January 29, 2016 • Newsletter

Transportation Update

The city is currently working on several significant transportation improvement projects to meet the needs of our expanding city. The various projects range from constructing additional lanes, to paving new areas, to enhancing safety through new medians. To help guide our residents, especially taking into account the upcoming Bell Road/Grand Avenue intersection project, the city has created a 2016 transportation projects map for your reference. This map focuses on the areas where the work is happening and their expected timelines. A picture of the map is located below or you can find it at www.surpriseaz.gov/transportation.

2016 Transportation Projects Map
city of Surprise 2016 Transportation Projects

The following projects are currently underway:

Original Town Site (OTS) Infrastructure Improvement: This project will replace old asphalt with pulverized asphalt in the OTS. The project began in December 2015 and is scheduled to conclude February 2016.

Cactus Road (north half) from 140th Avenue to Bullard Avenue: This project includes half street improvements with a median. DMB (Marley Park developer) is the project owner, with the City contributing to median costs. The project is underway and is expected to conclude in spring 2016.

Waddell Road Median (Litchfield Road to 1200 feet west): Work to add a landscaped median west of Litchfield Road began in January 2016 and is expected to run through February 2016.

Peoria Avenue (Reems Road to Sarival Avenue): Project will provide two travel lanes in the westbound direction. Lennar has started construction, which is expected to conclude in February 2016.

Greenway Road (Bullard Avenue to Litchfield Road): Project will add an additional lane in each direction. This project began in January 2016. Work is scheduled to conclude in June 2016, weather permitting.

The following are upcoming projects:

Cactus Road (south side) from Litchfield Road to Rail Road Tracks & Litchfield Road (east side) from Cactus Road to Desert Cove Road: The project will provide two travel lanes in one direction along Cactus (eastbound) and Litchfield (northbound). Construction is expected to begin in February 2016.

Landscaping Median (various locations): The project 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 feet)

Construction is expected to begin in March/April 2016 with the individual sections prioritized as listed above.

Peoria Avenue (south side) from Greer Ranch Parkway to Reems Road: The project will provide two travel lanes in the eastbound direction. Construction will begin in April 2016.

Additionally, the Arizona Department of Transportation is managing several major improvement projects in and around the city. Loop 303 interchange connections at both U.S. 60 (Grand Ave) and El Mirage Road are expected to be completed this summer. Early work on the Bell Road bridge, which will carry traffic over Grand Avenue and the adjacent railway tracks, has begun with utility relocation. The project is scheduled to conclude over the next 14 months (in spring 2017). The full closure of Bell Road between 134th Avenue and West Point Parkway is scheduled to begin April 1 and will be in place for 6 – 8 months. For more information on this project, please visit www.azdot.gov/bellandgrand or you can call ADOT’s project hotline at 1.855.712.8530.

All project timelines are weather permitting. Please note, this list does not include regular (short duration) pavement preservation and maintenance or sidewalk maintenance projects.


Budget Discussions

Budget discussions will soon begin! Budget Manager Jared Askelson and Finance Director Lindsey Duncan will kick-off the discussions next week by providing the City Council with the Fiscal Year 2017 budget review of operating revenue at this upcoming City Council meeting on Tuesday, February 2 beginning at 6 p.m.


Events & Meetings

Valley Metro RPTA Board Meeting

On Thursday, January 21, I attended the Valley Metro RPTA meeting. Former Mesa Mayor Scott Smith was hired as Valley Metro’s interim CEO to help guide Valley Metro as we work to find a permanent replacement. Mr. Smith will officially fill the interim position on February 1.

Scott Smith spent 25 years in public accounting as a certified public accountant. He also served as the Mayor of Mesa from 2008 until 2014. He is well known for his advocacy of the light-rail expansion.

HOA Road Tour

As part of my promise to communicate to my constituents and the community regarding the upcoming Bell Road/Grand Avenue intersection project, I attended several HOA meetings this week, including the communities of Kingswood Parke, Litchfield Manor and West Point. I will continue the District 5 HOA tour to discuss the project with City staff and ADOT representation and keep all my constituents aware of any updates through my newsletter and webpage.

Bell & Grand project detour map

West Point HOA Meeting January 2016

Dysart Unified School District Tour

On Friday, January 22, the Dysart Unified School District hosted a community tour of three of the twenty-four schools. Vice Mayor Biundo and Councilmembers Todd Tande, Roland Winters and I took part in this educational and informative excursion.

