Construction on the Bell Road bridge project continues and Bell Road is on schedule to open as originally planned in November 2016. Current work includes the building of the retaining wall panels of the bridge over Grand Avenue and the reconstruction of the eastbound Grand Avenue roadway. Grand avenue traffic is temporarily sharing westbound lanes while the old asphalt pavement on the east side has been removed and the utility relocation occurs.


Budget Approval FY17

The Surprise City Council approved a $271.9 million Fiscal Year 2017 Budget, at a Special City Council meeting this past May. Council approved a formula to fund 22 new public safety positions by maintaining the city’s property tax rate of $0.7591 per $100 of assessed property valuation. Due to higher valuations, that would generate approximately $165,000 in new money. The remaining funds would come from vacancy savings. The positions are as follow:

Police: 13 Fire-Medical: 7 Court: 1 City Attorney: 1

This budget also dedicates $53 million for capital improvements to preserve and/or replace aging infrastructure, such as increasing funding for the Pavement Preservation Program to $4.5 million.

Investments in communications, facility, information technology, recreation and utility infrastructure amount to $6.8 million. And $10.5 million will support replacing aging vehicles to enhance service and lower maintenance costs.

Beginning in November, the city will assume responsibility for billing the water, waste water and sanitation utilities. By removing these operations from a third-party vendor, the city will be able to provide more efficient operations and provide an improved customer experience. This service will result in an additional 11 positions. The ongoing utility billing budget of $1.7 million that had been paid to the third-party vendor will remain the same once the city transitions to the billing responsibilities.

The FY17 Budget also provides funding to add Sunday Dial-A-Ride service and continue Saturday and holiday pick-ups.


New Businesses

Great things are happening in Surprise and that includes several new businesses that have recently opened or are opening soon. Surprise Honda opened its doors last month in the Prasada Automall and Hyundai and Subaru dealerships are under construction now. Burger King opened a few months ago in the Walmart Plaza on Greenway, west of Loop 303.

Other businesses scheduled to open include the new Babbo Italian Eatery, Oregano’s Pizza Bistro, Dickey’s Barbeque, Ono Hawaiian BBQ, Firehouse Subs and a few more.


Shop Surprise

By now, you’ve probably noticed some important enhancements to the ShopSurprise digital marketing campaign! With more than 2,000 ShopSurprise subscribers and nearly 123,000 messages and deals announced, you are doing your part to support our Bell-Grand area businesses during the Bell Road bridge construction!

The Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce text message service provider, Dex media, recently scheduled a service upgrade to keep this successful campaign up and running, with a new feature- coupons sent directly to your email, no more having to click a link. That required a new text opt-in number, which is 85100.

Here are all the ways you can check out the daily deals:

  • Text ‘ShopSurprise’ (one word) to 85100 to have daily deals sent to your phone;
  • Visit shopsurpriseaz.com to view the daily deals online;
  • Like the Shop Surprise, Arizona Facebook page and have the deals appear in your timeline; or
  • Follow @ShopSurpriseAZ on Twitter to have deals tweeted to you daily.

A Construction Business Access Map is also available online to help you find the best ways to enter the shopping, dining and service centers to claim your deals. The Bell & Grand ShopSurprise daily deals are only available during the Bell Road full closure. The Chamber will consider a more comprehensive, citywide campaign in the future.

Shop Surprise


Bond Election

City Council approved sending a $63 million General Obligation Bond initiative to the voters when we met last month. Following public input and weighing community needs, Council approved the following nine projects that, if voter-approved, would be included in the bond:

  • Two fire stations
  • Police evidence storage facility
  • Land purchase for a future southwest Surprise Fire Station/Police Substation/Park
  • Public Works maintenance facility (frees up existing city locations to meet Police and Fire-Medical storage needs)
  • Road improvements to portions of Greenway and Litchfield Roads
  • Aquatic Center Expansion
  • Land purchase for regional rec complex (sport fields, playgrounds, future rec center)

General Obligation Bonds are sold to investors who are repaid with interest. The repayment comes from a secondary property tax, which Surprise does not currently have. If approved, the secondary property tax could be up to $0.50 per $100 of limited property value, which on a home with an assessed value of $200,000 would be a yearly maximum increase of $100, or $8.33 per month.

