Events & Meetings
City beefs up human services support with new department; new Deputy City Manager
City Manager Bob Wingenroth today announced key changes in the City’s organizational structure that support City Council policies to better engage with residents and improve overall quality of life.
The City’s newly-created Human Service and Community Vitality Department will be led by Michael Celaya, who has served as the City’s Intergovernmental Relations Director since 2008. The new department will house the Neighborhood Services Division, Senior Services Division and Grants Administration.
Wingenroth also welcomed Nicole Lance to the City. She will serve as Deputy City Manager, with responsibility for Government and Community Partnerships (formerly Intergovernmental Relations). In her new role, Lance will serve as the City’s liaison with other cities, state, county and federal government agencies and present legislative goals and updates to the City Council. Lance will also work to build on the City’s partnerships with our schools, Luke Air Force Base, the Chamber of Commerce, non-profits, faith-based and community organizations. Lance’s first day with the City will be February 9.
Legacy Traditional School Breaks Ground
I attended the groundbreaking for Legacy Traditional School’s Surprise campus on Tuesday morning. The K-8 charter school campus will be located on 12 acres within the City’s Marley Park community. Legacy Traditional School District is “A”-rated and currently educates more than 8000 students on eight campuses. The Surprise campus will have capacity for 1200 students.
Job fairs for teaching positions are planned for next week, and the first parent meeting is scheduled for February 5. The school will open in Fall 2015. Learn more at http://surprise.legacytraditional.org/.
Grand & Bell / Grand & 303 Meeting Update
The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) hosted a public meeting on Jan. 27 in Sun City Grand to discuss the transportation projects at Grand Ave. & Bell Rd. and Grand Ave. & Loop 303.
Residents had an opportunity to talk with engineers, planners and sound abatement specialists for the projects. ADOT also delivered a presentation that covered the anticipated construction timelines for the two projects and artist renderings of the Grand Ave & Bell Rd. Traffic Interchange.
The presentation and a simulation video that shows what it will be like to drive on the interchange is available here: http://azdot.gov/projects/phoenix-metro-area/us-60-(grand-avenue)-and-bell-road-interchange
ADOT also recorded the presentation and will have the video available on their website in the coming weeks.
Surprise Small Business Forum Recap
I stopped by the Surprise Small Business Forum at the City’s AZ TechCelerator business incubator on Jan. 27 and was excited to see local business owners and entrepreneurs taking advantage of the opportunity to learn from various small business experts.
Attendees heard from representatives from the IRS, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and the accounting field. Topics included recordkeeping, tax scams, separating business expenses, accounting do’s and don’ts, and the functions of the SBA – including access to capital, training, advocacy and disaster assistance. AZ TechCelerator Manager Julie Neal also gave an overview of the City’s business incubator program.
Stay tuned for information on a Small Business Academy that will launch in March.
For more information on the AZ TechCelerator, you can visit http://aztechcelerator.com/.
Committee for Water Resource Planning Meeting
The Committee for Water Resource Planning, previously known as the Council Water Sub-committee, met with City staff on Thursday, Jan. 22 to discuss the City’s Water Acquisition Policy, Land Use Water Management Policy and a statewide mutual assistance program between water and wastewater utilities.
Staff presented an amendment to the draft Water Acquisition Policy that addressed minimum asset balances. These minimums will ensure that the City has enough water “banked” for times such as for major droughts, when renewable sources are not available. The amendment will be presented to the full City Council sometime in February.
Staff also asked the Committee for its guidance on the Land Use Water Management Policy, which supports the water position during development and growth. The Committee agreed that the General Plan was the best place for water-related development language and recommended that the policy be incorporated into the plan.
Lastly, staff provided the Committee with an overview of AZWARN – a mutual assistance network, specifically for the water/wastewater industries, where fellow members can seek out help in times of need.
Partnership could bring Water/wastewater classes to Surprise
On Jan. 8, a meeting was held to discuss the possibility of the City partnering with Gateway Community College to bring classes in their Water Resources Technology curriculum to Surprise. I attended the meeting, along with Vice Mayor Williams, Councilmember Winters, members of City management and representatives from Gateway Community College.
The City offered to allow Gateway the use of the City’s water and wastewater facilities to create a “teaching hospital” concept for the water/wastewater industry. Specifics of the agreement are yet to be determined, however, the goal of this partnership is to offer graduating high school seniors the ability to choose a career path that would have them entering the work force in an established field earlier than if they were to go to a traditional four-year college.
Public Arts Master Plan Meeting
I attended the Public Arts Master Plan Input Meeting on Wednesday night at Arts HQ. The interactive meeting asked residents to give their input on what art should be in Surprise, where it should be located, what potential partners should the City consider, and more. The input will be used to create the City’s first ever Public Arts Master Plan and there’s still a chance to share your thoughts! You’re invited to take a survey at www.surpriseaz.gov/publicarts. Please take some time to tell us what you think. The survey deadline is February 16.
Surprise Citizen Corp Council meeting
The Surprise Citizen’s Corp Council met on Jan. 28 to discuss the development of bylaws and how best to grow the council membership. The Citizen’s Corp Council is in place to guide the formation of a Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) team. CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. CERT members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community. Once the team is in place, they will work with the community year-round, helping with community emergency plans, neighborhood exercises, preparedness outreach, fire safety education and workplace safety.
I serve on the Citizen’s Corp Council, along with Nancy Collins, resident; George Busch, Citizen’s Patrol Volunteer; Police Sergeant Tim Klarkowski; Fire Battalion Chief Dan Gromer; and, Fire Captain Renee Hamblin.
We are excited to announce that the first training classes for residents interested in becoming part of the CERT team are coming soon. I will have more details for you in the next couple of weeks.
Did You Know?
Celebrity Flag Football Challenge hits Surprise Super Bowl Weekend!
Did you know that Surprise is hosting a Celebrity Flag Football Challenge this weekend? The all-star lineup includes NFL alumni favorites like Daunte Culpepper and Doug Flutie, as well as boxing legend Evander Holyfield and more than 20 other pro-athletes and celebrities. You can get more information online at www.surpriseaz.gov/specialevents or by calling 623.222.2222.
Bell Rd. Median Construction Begins Next Week
Next week, construction crews will begin altering the median on Bell Road, just east of the El Mirage Road intersection to provide new access.
By removing a section of the median, motorists exiting businesses on the south side of Bell Road will be able to cross over the eastbound lanes of Bell and turn onto the westbound lanes of Bell.
You can expect lane restrictions on Bell Rd. in both directions throughout the duration of the work, which is expected to take 3 weeks.
Mark Your Calendars
January Artwalk on Dysart, Jan. 31
This free event at the newly renovated WHAM West Gallery offers displays in acrylics, oils, clay photography, wearable art and much more!
10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
WHAM West Gallery & Shop
16560 N. Dysart Rd
Surprise, AZ 85378
3rd Annual Surprise Fine Art & Wine Festival, Feb. 6-8
Thunderbird Artists host a festival for artists to exhibit and sell their work, and for art buyers to make a direct connection to the artists and the vast selection of art.
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Surprise Recreation Campus
15940 N. Bullard Ave.
Admission is $3; or $10 for a Wine Tasting Ticket with souvenir glass.
Second Sundays in the Park Concert, Feb. 8
The Second Sunday in the Park series is currently underway. Enjoy a free concert from Retirement Rocks at the Surprise Community Park! Bring a picnic or purchase food from one of the onsite vendors, and enjoy the show!
2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
15953 N. Bullard Ave