We first visited Canyon Ridge Elementary School where we experienced how the schools are adopting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum into project based teaching before visiting Valley Vista High School. At Valley Vista, we were led by student leaders who showed us the importance of Career and Technical Education through the law enforcement, fire sciences, and culinary programs. Our group was also treated to a rousing musical rendition from the play “Hamilton” where the choir was utilizing hip hop to share the experiences of our Founding Fathers before being treated to lunch by the exemplary culinary arts program. The conclusion of the tour was at Luke Elementary where we witnessed how students are adopting the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” through their leadership in the community through projects and programs like the Global International Academy.

A special thank you to Dr. Gail Pletnick, the Dysart Unified School District Board of Education and Dysart Communication Director Zachery Fountain for putting together this enlightening experience.

Council tour with students from Luke Elementary School
Part of the tour with students from Luke Elementary School

4th Annual Surprise Fine Art & Wine Festival

Thunderbird Artists and the city hosted the 4th Annual Surprise Fine Art & Wine Festival this past weekend at the Surprise Recreation Campus. The featured artist for the event was Batik artist, Paul Nzalamba. I stopped by the festival on Saturday, January 23, patronized some of the vendors and spoke to several residents. Overall the event continues to grow and is quite successful.

Meeting with Representative Phil Lovas

Deputy City Manager Nicole Lance and I met with Representative Phil Lovas on Monday, January 25 at the State Capitol to discuss two proposed bills he is sponsoring concerning HOAs. I will continue to follow these bills with Mrs. Lance through this current legislative session.

Bullard Avenue Task Force Meeting

City staff provided the Bullard Avenue Task Force with a traffic design plan, funding and project timeline information regarding Bullard Avenue, from Greenway to Peoria avenues, during a public meeting on Monday, January 25. Councilmembers Todd Tande, Rachel Villanueva and I were in attendance.

The city worked with a grant-funded Safe Routes to School design team to create a plan that incorporates the Task Force’s recommendations to retain the 35 mile-per-hour speed limit and restore two travel lanes in each direction. Also, due to heavier pedestrian crossings at the intersections at Acoma and Sweetwater, traffic signals will be added to complement existing crosswalks.

Since the beginning of the school year, staff research indicates the number of students crossing Bullard Road has dramatically increased, with as many as 600 students crossing per school day.

The city has secured $1.55 million in federal grant dollars, with a nearly $349,000 city match, for a total of $1.9 million to pay for the improvements. Bike lanes and cycle tracks will also be added along the road. Cycle tracks are bicycle lanes with a safety buffer that separates the bike lane from the main vehicular travel lanes. The funding was awarded due to the bike lanes providing multi-model use of the roadway.

Currently, final design will begin in February, with the required Environmental Assessment (EA) expected to be complete by the end of this calendar year, setting a tentative construction start date of fall 2017 and completion in early 2018. The EA is anticipated to take nine months, however construction may begin earlier if the EA is approved sooner.

To further attempt to expedite the construction start, the city is also working to secure year-end Federal Close-out funding through the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) that may push the construction start date up by two to three months.


Mark Your Calendar

Neighborhood Grant Program Information Session

If you are interested in applying for a grant through our Neighborhood Grant Program, please join our Assistant to the Council Jodi Tas and Human Service and Community Vitality Director Seth Dyson for an information session regarding this pilot program to help build community engagement. The session will be held in the City Council Overflow Room (enter through the Mayor’s Atrium) on Saturday, January 30 at 9 a.m.

Surprise Pops Band

The Surprise Pops band will be performing a free roaring 20’s concert on Saturday, January 30 at 3 p.m. at the Valley Vista Performing Arts Center located at 15550 N. Parkview Place. If you plan on attending, please bring a nonperishable food item for the Valley View Community Food Bank. Doors will open at 2:30 p.m. I hope to see you there!


Did You Know?

New City Website

The city launched a redesigned website, www.surpriseaz.gov, to enhance mobile functionality and make it easier for our users to connect to the information they are seeking. I encourage you to visit the website which now truly captures the beauty of our city.

Thank you to our Communications team led by Director Diane Arthur as they have put numerous hours working to get the website ready and more informative.