Additional educational public meetings will be scheduled ahead of the November 8 General Election. Meeting dates and locations will be posted at www.surpriseaz.gov/surpriseforward. You may also visit the website for a complete list of projects, renderings, financial impact information and public survey results.


Neighborhood Grant Program

The Surprise City Council approved funding to support the Neighborhood Grant Program that provides eligible neighborhoods with small grants to fund neighborhood events, functions or even some community improvements.

Recognizing an opportunity to encourage community engagement and further build strong relationships with communities in Surprise, the city designated $10,000 to support the grant program for FY17. To be considered, projects must meet the following program criteria:

  • Provide a public benefit
  • Result in a product, which benefits a neighborhood or the larger Surprise Community
  • Be feasible for completion by June 2017
  • Involve the benefiting neighborhood in project identification, planning and execution
  • Emphasize neighborhood self-help; or be educational, community-building, or a public physical improvement
    • Final report to due and presentation to the Sub-Committee on Community Outreach, Partnerships and Grants on June 15, 2017

Additionally, a minimum of 5 neighbors within the residential area must sign the application and support the idea; neighborhoods governed by a homeowner association (HOA) must have HOA approval.

Interested communities should deliver the complete Neighborhood Grant Program application to City Hall, attention Jodi Tas, by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, October 5.

For more information about the grant, visit Neighborhood Grant Program or contact Jodi Tas, 623.222.1330.


Fall CRS Line-up

Registration for City of Surprise Fall Youth Sports, including girls’ volleyball, Babe Ruth softball and Cal Ripken tee-ball and baseball, began this week. Registration will be offered through September 24, with a special Saturday registration on September 24 from 8 – 11 a.m. at the Community and Recreation Services office, located at 15960 N. Bullard Ave. Office hours are Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Registration will also be available online at www.surpriseaz.gov/recreation.

Here’s a look at the programs being offered:

Fall Girls Volleyball League

Teaches the game of volleyball in the spirit of sportsmanship, fun and wholesome competition. An emphasis is placed on the development of skills and the value of teamwork. Age: Girls 7-15. (Age determined on or before December 31, 2016)

NEW Girls Competitive Volleyball League (15u and 17u Divisions)

While emphasis will remain on basic fundamentals, sportsmanship and cooperative participation, this program differs from recreational sports in that there are NO MANDATORY PLAYING TIME RULES. The competitive sports league will follow modified NFHS rules and is intended for EXPERIENCED PLAYERS ONLY. Participants will go through a skills evaluation on Friday October 14, 2016 and will be drafted onto a team. Special requests will not be honored in competitive programs. Any player that is not selected in the draft is guaranteed a spot in the recreational volleyball league. All teams will compete in an end of season, single elimination tournament.

Fall Babe Ruth Girls Softball League

Teaches the game of softball in the spirit of sportsmanship, fun and wholesome competition. An emphasis is placed on the development of skills and the value of teamwork. Age: Girls 7-16. (Age determined on or before December 31, 2016)

Cal Ripken Youth Fall Tee-ball

The road to the “Big Leagues” starts here! The Cal Ripken tee-ball program will offer separate 4-year-old and 5/6-year-old divisions. Boys and girls have the opportunity to learn the basic fundamentals and skills associated with the game of baseball in an atmosphere where participation and fun are top priority. Age: Boys and girls 4 – 6. (Age determined on or before December 31, 2016)

Cal Ripken Youth Fall Baseball League

Concentrates highly on instruction and emphasizes the development of fundamental skills over wins and losses. Participants registered in the Major Division will go through a skills evaluation and will be drafted to a team. Age: Boys and girls 7 -12. (Age determined on or before December 31, 2016)

The City of Surprise invites you to volunteer for the upcoming fall sports season as well! The Community and Recreation Services department is dedicated to providing our volunteers the information and confidence they need to have a fun and successful season. If you are interested, please complete a volunteer application at the Community and Recreation Services Office. For more information, please contact the Sports Division at 623-222-2000 or visit www.surpriseaz.gov/recreation.


