Tag Archives: veterans

July 18, 2019 • D3 Quarterly Newsletter

Temperatures are remaining high and so is the desire to lounge poolside or head to the lake. While you are relaxing or cooling off, don’t forget how easy it is for little ones to slip into the water without being noticed. In June, Mayor Skip Hall proclaimed June, July and August, Drowning Prevention Awareness Season. According to the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona website, June through August are peak times for child drownings. Between 2010 and 2015, the leading cause of death for children ages 1-4 was drowning. This statistic is alarmingly high, and I certainly hope to see a decline, since drownings are nearly 100% preventable. Watch all around water!

Mayor Hall presents the proclamation for Drowning Prevention Awareness Season.
Pictured: Mayor Skip Hall, Asst. Fire Chief Brendan Espie

The Surprise Parks and Recreation Department offers several different swimming classes, starting as young as six months. There are two sessions in August. The first session takes place August 5 – 15, and the second session runs from August 19 – 29. Fees for Surprise residents start at $25 per swimmer. For more information, please call the Surprise Aquatic Center at 623-222-2500 or visit www.surpriseaz.gov/aquatics.

Celebrating Our Military

I was able to attend several ceremonies that were held all over Surprise for Memorial Day. These events honor military members who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. I would like to thank everyone who worked so diligently to ensure the events were successful.

It was humbling to attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the Veterans Reflection Circle that will honor the late Surprise resident Brian Mancini. This memorial represents all of his work with veterans, as well as it symbolizes all military members and their individual sacrifices. The grand opening is scheduled for this Veterans Day.

The 36th Annual 4th of July celebration was a wonderful tribute to our country’s independence. Mark Coronado Park was full of residents enjoying the array of food trucks and games. Live music played to keep everyone mingling and moving. The fireworks display had everyone’s attention, as it lit up the night sky.

Surprise Youth

The Surprise Youth Entrepreneurship Boot Camp allowed 13 students to present their ideas and talents to a panel of judges. The teens utilized the AZ TechCelerator business incubator to identify and develop a new product or service to address community needs. The winning team consisted of four students: Dylan Tluczek and Bryan Main, both home-schooled, Prince Alino of Paradise Honors High School and Gabby Roberts of Valley Vista High School (all pictured below). They presented an idea for a peer-to-peer tutoring service called TutorFLY. This online and app focused business would connect students to others who are able to help them with academic goals.

Participants of the AZ TechCelerator Surprise Youth Entrepreneurship Boot Camp display their certificates.

Economic Development Update

The City of Surprise is constantly growing and changing. We have had the privilege of welcoming several new businesses in the past couple of months.

Dysart Unified School District (DUSD) has opened Growing Minds Preschool. This latest addition to the DUSD focuses on core academic areas as well as arts and athletics. They offer a creative curriculum with hands on learning and fun. Growing Minds is located at 17999 W. Surprise Farms Loop S. They are now open and enrolling children, aged 2-5, in half-day or full-day programs. Please visit www.GrowingMindsPreschool.org for more information and registration links.

Mucho burrito is now open. Located at 14345 W. Bell Road, this new fresh Mexican grill has a variety of selections to choose from. They pride themselves on delivering authentic food that is free of artificial preservatives and fake flavors.

Marley Park is expanding and beginning development on their newest homes. Meritage Homes is offering 4 models that range from 1900 square feet up to 2500 square feet. The community will boast BBQ grills, ramadas, a community pool, playground, fitness stations, a clubhouse and dog park. Many homes will be move-in ready by October. The sales center is open seven days a week and is located at 14340 W. Andora Street.

The Hilton Garden Inn, located at 16601 N. Stadium Way, is open for business. This 124-room full service hotel is the first one in Surprise. It offers complimentary Wi-Fi and a business center. There is an onsite restaurant and bar as well as room service and a 24-hour pavilion pantry. The hotel also offers a fitness center and pool. There is over 1,200 square feet of meeting and event space that is available for public rental.

Mayor Hall and City Councilmembers prepare to cut the ribbon at the Hilton Garden Inn grand opening event.

Ottawa University is nearing its completion of the O’Dell Center for Athletics. This 100,000 square foot indoor activity center will host a 30,000 square foot multi-court gym, fitness center, student lab classrooms and athletic department offices. The athletic center will offer many opportunities for the City of Surprise and Ottawa University to continue their partnership.

A view of the Ottawa University field and dormitory from the O'Dell Center for Athletics.