Social Media

You can now follow me on Facebook and on Twitter @skiphall2! I look forward to hearing from you!


Contact Me

Office: 623.222.1325
Mobile: 623.451.3975
Email: skip.hall@surpriseaz.gov

Ask a Question

January 22, 2016 • Newsletter

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Interchange Update

With this project beginning to affect our city and District 5, I wanted to focus this newsletter on various aspects of the impending construction including the current utility work, project timeline and much more. This is singlehandedly the most substantial project my district has seen since the construction of the Surprise Stadium and it will significantly impact all of us.

It is my goal to keep you informed throughout the project via District meetings, my newsletter, social media outlets and webpage. Communication is going to be critical during construction and everyone at City Hall understands this key component. Our City Manager Bob Wingenroth is taking considerable measures to ensure you have the information you need, from a resident and business standpoint. Additionally, the city has a designated page, http://www.surpriseaz.gov/bellandgrand, for you to access the latest information.

Surprise is a wonderful city and I am proud to live here and I am honored to serve not only the residents and businesses of District 5 but all the residents in Surprise in my capacity as a Councilmember. City Council is here to support our residents and as a community we need to gather to support our local businesses. Please remember that during construction of this project, our businesses along the Bell Road/Grand Avenue corridor will be OPEN. Please patronize them as this project may create temporary hardships for them and we want to see them succeed.

City staff is working diligently with ADOT to keep the community abreast of the project. Unfortunately, there may be times when the timeline may slightly change due to weather or other things beyond our control. This week, I began an HOA roadshow with staff and ADOT representatives to ensure each HOA in District 5 is aware of updates to the construction project. In the near future, I will be hosting public meetings for anyone to attend, including businesses, where we can discuss the project, answer questions, etc.

On January 15, the Arizona State Transportation Board approved Coffman Specialties Inc.’s proposal to build the Bell Road bridge. Bell Road/Grand Avenue will be a Median Urban Diamond traffic interchange with Bell Road traveling over Grand Avenue and the railroad tracks. This project is utilizing the design-build contracting method, which provides flexibility while the contractor’s designers work hand in hand with the construction team to deliver an improved connection between the two roadways.

Grand Avenue Off-ramp onto Bell Road
Grand Avenue Off-ramp onto Bell Road

Work to relocate utilities near the intersection will require varied daytime and nighttime restrictions on Bell Road now through the month of February. Additional work in the area includes drilling for soil samples related to construction. To lessen the impact on drive-time commutes, daytime work will be limited between the hours of 8:30 am – 3:30 pm. Evening work will be conducted from 9 pm until 5 am. Every effort is being made for relocation work to occur mostly during overnight hours.

The overall construction timeline for this project is 14 months with final completion scheduled in spring 2017. Construction on Grand Avenue is scheduled to begin January 29. Drivers can expect Grand Avenue narrowed to two lanes in each direction from Towne Center to Bell Grande.

The full closure of Bell Road between 134th Avenue and West Point Parkway is scheduled to begin on April 1, after spring training. Bell Road will be entirely closed for up to 8 months to accommodate construction of the bridge.

Once the Bell Road closure begins, 134th Drive will become a cul-de-sac but a new 134th Avenue (from Bell Road) will be created. Access to the businesses in this particular area will be possible during construction off of Dysart Road, until the new 134th Avenue is completed. West Point Parkway will be the main access point for Surprise Marketplace and Surprise Towne Center traveling east on Bell Road. Business access points will also be available via Grand Avenue as well.

This full closure allows the contractor to complete the work more quickly, improves safety for construction workers and motorists, and minimizes traffic impacts during peak travel. ADOT’s project team expects to reopen Bell Road to traffic in time for the holiday shopping season in November 2016. While not all of the work will be completed by that time, reopening Bell Road will allow improved access to businesses in the area.

Any necessary closures of Grand Avenue will primarily be scheduled at night or on weekends. Construction along the Grand Avenue median will set the stage for the addition of the median on- and off-ramps that will connect to the new Bell Road overpass. Most of that heavy construction will conclude by late this year, although drivers can expect restrictions along Grand Avenue through the project’s completion next spring. The work will be done in stages, with the initial work focusing on the center median area and the ramp construction. Later in the schedule, traffic will be switched toward the median to allow construction of the Grand Avenue “through lanes” in the area.