Veterans Day

America’s Mighty Warriors (AMW) will host the 2nd Annual Marc Lee Fitness Challenge in Surprise at Surprise Community Park on Saturday, November 5. The fitness challenge will include a 5K run/walk which will begin at 7 a.m. and the fitness challenge portion will begin at 8 a.m. For more information, please visit www.americasmightywarriors.org/fitness-challenge/.

The City’s 2nd Annual Veterans Day Parade is scheduled for Friday, November 11. This parade will travel along Bullard Avenue in front of Surprise Stadium. This year, the event will kick-off with a pancake breakfast and Veteran art show prior to the parade start at 9:30 am. I hope to see you there!

The City is currently looking for patriotic-themed parade entries for the parade. We are seeking clubs, organizations, groups or residents who would like to participate. There is no fee for participation. Interested parties may obtain an entry form online at www.surpriseaz.gov/specialevents or at the Community & Recreation Services offices at 15960 N. Bullard Avenue.


Arizona League of Cities and Towns

The Arizona League of Cities & Towns Conference began on Tuesday, August 23. This conference is a great opportunity to reconnect with other Council Members throughout the state, network with agencies who work with Surprise and help build the momentum the City Council has been able to achieve.

Part of this year’s conference included meetings with Cox Communications regarding digital contour and EPCOR regarding their plans to combine their water districts. In addition, I was able to attend several sessions including the impact of military bases in Arizona, education initiatives and much more.

City Council attended a focus group discussion on why our youth leave the State; Surprise was represented by our very own Surprise Youth Council (SYC) Member Samantha Salazar. Following the youth session, members of SYC competed in the Democraseed Challenge and placed third. The Center for the Future of Arizona and Arizona State University’s Office of Entrepreneurship partnered with the Challenge to foster creative civic engagement projects. Congratulations to our SYC team!

Councilman Skip Hall and I received service awards during the Legislative and Service Award Luncheon on Thursday, August 25. Congratulations to Skip on his years of service. I have enjoyed serving with you!


Luke Air Force Base Celebrates 75 Years!

Luke Air Force Base is the largest fighter-training base in the entire world, with thousands of military personnel working diligently to protect us. Luke AFB is one of the largest employers in Arizona with approximately 6,000 employees. It is estimated that the families and personnel of the Base contribute an overall impact of over $2.15 billion to our economy.

We are very fortunate to have this asset, not just in our State, but in the West Valley. As a resident and as an elected official, I am grateful! Happy anniversary to Luke Air Force Base!


I will be taping another Council Conversation regarding an upcoming education initiative. Keep your eyes on Surprise TV for more information!

In closing, it has been an honor to serve you the last four years. I am grateful, honored and humble to serve you for another term.

Councilmember John Williams’ Quarterly Newsletter – Jan. 2016

As we begin this new year, we have so much to be grateful for. I am grateful for the support of each and every one of you. It has been an honor and privilege to serve the City as Vice Mayor in 2016 and my constituents in District 3 as Councilman for the last seven years. I am also grateful for all of the fantastic things happening in Surprise. I wanted to share some of the news with you.

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Intersection Project

City Council thoroughly discussed the Bell Road/Grand Avenue intersection project in an interactive conversation with representatives for Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) and ADOT during a City Council Meeting on October 20. At that time, City Council moved to proceed with the project.

City Council and staff continue to meet with ADOT concerning the communication roll-out of the Bell Road/Grand Avenue Intersection project to help mitigate the concerns of our residents and business community. ADOT, in partnership with the City, has developed a comprehensive outreach and communications program for the residents and businesses in Surprise. A Public Information Advisory Team comprised of representatives from ADOT, the City, Maricopa County, businesses and residents will assist with developing messaging, disseminating information and facilitating business outreach.

ADOT representatives are scheduled to provide an update at the City Council Work Session on Tuesday, January 19 at 4 pm in the City Council Chambers.

Upcoming Traffic Construction

There are so many Capital Improvement projects scheduled to occur in the next few months that you should be aware of. Those projects include:

Waddell Road Median (Litchfield Road to 1200 feet west): Construction began this month.

