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
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
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.
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.
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!