February 26, 2016 • Newsletter

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Update

The Grand Avenue/Bell Road Interchange Project is using the design-build contracting method, which provides flexibility while the contractor’s designers work side-by-side with the construction team to deliver an improved connection between the two roadways. The project is scheduled to be completed over the next 14 months (in spring 2017).

Utility relocation work in the area, mostly during overnight hours, is already under way. In order to reduce the project’s length and lessen the overall impacts of construction, ADOT has worked with the city of Surprise and local businesses to schedule a full closure of Bell Road near Grand Avenue. The full closure will allow Bell Road to be reconstructed as an overpass traveling over Grand Avenue and the parallel railroad tracks, providing a significant improvement for traffic flow.

The preliminary activities below are preparing the team for the April 1 Bell Road closure.

Schedule of On-site Activities*

  • Utility potholing on eastbound Grand Avenue overnight between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
  • Excavation and installation of drainage pipes on the east side of Grand Avenue within the right-of-way. No impact to traffic.
  • Excavation for utilities trench. No impact to traffic.

What to Expect > Traffic Restrictions*

  • Eastbound curb lane closure of Bell Road, from Grand to 134th Dr., will continue on Monday, Feb. 29, from 8:30 a.m.- 3:30 p.m.
  • All business access remains available from both Bell Road and Grand Avenue.
  • Eastbound Grand Avenue lane restrictions overnight for potholing between Towne Center and Bell Grande drives.

*schedule subject to change based on design schedule, weather, or unforeseen conditions.

Stay Informed – Keep In Touch

For more information or if you have questions:

ADOT’s project hotline: (855) 712-8530, press option #1
Project email: bellandgrandinfo@azdot.gov
Project website: www.azdot.gov/bellandgrand
Media inquiries: (800) 949-8057; email: news@azdot.gov


Events & Meetings

WESTMARC 2016 Annual Meeting & Transportation Forecast

Councilman Todd Tande and I attended the WESTMARC 2016 Annual Meeting and Transportation Forecast, Thursday, February 18. Arizona Department of Transportation Director John Halikowski elaborated on the some of the major transportation projects occurring in the West Valley. With the approval for the Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway and the funding to move the I-11 forward, the state is seeing major infrastructure movement.

Senator Steve Farley and Representative Rick Gray also spoke to the attendees regarding the ties between trade and economic development.

Surprise Youth Council Mural Painting

Members from our very talented Surprise Youth Council (SYC) spent the last weekend painting a mural on the wall of the well site located between Surprise Stadium and 8 Acre Field. This mural was initiated in partnership with the West Valley Arts Council and the Surprise Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission.

The theme of the mural will coincide with SYC’s awareness campaign that will launch in March and focuses on self and social awareness for teens called “Be Yourself. Find Your Crowd.” I was able to stop by and support the team, and I would encourage you to check it out when you are in the area.

2016 State of the City Address

Mayor Sharon Wolcott delivered the 2016 State of the City speech that highlighted the city’s recent success stories. Years of our team’s hard work and planning have resulted in 300 new businesses and more than 1,000 new jobs over the past five years. City Council has worked together with staff to stabilize city finances, strengthen budget reserves and enhance Surprise’s presence not only locally, but regionally, nationally and internationally.

West Point Elementary School Meeting

City staff, ADOT representatives and I met with West Point Elementary School administration to discuss traffic concerns, taking into account the current construction on Greenway Road and the likely increase of traffic on that road, once the closure of Bell Road at Grand Avenue begins in April. We continue to work together to discuss concerns and mitigate as many issues in advance of the closure as possible.

40th Annual Cactus League Lunch

I attended the 40th Annual Cactus League lunch on Wednesday, February 24. More than 600 people from all over the Valley attended the event. Community and Recreation Services Director and Cactus League President Mark Coronado welcomed everyone and made key introductions. Former MLB catcher Jim Sundberg was the emcee and interviewed several former players including Fergie Jenkins and George Brett. Kansas City Royals Manager Ned Yost and Texas Rangers Manager Jeff Banister also took the stage.