Landscaping Median (various locations): The project currently focuses on completing medians in the following locations:

  • Reems Road—Peoria to Cactus (1 mile)
  • Bullard Avenue—Peoria to Cholla (1/2 mile)
  • Waddell Road—175th to Citrus (1/2 mile)
  • Sarival Road—Bell to Northwest Ranch Parkway (900 ft)

It is expected that the request for bid public bid will close in January. Construction is expected to begin in the March/April timeframe with the individual sections prioritized as listed above.

Cactus Road (south side) from Litchfield Road to Rail Road Tracks and Litchfield Road (east side) from Cactus Road to Desert Cove Road: It is expected that the construction of the project will go out for a public bid that will close in January. Construction is expected to begin in the March/April timeframe.

Peoria Avenue (Reems Road to Sarival Avenue): Lennar has begun construction. Project is complete.

Peoria Avenue (south side) from Greer Ranch Parkway to Reems Road:Construction will commence after Lennar completes the construction on the north side.

Bullard Avenue Task Force Meeting: The community is invited to attend the next Bullard Avenue Task Force meeting on Monday, Jan. 25, 6 p.m., at the Northwest Regional Library, 16089 N. Bullard Avenue. The city worked with a grant-funded Safe Routes to School design team to create a plan that incorporates the recommendations decided on by the task force this past fall. The recommendations included retaining the 35 mile-per-hour speed limit and restoring two travel lanes in each direction. Also, due to heavier pedestrian crossings at the intersections at Acoma and Sweetwater, the group requested some traffic signals be added, along with crosswalks.

Cactus Road (north half) from 143rd Avenue to Bullard Avenue: This project includes half street improvements with a median. DMB is the project owner, with the City contributing to median costs. The project is expected to be completed in the spring of 2016.

Greenway Road (Bullard Avenue to Litchfield Road): This project is anticipated to be completed in summer 2016. The project includes intersection dip improvements.

Greenway and Dysart Intersection: This project will improve the existing dip section and is anticipated to be completed prior to Spring Training 2016.

A full closure of the intersection is planned for Friday, January 15 at 7:30 pm through Sunday, January 17 at 8 pm. Following full closure, there will be some finishing work that will require lane restrictions through January 24, pending no weather-related delays.

Neighborhood Grant Program

The Surprise City Council has approved funding to support a new Neighborhood Grant Program that provides eligible neighborhoods with small grants to fund neighborhood events, functions or even some community improvements.

Recognizing an opportunity to encourage community engagement and further build strong relationships with communities in Surprise, the city designated $10,000 to support this new grant program.

To be considered, projects must meet the following program criteria:

• Provide a public benefit

• Result in a product, which benefits a neighborhood or the larger Surprise Community

• Be feasible for completion by June 17, 2016

• Involve the benefiting neighborhood in project identification, planning and execution

• Emphasize neighborhood self-help; or be educational, community-building, or a public physical improvement

Additionally, a minimum of 5 neighbors within the residential area must sign the application and support the idea; neighborhoods governed by a homeowner association (HOA) must have HOA approval.

Interested communities should deliver the complete Neighborhood Grant Program application to City Hall, attention Jodi Tas, by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, February 26.

An information session will be held Saturday, January 30 at 9:00 a.m. at Surprise City Hall, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza in the Council Overflow room.

For more information about the grant, visit the Neighborhood Grant Program webpage or contact Jodi Tas, 623.222.1330.

Recent Changes in City Ordinances

On December 4, 2015, the City of Surprise adopted several changes to ordinances related to animal ownership. In an effort to ensure all citizens are made aware of the new changes, the Surprise Police provided the following review of the affected ordinances or city codes.

To begin with, the definition of “at large” was changed in Surprise City Code 10-19. The code also requires a dog owner to contain their pet within a structure (home), an enclosure (fenced rear yard), or restrain and control the animal (leash) at all times. While away from their premises, the dog owner has the same requirements; however, there continues to be an exemption for a dog park.

Within the same city code, there was also a change for homeowners in gated communities. A previous exception stating dogs were not at large anywhere within a gated community has been deleted. At this time, gated communities are treated the same as any other location within the City of Surprise.