Community Development

The City of Surprise currently has several District 3 permits under review to include EOS Fitness Sales Center (16995 W. Greenway Road), Prasada Golf Shop (SWC of Cactus Road and Cotton Lane), Prasada Clubhouse (11530 N. Greenwich Blvd), Costco Warehouse (16385 W. Waddell Road), Costco Fuel Center (16345 W. Waddell Road) and Wyngate Apartments (11142 N. 165th Drive).

Avilla Meadows is now available for leasing. This 127 single-family rental home property is located at the northwestern corner of Waddell Road and Reems Road. The complex features one, two and three bedroom homes with high-end amenities to include a pool, hot tub, sun deck and fire pit.

Public Works Update

Traffic signals will be installed at the Cactus and Sarival intersection by the end of August. This will require a reconfiguration of the traffic lanes on the north section of Sarival/Cactus intersection to ensure traffic crossing is lined up with the signals.

The Toll Brothers Development has begun road widening construction on Peoria Road from Cotton Lane to 175th Ave. This will result in half-street restrictions until mid-September.

Various developers are planning improvements on the west side of Cotton between Waddell and Cactus, which will require improvements to Cotton as well as the construction of Sweetwater Ave between 175th and Cotton. There is no timeline set as of yet.

APS, EPCOR, Southwest Gas and other utility companies have planned right-of-way projects throughout Surprise in the coming months. The city works closely with these contractors to establish safe traffic control that minimizes impacts to traffic as much as possible.

I understand the frustrations that come along with road construction, and I appreciate the overall understanding and patience.

Parks and Recreation Update

The Dick McComb Dog Park lighting project has been completed. This allows residents use of the facility until 10:00 p.m. The Surprise Tennis and Racquet Complex is in the process of lighting the remaining courts. This project will be completed in early fall.

The Surprise Aquatic Center will host its final Dive-In Movie of the summer on August 17. Relax poolside or in the water and enjoy Dumbo on the big screen. Gates will open at 6:00 p.m. and residents will only pay $5! Concessions will be available for purchase.

A night of competitive Bubble Soccer will be the highlight of your teen’s September. On September 21, from 5:00-9:00 p.m., come to Mark Coronado Park for the Bubble Soccer Tournament. Get your teams together now with prices starting at $10 for residents.

Movie night is coming back to Mark Coronado Park. The first movie of the season will be Wonder Park. It will show on the big screen at 7:00 p.m. on September 28. Admission is always free, and concessions will be available for purchase.

Sunday in the Park Food Truck Festival is coming back in September! Live music will fill the air while food trucks fill the park. Come to Mark Coronado Park on September 15 from 4:00-8:00 p.m.

Surprise Fiesta Grande is a street festival with authentic Mexican Food, classic car shows, kids zone, music and live entertainment. It will be held in the Original Town Site on Saturday, October 12 from 5:00-10:00 p.m.

Back to School

School is back in session! Paradise Honors Elementary School will host a Meet the Teacher night on Tuesday, July 30. All Paradise Honors schools will start on Wednesday, July 31. Dysart Unified School District will hold Meet the Teacher night for K-8 schools on Friday, August 2. Dysart High School Open House will be on Monday, August 5. All Dysart schools will begin on Tuesday, August 6.

Closing

As a reminder, City Council agendas are posted online at www.surpriseaz.gov/agendas at least two business days before the meeting. City Council meets the first and third Tuesdays of each month. Work Sessions are at 4 p.m. and Regular Meetings begin at 6 p.m. All meetings are carried live on Surprise TV for cable customers and streamed online at www.surpriseaz.gov/surpriseTV.

I hold a monthly meet and greet at Jim’s Burgers and Eggs from 8:00-10:00 a.m. on the first Saturday of every month. If you have questions, comments or concerns please stop by and chat with me.

June 4, 2019 • D3 Quarterly Newsletter

Summer is quickly approaching. As we wrap up the spring season, I hope everyone had an opportunity to attend a Spring Training game, the State of the City, Taste of Surprise, the Egg-stravaganza and other city-hosted events.

The Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce Convening Breakfast, hosted on March 1, allowed me and fellow councilmembers to meet with other local Mayors and connect with community leaders, stakeholders and business owners. We were able to learn and discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the business community as well as build networks.

In honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday, I was able to read in two different classrooms at Countryside Elementary School. I would like to thank the staff, teachers and students for the invitation and allowing me the opportunity to participate.