When the full closure of Bell Road is put in place, the primary north-south detour routes will be Dysart Road (east of Grand Avenue) and Litchfield Road (west of Grand Avenue), with Greenway Road serving as the primary east-west detour route. “Soft” closures of Bell Road will be in place at Dysart and Litchfield roads, while local traffic will still be able to travel as far as 134th Avenue on the east side of Grand Avenue and to West Point Parkway west of Grand Avenue.

A detour map is provided for you below as well as the project contact information for ADOT.

Bell and Grand project detour map

ADOT, in partnership with the city, will always work to inform the public about planned project restrictions, however, there is a possibility that unscheduled closures or restrictions may occur.

For more information on this project, please visit azdot.gov/bellandgrand and sign up to receive email updates at azdot.gov. ADOT has set-up a hotline at this project as well (1.855.712.8530).


City Council Meeting

Desert Oasis – Parcel L13B

City Council considered and took action pertaining to the final plat of Desert Oasis Parcel L13B, a 103-lot, 13-tract final plat generally located west of 171st Avenue, north of Jomax Road, within the Desert Oasis Planned Area Development (PAD). The plat is consistent with Surprise General Plan 2035 and with the current Desert Oasis PAD. After no questions during the public hearing, City Council voted unanimously to approve the parcel.


Events & Meetings

Surprise Regional Chamber Breakfast Meeting

Vice Mayor Jim Biundo, Councilman Todd Tande and I attended the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce monthly breakfast meeting on Tuesday, January 19. Chamber President and CEO Raoul Sada provided a State of the Chamber and discussed the key activities including expos, an internship program, Leads groups and much more for this new year.

In addition to Mr. Sada’s presentation, two new Chamber Board Members, Jeremiah Hood and Luke Anderson were introduced. The guest speaker for January was Brock Barnhart, Assistant Communication Director for ADOT, who provided an update on the Bell Road/Grand Avenue Interchange project.

11th Annual Trends Day Conference

Mayor Sharon Wolcott and I attended Urban Land Institute’s Trends Day Conference at the J.W. Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge on Wednesday, January 20. Amongst the topics discussed by industry experts were the economy, creative offices, trends for light rail, the future of retail, the future of water in Arizona, education and jobs.

HOA Meetings

On Wednesday, I attended two HOA meetings to kick-off the Bell/Grand Intersection project update in our community. Councilwoman Rachel Villanueva and I attended the Coyote Lakes HOA Meeting and I later attended the Mountain Vista Ranch HOA meeting with Brock Barnhart, Assistant Communications Director for ADOT, Armando Lopez and Karl Zook with the city’s Public Works Department.


Did You Know?

4th Annual Surprise Fine Art & Wine Festival

Thunderbird Artists and the city have once again partnered for the 4th Annual Surprise Fine Art & Wine Festival this weekend at the Surprise Recreation Campus. The event begins January 22 and lasts through January 24 from 10 am until 5 pm. Admission is $3 and a wine tasting ticket with souvenir glass is $10. The featured artist for the event is Batik artist, Paul Nzalamba.

Social Media

You can now follow me on Facebook and on Twitter @skiphall2! I look forward to hearing from you!


Contact Me

Office: 623.222.1325
Mobile: 623.451.3975
Email: skip.hall@surpriseaz.gov

Ask a Question

January 15, 2016 • Newsletter

Events & Meetings

Water Resource Management All Hands Meeting

Water Resource Management Director Terry Lowe hosted a meeting for the department at our Public Works South Plant on Thursday, January 7. Staff has maintained an excellent safety record so the mood was celebratory. Additionally, input was requested on various new logos for the department and an update for the next quarter was provided by Mr. Lowe.

water resource management meeting January-2016

Surprise Pickleball Reception

I was invited to attend a reception at The Links Grill in Sun Village to kick-off the Tommy Wong Tennis Memorial Tournament in Surprise. Approximately 40 people attended the event.

Surprise Pickleball Association is giving two scholarships, one male and one female, to students who attend Valley Vista High School. I was able to pull the winning high school from a drawing. The scholarship recipients will need to write an essay about the history of pickleball. A special thank you to Marlene Berwald and Jeff Stone for the invitation to participate in this event!