Surprise City Code 10-24 also was modified. The code penalizes all owners who: do not get their dog licensed, counterfeit a dog license, remove a valid license from a dog, or place a license for another animal on their dog which is not valid.

Also, the Surprise Police would like to remind citizens of Surprise City Code 10-26. This code states an owner who wants to continue keeping an animal previously declared vicious by a court must obtain liability insurance, have the animal spayed or neutered, and muzzle the animal when taking it off the owner’s premises.

Other changes were also made to Surprise City Code 10-56. The change states an animal found running around a neighborhood may cause the owner to have to pay food and housing charges, if the owner was negligent in allowing the animal to get out. Proof of negligence is more than just a dog getting out – it would come from the dog getting out multiple times or proof the owner is not taking reasonable steps to keep the animal contained.

Additionally, in regard to Surprise City Code 10-79, the code now requires only one person to file a formal complaint with the police about a barking dog prior to enforcement action being taken.

If you have additional questions in regard to these city ordinances, please contact the Surprise Police Department at 623.222.4000.

For more information or to review current Surprise City Ordinances, visit: http://ow.ly/VlWvV

Economic Development Update

The City’s Economic Development Department continues to be busy with inquiries. This past October, they had inquiries from 3 large businesses, 1 small business and 2 for the AZ TechCelerator. There were 2 large business site visits, 12 small business assists and 14 AZ TechCelerator tenant requests.

Cobalt Rehabilitation Hospital held their ribbon cutting and open house on November 19. The hospital will officially open its doors this month. The $17.5 million rehabilitation hospital with 40 beds is specifically designed for treating devastating head injuries that general hospitals may not be equipped to handle. The hospital brings 140 jobs to Surprise! The hospital recently hired Dr. Raj Singh as its medical director. He is also the medical director for the Barrow Neurosurgical Associates NeuroSpine and Rehab Center and the Rehabilitation Institute of Scottsdale.

Great news! Oregano’s is coming to Surprise! I am thrilled to have this popular eatery available for our residents! More details will be available soon!

Oregano’s coming soon sign

Construction will soon begin on a new Honda dealership in Prasada. The company is in the final permitting stages now.

Pet Club is now open at the corner of Greenway and Cotton in District 3.

General Plan Summit

Surprise City Council and Surprise Planning and Zoning Commissioners hosted the 2015 Annual General plan Summit on December 4 at City Hall. Department Directors presented the City’s progress toward achieving the Surprise General Plan 2035 goals and policies, discussed the Economic Development Strategic Plan, provided an update to the OTS Heritage District and conversed about City Monument Gateways.

John Lenio, with the commercial real estate firm CBRE, served as the guest speaker and provided a private sector point of view to Economic Development.

Eric Fitzer speaks at General plan Summit

City Council approved several amendments to some land-use elements of the Surprise General Plan 2035 at the Special Council Meeting on December 19.

Key changes include replacing the Village Plan requirements from the development process, with a “Character Area” approach, to provide more flexibility in establishing land-use concepts and building forms to create a unified city. Wildlife Corridors remain within the conservation element and the overall General Plan. Open space is designated within the land-use element.

Prior to the council vote, Community Development hosted a 60-day review period allowing for public input on the proposed changes and hundreds of you helped via an online survey. Public Hearings were held before the Planning & Zoning Commission and the City Council.

New Parks in Surprise

The City held a ribbon cutting celebration for our two newest parks, Veramonte Community Park and Surprise Farms Park, on November 14. Veramonte Community Park located at 12741 N. 140th Avenue, features restrooms, a splash pad, a parking lot and other new park amenities. Surprise Farms Park, located at the southeast corner of 175th Avenue and Surprise Farms Loop South, features a playground, splash pad, basketball court, skate park, restrooms and other park amenities.

children at play on slash pad children skating at skate park

1st Annual Veterans Day Parade

The City hosted its first inaugural Veterans Day Parade on Wednesday, November 11. There were approximately 70 parade entries and 4,500 attendees. I was extremely proud to walk alongside Debbie Lee who is an accomplished author, public speaker and political activist who has traveled the nation telling her son, Marc Lee’s, amazing story and advocating for our troops, their families and the families of our fallen soldiers. Marc Lee was killed in action and became the first Navy SEAL killed in Iraq in August 2006. Ms. Lee founded America’s Mighty Warriors (AMW). AMW is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization that honors troops, the fallen and their families with programs that improve their quality of life, resiliency and recovery.