Sierra Verde Community Meeting

Water Resource Management Director Terry Lowe, Environmental Compliance Analyst Kathy Boland and I attended the Sierra Verde Community meeting on Wednesday, February 24 to discuss water reclamation at the request of the HOA. After Terry Lowe answered questions, the landscaper provided information regarding the water hook-up to the HOA Board.

Additionally, Assistant Communication Director Brock Barnhart also attended and provided a Bell Road/Grand Avenue construction project update.


Mark Your Calendar

Surprise Stadium Hosting BIG 12- PAC 12 Tournament

College Baseball continues at the Surprise Recreation Campus – Campus of Champions with the BIG 12 – PAC 12 Spring Training Baseball Challenge (Feb. 25-29).

Individual tickets and tournament passes for each of the scheduled tournaments are now available for purchase online at www.surprisespringtraining.com.Tickets can also be purchased at the Surprise Stadium Box Office, located at 15960 N. Bullard Avenue, or over the phone with Tickets.com at 888.755.2583. Service charges may apply to online and phone orders. All seating for collegiate tournaments is general admission.

Surprise $5 Dollar Food Festival

The $5 Dollar Food Festival will be in Surprise at 8 Acre Field, 15930 N. Bullard Avenue, on Saturday, February 27 from 11 am – 12 noon (VIP) or 12 noon until 7 pm for general admission. Enjoy food from more than a dozen food trucks, booths and carts, plus live music. For more information, please visit https://fivedollarfoodfest.com/events/surprise-az/.

Note: The intersection of Bullard and Greenway will be closed this weekend. Access to the festival will be maintained off of Bell and Bullard. Download the detour map

Spring Household Hazardous Waste Event

The date to dispose of your household hazardous waste has been changed by two weeks. The spring 2016 Household Hazardous Waste Collection event is now scheduled for Saturday, March 26 at the Public Works Maintenance Yard, 13433 W. Foxfire Drive, from 8 am until 12 noon, to avoid potential traffic conflicts that may arise due to the full closure of Bell Road between West Point Parkway (west) and 134th Avenue (east) on April 1.

The City offers the Household Hazardous Waste event twice a year so Surprise residents may properly dispose of items that contain chemicals which may be harmful to the environment. The event is free and for Surprise residents only. Please bring a driver’s license and a utility bill to show proof of a Surprise residential address. For more information, including acceptable items, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/HHWevent or call 623.222.6000.


Did You Know?

Arizona Charter Academy Competes

Students from Arizona Charter Academy recently competed in their first district-wide DECA competition. Over 400 students from 20 schools were in attendance, competing in various categories including sports entertainment, marketing and hospitality and tourism. Fourteen students from Arizona Charter Academy attended the competition and four of them placed in the top of their category of team events. The students are currently preparing for the upcoming state competition.

Social Media

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


Contact Me

Shop Surprise

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

Ask a Question

February 19, 2016 • Newsletter

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Update

The Grand Avenue/Bell Road Interchange Project is using the design-build contracting method, which provides flexibility while the contractor’s designers work side-by-side with the construction team to deliver an improved connection between the two roadways. The project is scheduled to be completed over the next 14 months (in spring 2017).

Utility relocation work in the area, mostly during overnight hours, is already under way.

In order to reduce the project’s length and lessen the overall impacts of construction, ADOT has worked with the city of Surprise and local businesses to schedule a full closure of Bell Road near Grand Avenue. The full closure will allow Bell Road to be reconstructed as an overpass traveling over Grand Avenue and the parallel railroad tracks, providing a significant improvement for traffic flow.

The preliminary activities below are preparing the team for the April 1 Bell Road closure.

Schedule of On-site Activities*

Prepare for traffic switch on Grand Avenue:

  • roadway paving,
  • apply new lane striping,
  • modify the traffic signal at Town Center Drive/Bell Grande Drive, and
  • install temporary concrete barrier to establish work zone

What to Expect > Traffic Restrictions*

  • Eastbound Grand Avenue will be closed between Litchfield and Dysart roads Sunday (Feb. 21) from 7 a.m. to Monday (Feb. 22) 3 a.m.
  • Business access available from Bell Road; no turning movements to eastbound Grand Avenue.