Surprise Rotary Club Meeting

The Surprise Rotary Club met on Thursday, January 7. Surprise City Manager Bob Wingenroth provided the group with a city-wide update. Other discussion included the upcoming Taste of Surprise event which is scheduled for March 9 at Riverboat Acres located at 18300 W. Bell Road.

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Meeting

Almost 300 residents of Sun Village attended a meeting with ADOT Assistant Communications Director Brock Barnhart, Public Works Director Mike Gent and me to discuss updates concerning the upcoming Bell Road/Grand Avenue intersection project that will greatly impact not only the residents and businesses of District 5, but our entire City. The meeting was very informative. ADOT awarded the design build project to Coffman Specialties on January 15, 2016. With the contractor in place, additional specifications of the project can be discussed.

sun village bell grand meeting

ADOT representatives and city staff will be discussing the project in greater detail at the City Council Work Session scheduled for Tuesday, January 19 at 4 pm in the City Council Chamber.

Surprise Veterans Day Parade Recap Meeting

I attended a Surprise Veterans Day Parade re-cap meeting on Friday, January 8 to discuss suggestions on what we can improve upon for next year and what we did right this year. This year’s parade was very successful and we look forward to making the parade an annual event. I’d like to personally thank Debbie Lee, Tomas Garcia and Susan DeJong for their contributions to the meeting. Thank you!


Mark Your Calendar

Shred-a-Thon and Drug Take Back Event

On Saturday, January 23, from 7 until 10 a.m., the Surprise Police Department will be hosting a Shred-a-Thon and Drug Take Back Event at the Surprise Public Safety Building located at 14250 West Statler Plaza.

During the event, members of the public will be able to bring up to 5 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 10 a.m. or until the shred trucks have been filled up.

Bullard Avenue Task Force Meeting

A new traffic design plan for the section of Bullard Avenue between Greenway Road and Peoria Avenue will be presented to the Bullard Avenue Task Force later this month.

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.

The community is invited to attend the meeting, which will be held Monday, Jan. 25, 6 p.m., at the Northwest Regional Library, 16089 N. Bullard Avenue. In addition to discussing the new design plan, staff will share funding options and a projected timeline.

For questions, please contact Mike Gent at mike.gent@surpriseaz.gov or 623.222.6223. For background information on this project, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/bullard.

Surprise Regional Chamber Breakfast Meeting

The Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce will be hosting their monthly meeting on Tuesday, January 19 at 7 a.m. The agenda will include a 2016 update and Bell/Grand intersection project update by ADOT.

College Information Night at Rio Salado College

Students, parents and community members are invited to attend College Information Night at Rio Salado College at the Communiversity at Surprise, 15950 N. Civic Center Plaza on Tuesday, February 23. Presentations are scheduled at 6:30 p.m., 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. For more information, you can call 480.517.8231.


Did You Know?

Road Closure

Work to improve the intersection of Dysart and Greenway Roads will continue this weekend, with a full closure of the intersection planned for Friday, January 15 at 7:30 p.m. through Sunday, January 17 at 8 p.m.

Following the full closure, there will be some finishing work that will require lane restrictions through January 24, pending there are no weather-related delays. This project will improve ride quality in the east and west directions and enhance pedestrian accessibility.

Safety Improvements

Safety improvements continue at Waddell Road. Work to add a landscaped median west of Litchfield Road began on January 6 and is expected to last through February. Motorists can expect reduced speed limits and lane restrictions between Litchfield Road and 140th Drive during construction.

Jamba Juice

Jamba Juice has officially opened at 13732 W. Bell Road, Suite #6. We are thrilled to welcome them to Surprise!

jamba juice store front

Office Closing

City Hall will be closed on Monday, January 18 in honor of Martin Luther King Day.

Social Media

You can now follow me on Facebook and on Twitter @skiphall2! I look forward to hearing from you!

In Closing

With the Bell Road/Grand Avenue project quickly approaching, I strongly encourage you to patronize the businesses that will be affected by the upcoming Bell Road closure. The Bell Road closure will impact their businesses, and the City wants to see them flourish through this time. Thank you so much!


Contact Me

Office: 623.222.1325
Mobile: 623.451.3975
Email: skip.hall@surpriseaz.gov

Ask a Question

January 8, 2016 • Newsletter

City Council Meeting

Rancho Mercado Unit 1 Preliminary Plat

Following a presentation from staff and a public hearing, City Council unanimously approved the preliminary plat entitled “Rancho Mercado Unit 1”. The plat is a 1,897-lot, 19-parcel, 5-phase preliminary plat within the Rancho Mercado Planned Area Development which is located north and south of Happy Valley Road between Bullard Road and Litchfield Road alignments.