623strong was honored to host their 1st Annual America’s Mighty Warriors Challenge fundraiser at DreamCatcher Park on Veterans Day. This competition is unlike any other and represents the heart and dedication of what AMW stands for and strives to instill in the community. The female and male winner of this cross fit style competition had the honor of riding with Debbie Lee in the Surprise Veterans Day parade.

Surprise Dial-A-Ride

With demand for the City’s Dial-A-Ride service increasing, the City Council recently voted to fund an increase in the number of weekday trips offered by the service.

These additional funds have increased the weekday trip cap from 140 to 160 one-way trips per day through the close of the fiscal year in June. A request to sustain the increase will be submitted to the City Council during the FY2017 budget process.

This increase comes after the recent announcement that Surprise Dial-A-Ride now offers holiday service, which is capped at 30 one-way trips per day.

Dial-A-Ride’s regular hours of operation are Monday through Saturday, 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays have a cap of 30 one-way trips.

As a reminder, Dial-A-Ride offers advanced reservations. Certified ADA, seniors and others with disabilities can schedule advance reservations up to 14 days prior to the trip. To make an appointment for Dial-A-Ride service, please call 602.266.8723.

All Dial-A-Ride service requirements remain the same and can be viewed at www.surpriseaz.gov/dialaride.

Spring Training

The 14th annual Surprise Spring Training Season will kick off on Wednesday, Mar. 2 at the Surprise Recreation Campus – The Campus of Champions – featuring Surprise’s home teams: the Kansas City Royals – 2015 World Series Champion and Texas Rangers – 2015 American League Western Division Champion.

The box office is now open! Tickets can also be purchased over the phone with Tickets.com at 888.755.2583 or online at www.surprisespringtraining.com. Service charges may apply to online and phone orders.

Individual tickets and season packages are available. Individual game ticket prices range from $8 in the lawn to $30 in the premium lower dugout and include free parking. Four premium games (see schedule below) have been designated with individual ticket pricing ranging from $13-$35.

Ticket packages available include Full Season, Home Team Half Season, and Home Team 7-Packs. All packages include priority seating and VIP Parking. Full Season and Half Season packages include a VIP season ticket reception.

For questions or more information, please check our website at www.surprisespringtraining.com or call 623.222.2222.

2016 Spring Training Schedule
*Schedule subject to change | Premium Games

Mar 2 Texas Rangers vs. Kansas City Royals 1:05 p.m.
Mar 3 Texas Rangers vs. Kansas City Royals 1:05 p.m.
Mar 4 Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Texas Rangers 1:05 p.m.
Mar 5 Chicago White Sox vs. Kansas City Royals 1:05 p.m.
Mar 6 Seattle Mariners vs. Texas Rangers 1:05 p.m.
Mar 7 San Francisco Giants vs. Texas Rangers 1:05 p.m.
Mar 8 Colorado Rockies vs. Kansas City Royals 1:05 p.m.
Mar 9 Milwaukee Brewers vs. Kansas City Royals 1:05 p.m.
Mar 10 Chicago White Sox vs. Texas Rangers 1:05 p.m.
Mar 11 Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Kansas City Royals 1:05 p.m.
Mar 12 Oakland Athletics vs. Texas Rangers 1:05 p.m.
Mar 13 Cleveland Indians vs. Kansas City Royals 1:05 p.m.
Mar 14 Chicago White Sox vs. Kansas City Royals 1:05 p.m.
Mar 15 Cleveland Indians vs. Texas Rangers 1:05 p.m.
Mar 16 Chicago Cubs vs. Kansas City Royals 1:05 p.m.
Mar 17 Milwaukee Brewers vs. Texas Rangers 6:05 p.m.
Mar 18 Los Angeles Angels vs. Kansas City Royals 1:05 p.m.
Mar 19 Seattle Mariners vs. Kansas City Royals 1:05 p.m.
Mar 20 Los Angeles Angels vs. Texas Rangers 1:05pm
Mar 21 Colorado Rockies vs. Texas Rangers 1:05 p.m.
Mar 22 Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Kansas City Royals 6:05 p.m.
Mar 23 Chicago Cubs vs. Texas Rangers 1:05 p.m.
Mar 24 Cincinnati Reds vs. Texas Rangers 1:05 p.m.
Mar 25 San Diego Padres vs. Texas Rangers 6:05 p.m.
Mar 26 Oakland Athletics vs. Kansas City Royals 1:05 p.m.
Mar 27 Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Texas Rangers 1:05 p.m.
Mar 28 San Diego Padres vs. Kansas City Royals 1:05 p.m.
Mar 29 San Francisco Giants vs. Kansas City Royals 6:05 p.m.
Mar 30 Kansas City Royals vs. Texas Rangers 12:05 p.m.