SUGGESTED DETOUR: Eastbound Grand Avenue traffic use Reems to Greenway to Dysart roads back to eastbound Grand Avenue.

Overnight Westbound Grand Avenue Restrictions

Westbound Grand Avenue restricted to one lane on Monday (Feb. 22), Tuesday (Feb. 23) and Wednesday (Feb. 24) nights from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

NOTE: Tuesday (Feb. 23) morning eastbound and westbound Grand Avenue traffic will be in a new configuration with two lanes in each direction.

*schedule subject to change based on design schedule, weather, or unforeseen conditions

Stay Informed – Keep In Touch

For more information or if you have questions:

ADOT’s project hotline: (855) 712-8530, press option #1
Project email: bellandgrandinfo@azdot.gov
Project website: www.azdot.gov/bellandgrand
Media inquiries: (800) 949-8057; email: news@azdot.gov


City Council Work Session

FY2017 Budget Capital Revenue and Process Overview

The discussion on the fiscal year (FY) 2017 budget continued this week with separate presentations on the capital and operating areas. The capital budget discussions focused on available revenue sources. The current fiscal year’s capital budget of $78.0 million is highly dependent on fund balances carried over from savings in prior years. These balances will be utilized to complete the Clubhouse Renovations and various transportation projects throughout the city this fiscal year. With the fund balances reduced, future capital budgets will rely more heavily on other revenue sources which total about $23.1 million for the current fiscal year. With this scarcity of resources, prioritization of projects will be the main emphasis of the capital budget going forward. Continuing from last fiscal year, a high value will be placed on maintaining our current infrastructure through maintenance, replacement, and pavement preservation efforts.

The operating budget discussion highlighted the programs of public safety with specific presentations on the Police and Fire-Medical departments, the City Attorney’s Office, and the Surprise City Court. The common theme was that staffing levels have been held relatively flat over the last seven years as population, calls for service, and other workload measures have increased. All four areas have been exceptionally effective and efficient in maintaining a safe city over this time period. Proactive efforts have been declining over the last few years which will inevitably lead to higher instances of property crime, less coordinated and effective prosecution of crimes, and longer timelines to resolve cases without an infusion of additional resources. Also discussed was a program to centralize emergency management to coordinate the city’s response to natural or manmade disasters. As outlined, the public safety needs exceed the current expected resources of the city. The discussion of how the city will look to meet its operating needs will continue throughout the budget process that will culminate with the adoption of the FY2017 budget in June before the new fiscal year is rung in on July 1.


City Council Meeting

Comprehensive Annual Financial Report

Surprise Finance Director Lindsey Duncan and Assistant Finance Director Andrea Davis presented City Council with the result of the city’s fiscal year 2015 annual audit and Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. The city received an unmodified opinion, which is the “good” or “clean” opinion. The city has made a number of improvements in internal controls and corrected many of the identified areas from the prior year. The city will continue to improve internal controls and processes to eliminate the remaining auditor comments.

FY2016 Budget Reallocation for Bullard Avenue

Director of Public Works Mike Gent and Assistant Public Works Director Karl Zook provided an update on Bullard Avenue based on the input from the Bullard Avenue Task Force and the surveys received from residents. The strongest recommendation was the return of four lanes of travel on Bullard Avenue.

The recommended solution incorporates a full median from Greenway to our southern city limits. Currently there is not a raised median between Greenway to Waddell so we will be installing a raised landscaped median. South of Waddell, the median will need size modifications to allow for maintaining the bike lane throughout the corridor. The bike lines, 3 miles in each direction, will be maintained. There will be a curb separation from the bike lane to the traffic lane and two new traffic signals (Acoma and Bullard /Sweetwater and Bullard).

Since this project was not approved as part of the FY2016 budget, a reallocation of $220,000 from the Transportation Improvement Fund contingency to Bullard Avenue Multimodal project for the design portion of this project was requested. The remaining funds needed to complete this project will be programmed into the FY2017 Capital Improvement Plan. The city was awarded the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant ($1,551,300) for some of the enhancements, and staff has applied for additional grants that could possibly pay for approximately 95% of the project.

Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Review of Public Safety

Budget Manager Jared Askelson’s discussion focused on operating programs, predominantly the General Fund ongoing uses for fiscal year 2017 in Public Safety including Police, Fire-Medical, City Attorney and City Court. General Fund ongoing uses is $96.7 million for FY16 with almost half spent on Public Safety (Police – 25%, Fire – 18%, City Attorney – 2%, City Court – 2% and all others – 53%).

Police Chief Terry Young provided an overview, considered key components including service demands, increased training, and staffing ratio comparisons. Surprise has one of lowest staffing ratios (1.06 compared to the highest at 2.20) of sworn personnel per 1,000 persons. Since 2010, Surprise has seen an 8.5% increase in residents, a 4% calls for service increase from 2014-2015 and a 6% overall increase in crimes from 2014-2015.

Fire–Medical Chief Tom Abbott also provided an overview and focused on the multiple factors used to consider proper staffing including call volume, response times, etc. In the last six years, SFMD has witnessed an increase of 6,175 calls for service which equates to a 60.1% increase. In 2009, there were 126 members of the Department, including administration. In November of 2015, six new members were hired which brought the total number of staff to 128. Surprise again has one of the lowest staffing ratios (.11 compared to highest at .26) of sworn personnel per 1,000 persons.

Assistant City Manager Michael Frazier discussed the need for an effective Emergency Management Program. The purpose of the program is to mitigate, prepare, plan for, respond to and recover from a natural or manmade disaster. These potential disasters would include flooding, health emergencies such as outbreaks, etc. Staff recommends the hiring of two new full-time employees (FTEs) which would include an Emergency Manager and an Administrative Specialist. The Emergency manager would work directly with the Police, Fire-Medical, Public Works and Communication Departments.

City Attorney and City Court provided a brief overview. The Departments are directly impacted by the work of the Police Department which has increased; hence two new FTEs (one for each) have been requested.


Special City Council Meeting

The City Council held a Special Meeting on Thursday, February 18. The sole agenda item was the discussion and action pertaining to the City of Surprise vs. Surprise Center Development Company (SCDC). The City Council voted unanimously to begin the process to end litigation and work to achieve a final settlement.


Events & Meetings

Valley Metro Budget & Finance Subcommittee Meeting

I attended the Valley Metro Budget & Finance Subcommittee meeting on Thursday, February 11. Some of the items discussed included the Request for Proposal (RFP) for financial audit services and transit performance review. For FY15, 77.5% of the total Valley Metro ridership was bus transit followed by 19.6% light rail, 1.5% vanpool and 1.4% paratransit (such as Dial-A-Ride). The bus saw a 2.29% decrease in total boardings.

Surprise Citizens Patrol Banquet

The Surprise Citizens Patrol (CP) hosted their annual awards dinner on Friday, February 12, 2016 at the Sun City Grand Cimarron Center. Vice Mayor Jim Biundo and I were honored to attend the banquet to help honor and thank our outstanding CP volunteers. Sergeant Tim Klarkowski presented the Citizens Patrol with a plaque and expressed the Department’s sincere appreciation for the volunteers’ continued dedication and selfless service.

In 2015, the Citizens Patrol volunteered 25,806 hours. The Citizens Patrol has been in existence since 1997 and has volunteered a total of 170,372 hours, which is a significant cost avoidance to the City.

Those receiving awards were: Patrick Kellison – Patrol Person of the Year, June Dower – Administrative Person of the Year, Bill Crain – Support Person of the Year, Charles Manning – Command Staff Person of the Year, and Henry Saunders – Rookie of the Year.


Mark Your Calendar

Public Transportation Community Meeting

Valley Metro is hosting a community meeting on Wednesday, March 9 from 9 am until 11 am at the Surprise Senior Center (15832 N. Hollyhock Street) to share information about bus and light rail services available to residents in the Northwest Valley, including Dial-a-Ride, the door-to-door transportation service for qualified seniors, people with disabilities and other residents.