The National League of Cities Conference (NLC) was held in Washington D.C., and I was honored to be able to attend on behalf of our city. During the trip, I had several productive meetings focusing on the city’s priorities. I was able to meet with important members of our congressional delegation, including Senators Sinema and McSally’s office: Congressman Stanton, who sits on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee; Congressman Gosar; and Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick’s staff. Additionally, I met with U.S. Department of Transportation Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Legislative Affairs, Anthony Bedell. Also, I was able to meet with seven of the West Valley cities and U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to discuss regional routes of significance and to gain DOT’s support and insight. This experience allowed me to bring educational information back that we can use to focus on our city’s success and future.

The State of the City and City Hall 10 Year Anniversary Celebration was held on March 28. This event brought residents and elected officials together to watch a State of the City video in the Council Chambers before enjoying festivities in the courtyard. The festivities included music and food, as well as a showcase of city departments. Residents were able to get department updates while enjoying the night air.

The Grand Avenue and Bell Road bridge was renamed to Veterans Bridge on April 26. The celebration brought Governor Doug Ducey, Congresswoman Debbie Lesko, and Senator Rick Gray, as well as other elected officials, to our beautiful city. This event was a gathering for many veterans to mingle and be recognized for their service and dedication to our country. This bridge acknowledges the men and women of our Armed Forces past, present and future. The City of Surprise welcomes Veterans and offers many resources for them.

Economic Development Update

Over the past few months, our city has welcomed two new health care businesses. The Avenir Behavioral Health Center, located at 16561 N Parkview Place, celebrated their ribbon cutting in March. This behavioral health center offers private and semi-private rooms for patients aged 65 or older. They specialize in psychiatric and medical evaluations with individualized treatment plans. They support calming and soothing environments with a personalized care approach.

The Colonnade New Assisted Living/Memory Support Center celebrated their ribbon cutting in May. This new facility offers independent, assisted and memory support living. The 40-acre area that spans the heart of Sun City Grand and Surprise boasts a Mediterranean style landscape with exciting settings and countless amenities and social activities.

The City of Surprise also welcomes Primerica Financial Services. The Surprise location marks the 38th office opened for this growing company. Primerica is an insurance and financial services company that specializes in several areas of assistance.

Christian Brothers Automotive is proposing a new 5,495 square foot light automotive repair facility to be placed between Walgreens and Autozone at the northwest corner of Reems and Waddell Roads, while a tractor supply company is proposing a 21,700 square foot retail building just south of the Fry’s shopping center on Greenway and Cotton.

Councilmember Duffy at the Primerica ribbon cutting

Community Development

Ryder Ranch is currently still in the preliminary stages of planning and developing, however, this new community plans to bring Surprise families together. This family-friendly community will be located between 175th Ave and Cotton Lane, north of Cactus. It will offer many community gathering areas to include tot land, basketball and several green belts.

Hayden Farms Townhomes has formally submitted a final plat and a site plan for a 174-unit townhome development just south of Ryder Ranch on Cotton Lane and Cactus Road.

The Toll Brothers project has changed its name to Sterling Grove and has submitted the clubhouse site plan.

The City of Surprise is rapidly growing and expanding from new businesses and restaurants to many new homes. As we welcome the newcomers, city staff are working diligently to ensure we provide safe and reasonable accommodations. Our city is moving forward with the ever-changing growth, and I look forward to the future of Surprise.

Public Works Update

The new Public Works Operations Facility, which will be located on the Southwest corner of Cactus Road and Litchfield Road, is well underway with its construction. This facility will bring together Fleet, Streets and Solid Waste Operations within the Public Works Department. Construction is slated for completion in February of 2020.

The widening of Waddell Road from SR303 to Reems Road has completed its design stage and is currently preparing for the construction phase. The construction is scheduled to start soon with a completion of summer 2020.

As with Waddell Road, Litchfield Road widening has also completed its design stage. The scheduled construction will include Litchfield Road from Waddell Road to Peoria Avenue. This project will begin this fall and finish in summer 2020.

CRS Update

The Dick McComb dog park light installation project is nearing completion. The addition of lights will allow residents to utilize the park later in the evening during the summer. The Surprise Tennis and Racquet Complex will also be lighting the remaining courts which will allow our staff to maximize the facility for programming, leagues and tournaments.

The Asante Library construction is underway and will be complete by the end of the year with a grand opening planned for January 2020. This new library will serve our growing city for years to come.

The 36th Annual 4th of July Celebration events will be held at Mark Coronado Park this year, due to renovations at the Surprise Stadium. This annual celebration features music, food and fun. Don’t forget your chairs and blankets for the showcase of fireworks that are sure to light up the evening sky as we salute our nation’s Independence Day. The gates will open at 5:30 p.m. with fireworks starting at 8:40 p.m.