Shop Surprise!

Please remember that when you choose to shop in Surprise, you are helping shape our community. The money you spend here, stays here. In fact, local sales tax makes up nearly 40% of the city’s General Fund revenues. This money is used for Surprise Police, Surprise Fire-Medical, street maintenance and our parks!

Shop Surprise

Registration for Youth Sports Programs is open

Registration is open through Jan. 23 for a variety of City of Surprise youth sports programs, including softball, tee-ball and baseball.

The final registration day, Jan. 23, is a special Saturday registration, which will be held from 8-11 a.m. at the Community and Recreation Services office, located at 15960 N. Bullard Ave. Normal office hours are Monday – Friday, 8a.m. to 5p.m. Registration can also be completed online at www.surpriseaz.gov/recreation.

The following sports are open for registration:

Babe Ruth Girls Softball League (Girls, 7–16 years old) – Teaches the game of softball in the spirit of sportsmanship, fun and wholesome competition. An emphasis is placed on the development of skills and the value of teamwork.

12U, 14U & 16U participants will undergo a skills evaluation to be drafted to a team. The skills evaluation will be held Saturday, Feb. 27. Age is determined on or before December 31, 2016.

Cal Ripken Youth Tee-ball – NEW 4-5 year old division! (Boys and Girls, 4 – 6 years old) – The road to the “Big Leagues” starts here! The Cal Ripken tee-ball program will offer separate 4-5 year old and 5-6 year old divisions. Participants will have the opportunity to learn the basic fundamentals and skills associated with the game of baseball in an atmosphere where participation and fun are top priority. Age is determined on or before April 30, 2016.

Cal Ripken Baseball League (Boys and Girls, 7-12 years old) – This league will concentrate highly on instruction and will emphasize the development of fundamental skills over wins and losses. Participants registered in the Major (10-12) American League 46/60 or National League 50/70 division will undergo a skills evaluation and will be drafted to a team. The skills evaluation will be held Saturday, Feb. 27. Age is determined on or before April 30, 2016.

The City of Surprise welcomes you to volunteer for the upcoming Spring Sports Season. The Community and Recreation Services Department is dedicated to providing our volunteers the information and confidence they need to have a fun and successful season. If you are interested, please complete a volunteer application at the Community and Recreation Services Office.

For registration or program fee information, please contact the Sports Division at 623.222.2000 or visit www.surpriseaz.gov/recreation.

Opinion Piece

Being a school administrator and working in education for the last few decades, I’ve personally witnessed the effect that social media has had on students. Students have more information at their fingertips now than ever before. Think about this – According to Pew Research Center, 73% of wired American teens (ages 12-17) utilize social networking sites! While the ease of mobile social media can be utilized as an educational tool and assist with our youth’s studies, it is also damaging. It has been used as a haven for bullying and utilized for schools, specifically colleges, as a source for viewing applicants’ online profiles.

Social media is also distracting! According to CommonSense Media, a nonprofit group that studies children’s use of technology, 69% of American high schools have banned use or even possession of mobile devices on school grounds.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the danger of social media as well. Schools and parents need to continue to monitor, to the best of our abilities, the social networking sites of our youth not only because it distracts them for their schoolwork but to also keep them safe!

In closing, I wish you and your families a wonderful, safe, happy, healthy new year!

My best,

Councilman John Williams
District 3