Valley Metro staff will be present to assist residents with Dial-a-Ride applications, discuss other available transportation programs and to answer any questions or concerns about using public transportation in the Northwest Valley.

The Surprise Senior Center is located near the intersection of Grand Avenue and Nash Street. For driving directions, contact the center at (623) 222-1500. To arrange your trip on Northwest Valley Dial-a-Ride, call (602) 266-8723.

Surprise Park-And-Ride Temporary Relocation – April

The Surprise Park-and-Ride will be temporarily relocated beginning April 4 due to construction activity related to the Bell Road and Grand Avenue Interchange Improvement.

The facility will remain open at its current location at 13327 W Bell Road through Friday, April 1. Beginning on Monday, April 4, the Park-and-Ride will be temporarily relocated to DreamCatcher Park, located at 14534 W Tierra Buena Lane. It is expected to return to its original location following the completion of the project, estimated to be no later than Feb. 2017.

Questions? Please call Valley Metro Customer Service at 602.253.5000 or TTY 602.251.2039, or the City of Surprise Customer Service Line at 623.222.6000.


Did You Know?

Greenway Road & Bullard Avenue Intersection Closure

The intersection of Greenway Road and Bullard Avenue will be closed as part of the Greenway Road Improvement Project beginning at 9 p.m. on Friday, February 26 through 5 a.m. on Monday, February 29.

There are several detours planned during the closure:

  • Bell Road (eastbound and westbound) to southbound Bullard Avenue to access the Surprise Recreation Campus
  • Eastbound Greenway Road traffic will take northbound Reems Road to access Bell Road to continue heading east.**For those visitors planning to attend the 2016 Surprise Big 12 / Pac 12 Baseball Challenge tournament and Food Truck Festival at Surprise Stadium that weekend, you will remain on eastbound Greenway Road to Parkview Place and head north to event parking.
  • Motorists who ordinarily travel westbound on Greenway Road can take Litchfield Road north to access westbound Bell Road.**Visitors heading to Surprise Stadium on Greenway Road will continue westbound on Greenway Road and head north on Civic Center Drive; turn left onto Tierra Buena Drive to northbound Bullard Avenue.

View a map of the recommended alternate routes. Event parking and directional signage will be displayed. For more information please call 623.222.6000.

Pavement Preservation Projects Are Underway

The city’s Pavement Preservation Program identifies city streets to receive appropriate applications that lengthen the lifetime of the street surface. Over the next week, the following areas will be receiving Slurry Seal, an asphalt mixture that fills cracks and voids in the surface:

Feb. 19-23:

Waddell Rd (Litchfield Rd to La Cometa)

140th Dr (Greenway Rd to Waddell Rd)

La Cometa (Greenway Rd to Waddell Rd)

Residents can expect street restrictions during the work. For more information, please contact the Public Works Department at 623.222.6000.

New Council Conversation Interview

My new Council Conversation with CRS Director Mark Coronado is online and on Surprise 11.

Check it out at: http://surpriseaz.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?publish_id=f2b8e37e-d692-11e5-8170-f04da2064c47.

It includes footage of the improvements to the Stadium clubhouse!

Social Media

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


Contact Me

February 12, 2016 • Newsletter

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Update

US 60 (Grand Avenue) and Bell Road Weekly Project Update

Grand Avenue Traffic Switch is Anticipated the Week of February 22: Grand Avenue two-way traffic will temporarily be switched to the newly paved median between Dysart Road and Litchfield Road. Drivers should allow extra travel time in the area and consider alternate routes at times.

Weekly Update #3—Week of February 15, 2016

The Grand Avenue/Bell Road Interchange Project is using the design-build contracting method, which provides flexibility while the contractor’s designers work side-by-side with the construction team to deliver an improved connection between the two roadways. The project is scheduled to be completed over the next 14 months (in spring 2017).

Utility relocation work in the area, mostly during overnight hours, is already under way. In order to reduce the project’s length and lessen the overall impacts of construction, ADOT has worked with the city of Surprise and local businesses to schedule a full closure of Bell Road near Grand Avenue. The full closure will allow Bell Road to be reconstructed as an overpass traveling over Grand Avenue and the parallel railroad tracks, providing a significant improvement for traffic flow.