The amenities included will provide recreational opportunities for residents of the community and once developed, the population base generated will contribute to enrollment in the local schools while providing incentive to bring much-needed retail to the area. Additionally, significant regional traffic constraints will be addressed by the developer through the construction of Happy Valley Road, both on- and off-site.

FS15-069 Rancho Mercado Unit Map

Appointment of Vice Mayor

Each year, the City Council is required to appoint a Vice Mayor prior to January 30 of that year. This year, Councilman Jim Biundo was unanimously voted as the Vice Mayor for 2016. I look forward to working with Vice Mayor Biundo in this capacity, and I am grateful to Councilman John Williams for his leadership in this role over the past year.

Jim Biundo being sworn in as Vice Mayor

West Valley Pops Band Sponsorship/Name Change

The West Valley POPS band performs free concerts in Surprise and the surrounding community. They collect canned food items which are distributed by the Valley View Community food bank to those in need.

Staff had a preliminary discussion with the West Valley Pops Band regarding a potential sponsorship opportunity, and City Manager Bob Wingenroth presented the opportunity to City Council in December. City Council unanimously approved the sponsorship agreement with the West Valley Pops Band and their name change to the Surprise Pops Band. The annual sponsorship is estimated at $1,500 and would be managed through the City Manager’s budget via general funds.

2016 State Legislative Agenda

Deputy City Manager Nicole Lance discussed the City’s legislative agenda priorities for State Legislators which includes, but is not limited to, fiscal sustainability, economic development, transportation and military preservation.

Surprise Neighborhood Grant Program

City Council unanimously approved the Surprise Neighborhood Grant pilot program for fiscal year 2016. The program’s purpose is to engage residents and increase community engagement, interests and involvement within the city of Surprise for neighborhoods that wouldn’t qualify for the Surprise Community Outreach Program because they are not 501(c)3 organizations.

To receive support, projects must provide a public benefit, have the approval of the City and/or community HOA (if applicable), emphasize neighborhood self-help and help build the community amongst several other criteria. Applications will be available on the city’s website (www.surpriseaz.gov) next week, and once completed, they will be reviewed by the Committee on Community Outreach, Partnerships & Grants. Recommendations for funding will be made to the full City Council. The City Council has set aside $10,000 for this purpose.

FY2016 Financial Status Report Through November 2015

Finance Director Lindsey Duncan provided Council with a financial status report through November 2015. Beginning with General Fund resources, we have a favorable variance of $2.3 million ($28.9 was budgeted with actuals at $31.2). Our local sales tax actuals exceed the budget by $1 million. Construction sales tax is up 77% over budget and all other sources are up 5.2% over budget. With regards to expenses, we have a favorable variance of $6.3 million ($39.9 was budgeted with actuals at $33.6).


Events & Meetings

General Plan Amendments Approved

City Council approved several amendments to some land use elements of the Surprise General Plan 2035 at a 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 more unified city. Wildlife corridors remain within the conservation element and the overall General Plan. Open space is designated within the land-use plan.

Thank you to all of the residents who shared their thoughts on this important city growth plan! I also need to thank the Planning & Zoning Commission for their hard work with the amendments, to our City Attorney’s office and to Community Development Director Eric Fitzer and his team for their incredible talent, perseverance and dedication to getting this accomplished. We could not do it without you! Thank you!

Desert Diamond Casino

Councilman Roland Winters, Councilwoman Rachel Villanueva, Mayor Wolcott and I attended the Desert Diamond Casino West Valley grand opening and ribbon cutting on Saturday, December 19. The casino creates more than 500 new jobs and, once fully completed, it will create more than 3,000 permanent jobs in the community and have an annual economic impact of more than $300 million.

Surprise Police Department Retirement Ceremony

I attended the retirement ceremony in the Public Safety Auditorium on January 4, honoring Officer Hector Heredia for his service with the Surprise Police Department. Hector was employed with the Department from November 5, 1995 – January 4, 2016, and served in both the Field Operations Division and the Criminal Investigations Division.