Finance Update

The Recommended Budget continues to focus on the Council’s commitment to maintain quality public services and infrastructure our residents value most, while also addressing the needs of our growing community. It remains important that public safety services keep pace with the city’s growth to ensure our community remains safe and secure. The FY2020 Recommended Expenditure Budget is $414 million and includes $106.3 million for voter approved General Obligation (GO) Bond projects in the areas of Public Safety, Traffic Congestion Mitigation, and Pavement Preservation. These projects will be spread over four more years, but significant progress will show this fiscal year with the completion of the Public Works Yard, Fire Station 304 and Pavement Preservation scheduled for the end of 2020. These projects are investments in our city and reflect our city’s commitment to address growth while maintaining a responsible fiscal approach when allocating resources. The recommended budget goes to Council for action tonight (6/4) during a 6 p.m. Special Meeting. Come out and be part of the process, or check www.surpriseaz.gov tomorrow for news on the final, adopted budget.

Water Resource Management

In September 2015, EPCOR was required to file a rate case for all Arizona water districts, according to Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) Decision #75268. EPCOR filed it August 2017. Seventeen months later, the ACC failed to reach a decision and the ACC Chairman ordered EPCOR to file for Interim Rates. Interim Rates were approved March 28, 2019, effective April 1, 2019, and the ACC also ordered EPCOR to file a new water rate case. City of Surprise residents in the Agua Fria water district will see a credit on their bills. The credit is calculated based on the amount of water customers personally use, and the district where they live and receive service. The interim rate surcharge is in effect until a decision on new, permanent rates is made. EPCOR is required to file a new rate case by May 1, 2020 and a decision is expected to be made in mid-2021.

Customers can also take advantage of EPCOR’s ongoing and new customer assistance programs. Effective April 1, any eligible water customer who has a monthly household income at 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or lower may receive a $10 monthly credit. If you’re an EPCOR customer and you’re away from home protecting our country’s freedoms, there’s a program designed to help give you some extra peace of mind at home. Active-duty service members who are away from their homes serving the United States, and who meet the program’s eligibility requirements, may have their monthly water bill waived while on deployment. Once you return home from deployment, your bill for service will resume.

EPCOR also offers a program to assist disabled American veterans with a $10 credit on their monthly water bill. If you are a disabled veteran, you can sign up as long as you can show proof through proper documentation and have an EPCOR account. Even if you’re already receiving EPCOR’s low income assistance credit, you can still qualify to receive this new monthly credit.

For more details on these programs, please visit EPCOR’s at https://epcor.com/assistance.

Things to do this summer

The City of Surprise offers various activities at the Surprise Aquatic Center and Hollyhock Community Pools, which are now officially open! Be sure to enjoy as many of the special water events as possible, such as the 4th of July Pool Party and the Dive-in Movies, plus many more.

Summer sports camp registration has begun, however, it’s not too late to sign up. The City of Surprise offers Softball, Baseball, Basketball, Volleyball, Football and Cheerleading camps. For more availability and registrations, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov.

Closing

The City of Surprise is breaking ground on an outdoor memorial in honor of the late Surprise resident and combat wounded veteran Brian Mancini, who spent his life serving his country and helping other wounded veterans find healing. The indoor ceremony will begin at 9:00 a.m. on June 24 at the Northwest Regional Library, 16089 N. Bullard Ave, followed by the outdoor ground breaking.

As a reminder, City Council agendas are posted online at www.surpriseaz.gov/agendas at least two business days before the meeting. City Council meets the first and third Tuesdays of each month. Work Sessions are at 4 p.m. and Regular Meetings begin at 6 p.m. All meetings are carried live on Surprise TV for cable customers and streamed online at www.surpriseaz.gov/surpriseTV.

Surprise Public Safety launches veteran preference recruitment policy

The City of Surprise Fire-Medical and Police Departments now offer preference points for military service veterans applying as firefighter and police recruits.

Veterans, those that were on active military duty for at least six months, will be awarded an extra five points to their passing entrance recruitment exam score.

To qualify for the extra points, veteran candidates must have been honorably discharged from military service.

“These brave men and women served and protected our country; this policy is one way we can say thank you,” says Fire-Medical Chief Tom Abbott.

“Helping to employ our nation’s veterans is the right thing to do and we hope this policy in some way honors their service,” add Police Chief Terry Young.

For additional information on eligibility visit the recruitment pages of Surprise Fire-Medical and Surprise Police at www.surpriseaz.gov and click on the Public Safety Veterans Recruitment link.