Over break on December 21, Officer John Jones also retired. John was employed as a Transportation Officer with the Surprise Police Department from July 11, 2005 – December 30, 2015. John’s prior employment included 1 year as a Detention Officer and 19 years as a Transport Officer with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.

Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission Meeting

I attended the Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission meeting on Monday, January 4. The Commission is working with Drake & Associates to draft policies and procedures for public art. Betty Drake, consultant from Drake & Associates, gave a presentation focused on information relative to typical best practices and establishing an infrastructure of policies and procedures to support the Commission’s work. Examples of public art from all over the country and internationally were shared and discussion was had pertaining to next steps for establishing policies and procedures for public art in Surprise. The Commission will work with Drake & Associates in the coming months to produce a recommended set of policies and procedures for Council consideration and possible adoption.

Per the City Council’s direction, staff has been working on creating a program that includes the development of a design for Gateway Entry Monument signs throughout the City. Preliminary ideas have been gathered from internal staff to assist the contracted consulting firm in developing working drafts of the design concepts. On Monday, January 4, staff presented an update on the design process to the Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission and will return later in the month to obtain the Commission’s feedback on the design concepts. Once the design concepts are ready, the public will have an opportunity to provide input before they are brought to the City Council for their review and possible adoption.

The Commission is collaborating with Benevilla for an upcoming public art bus tour on February 18. The City will publish additional information regarding the tour as it becomes available.


Mark Your Calendar

Utility Work at Bell Road/Grand Avenue

Early construction activities related to Bell Road / Grand Avenue interchange improvements have resulted in temporary nighttime traffic restrictions at the intersection. As crews work to relocate APS utilities, motorists can expect the following traffic restrictions from 9 p.m. – 5 a.m.:

  • Bell Road will be restricted to a single lane east & west bound on both sides of Grand Avenue, as needed.
  • The dual left turn lanes at southbound Grand Avenue to east bound Bell Road will be restricted to one left turn. All other left turns will not be affected.

The interchange project, led by the Arizona Department of Transportation, is designed to improve congestion at the busy Bell Road / Grand Avenue intersection. ADOT will construct a bridge to carry traffic over Grand Avenue and the adjacent railroad tracks. With this new interchange, through traffic on Grand will no longer stop at Bell. Instead, the two roadways will be connected via new on- and off-ramps constructed within the Grand Avenue median.

Major construction activity will begin in April. The work will involve up to an eight month full closure of Bell Road. Closing Bell Road during construction allows the contractor to complete the work more quickly, improves safety for construction workers and motorists, and minimizes traffic impacts during peak travel periods such as Spring Training and the holiday shopping season. Grand Avenue will remain open. Specific closures, detours and business access information will be announced prior to the start of construction.

The city encourages continued support of local businesses located around the intersection during construction. Remember, shopping locally keeps sales tax dollars within your community to help fund public safety, street improvements and park maintenance.

For additional project information, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/bellandgrand or www.azdot.gov/bellandgrand. Stay up to date on the project’s progress and any planned closures and restrictions by signing up to receive email updates at www.azdot.gov/projects.

Waddell Road Median Project Begins

Safety improvements are happening at Waddell Road. Work to add a landscape median west of Litchfield Road began on January 6. Motorist will notice reduced speed limits and lane restrictions between Litchfield Road and 140th Drive during construction which is expected to last through February.

Farmer’s Market at Surprise Senior Center

A mobile produce market offering a variety of locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables will be coming to the Surprise Senior Center, 15832 N. Hollyhock Street, on Thursday, January 14. The market, provided by Gregory’s Fresh Market, will be stationed at the Center from 9-10:30 a.m. Payments can be made with cash, EBT card, debit and credit cards. For information, you can visit www.gregoryfreshmarketplace.com or call Diana at 602.468.0404.

Bullard Avenue Task Force Meeting

A new traffic design plan for the section of Bullard Avenue between Greenway Road and Peoria Avenue will be presented to the Bullard Avenue Task Force later this month.

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.

The community is invited to attend the meeting, which will be held Monday, Jan. 25, 6 p.m., at the Northwest Regional Library, 16089 N. Bullard Avenue. In addition to discussing the new design plan, staff will share funding options and a projected timeline.

For questions, please contact Mike Gent at mike.gent@surpriseaz.gov or 623.222.6223. For background information on this project, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/bullard.

Surprise Citizens Patrol Recruiting Meeting

The Surprise Citizens Patrol will be hosting a recruitment and informational meeting on January 27 from 6-9 p.m. at the Surprise Public Safety Auditorium, located at 14250 W. Statler Plaza. The meeting is designed to inform the public about the Citizens Patrol and opportunities the program offers to those who are willing to volunteer. Consider joining the internationally acclaimed volunteer service organization, a winner of the 2015 IACP (International Association of Chiefs of Police) Award for Outstanding Achievement in Law Enforcement Volunteer Programs.

Besides patrolling the streets and assisting at crime scenes, the Surprise Citizens Patrol partners with the police on programs such as Vacation Watch, the “We Care” Program, vehicle impounds, and neighborhood notifications on sex offenders. So, come join our Citizens Patrol at the Open House and learn more about the program.

Learn more about the Surprise Citizens Patrol: http://ow.ly/PiPoX

Lunchtime Theater in Surprise Continues

The City of Surprise in collaboration with the West Valley Arts Council, Theater Works and the West Valley Symphony’s Lunchtime Theater season will continue in 2016. The remaining three lunchtime performances will be held in the beautiful 2,500 square foot Arts HQ gallery. Performances includes:

January 13, 2016: “Jam Session with Maestro Kellogg and Friends” – West Valley Symphony. View event

January 28, 2016: “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” – Theater Works presents a musical about the contemporary conundrum of “the relationship”. View event

All performances begin at Noon, at the Arts HQ, 16126 N. Civic Center Plaza, Surprise, AZ. Tickets are $9 for each performance. To order tickets, please call the West Valley Arts Council at 623.935.6384 or Susan de Jong at 623.214.7537. Each performance will be 45-50 minutes long.

Attendees are welcome to bring a lunch or pre-order from the City Café @ Surprise. To place a lunch order, please contact the City Café @ Surprise at 623.222.8900. Lunch orders from the City Café @ Surprise will be delivered to the Arts HQ before the performance.

World Series Day

Surprise Stadium will be recognizing the Kansas City Royals for the 2015 World Series win at the 1:05 pm game scheduled for Saturday, March 5!


Did You Know?

Passport Services Available at City Hall

Are you looking to apply for a passport book or card? Maybe you need a new passport photo? Passport services are now available at Surprise City Hall. Applications will be accepted for first-time passport books and passport cards or for passport renewals. This includes adult, adolescent and child passports.

Passport photos are an option as well for $10 at the City Clerk’s Office. Normal business hours for passports will be: Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Please note, any fees paid to the Department of State must be paid by check or money order. Fees paid to the City of Surprise for Executive Fees or in-house photos can be made by check, cash or debit/credit card.

For additional information, please visit the Department of State website at travel.state.gov. The website has detailed guidelines, a fee chart, passport forms and other requirements to prepare for your passport submission.

To make an appointment or for questions, please contact the City Clerk’s Office at 623.222.1200.

Election Information – Candidate Packets Now Available

The City of Surprise ballot issues (Mayor & Districts 2, 3 & 4) will be on the same ballot as County, State and Presidential in 2016. The Primary Election will be held on Tuesday, August 30 and the General Election will be held on Tuesday, November 8.

Candidate Packets with Petitions are now available.

Offices to be filled – four (4) year terms to expire 2020: Mayor and 3 Council Seats: Districts 2 (Cottonwood), 3 (Mesquite) & 4 (Mulberry).

Candidate Packet Filing Deadline: Nomination paper, financial disclosure statements, affidavit of qualifications and petitions are due no earlier than Monday, May 2, 2016 and no later than Wednesday, June 1, 2016 – 5:00 p.m. Candidate packets need to be filed at the City Clerk’s Office – 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza, Surprise, Arizona 85374.

Voter Registration Deadline: Monday, August 1, 2016 – 5:00 p.m.

Early Voting/Satellite Location – The Surprise City Clerk’s Office will be a Satellite Early Voting and Ballot Drop Off location – 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza, Surprise, Arizona 85374.

For further information, please call the City Clerk’s Office at 623-222-1220.

Social Media

You can now follow me on Facebook and on Twitter @skiphall2! I look forward to hearing from you!


Contact Me

Office: 623.222.1325
Mobile: 623.451.3975
Email: skip.hall@surpriseaz.gov