The preliminary activities below are preparing the team for the April 1 Bell Road closure.

Schedule of On-site Activities*

  • Continued work to remove existing Grand Avenue median:
    • excavate and haul away the median and roadway materials,
    • prepare roadway for paving, and
    • modify the traffic signal at Town Center Drive/Bell Grande Drive.

What to Expect > Traffic Restrictions*

  • Eastbound and westbound lane restrictions on Grand Avenue continue between just north of Dysart Road and Litchfield Road. The left turn lanes in both directions will be narrowed to one lane (instead of two) at Bell Road and Grand Avenue.
  • Additionally, Grand Avenue will be reduced to one lane in each direction overnight Tuesday (Feb. 16) through Thursday (Feb. 19) between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

*schedule subject to change based on design schedule, weather, or unforeseen conditions

Stay Informed – Keep In Touch

For more information or if you have questions:
ADOT’s project hotline: (855) 712-8530, press option #1
Project email: bellandgrandinfo@azdot.gov
Project website: www.azdot.gov/bellandgrand
Media inquiries: (800) 949-8057; email: news@azdot.gov

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Business Outreach Meeting

Councilman Todd Tande and I attended the Bell Road/Grand Avenue Business Outreach meeting on February 9. Approximately 15 business representatives were in attendance, including the Property Manager that represents both shopping centers on both sides of Bell Road.

ADOT and Coffman representatives gave a brief presentation, noting project phasing and business access points. Since this is a design-build project, specific traffic patterns are subject to change as needed. We will continue to communicate with the businesses and the public as changes may occur.

ADOT is working on an overall project map that will include project work and business access points to the shopping centers and to the Westgate/Foxfire businesses, north of Bell. This map will be shared with the businesses and available online soon. The timeline shared was as follows:

Business access will be maintained throughout the work at the following signalized intersections:

  • Grand @ Bell Grande (by Carl’s Junior)
  • Grand @Towne Center Drive (by Discount Tire)
  • Bell @ West Point Parkway (traffic can turn left or right from Bell to access both shopping centers)
  • Westgate/Foxfire business access will be Bell @ Dysart and also Bell @ the current 134th Dr., until 134th Avenue relocation is complete in early June

Construction phasing details:

Phase 1: now – late Feb US60 Median Work (Litchfield to Dysart)

  • Grand down to 2 lanes in each direction; one left-turn lane only in each direction onto Bell (Note: dual left turn lanes will be brought back by Spring Training until the full Bell closure in April)

Phase 2: late Feb – April 1

  • ADOT will begin the process of shifting Grand traffic (Dysart – Litchfield) to share the current southbound lanes, maintaining 2 travel lanes for each direction. The median and northbound lanes will be work zones.

Phase 3A: April 1 – early June

  • Full closure of Bell begins (soft closure at Dysart and Litchfield) (hard closure is 134th Dr./134th Ave to West Point Parkway to allow business access). This closure runs through early Nov.
  • Relocation of 134th Drive to 134th Avenue begins April 1, completion expected in early June

Phase 3B: early June – early Nov

  • ADOT to shift Grand traffic (Dysart – Litchfield) to share the northbound lanes, maintaining 2 travel lanes for each direction. The median and southbound lanes will be work zones (flip-flopping the traffic pattern set in Phase 2).
  • Bell re-opens in early Nov

Phase 3C: early Nov – late Feb

Restrictions remain on Grand; clean-up punch list work on both Grand and Bell.

These meetings will continue on a monthly basis, meeting the 2nd Tuesday of every month at Surprise City Hall Community Room (located on the first floor outside the Mayor’s Atrium). These meetings are open to business representatives and stakeholders.


Events & Meetings

Rotary Club of Surprise

I attended the Rotary Club of Surprise monthly meeting on Thursday, February 4. The Surprise Rotary Club gave the Homeless Youth Connection a check totaling $1,000 to help raise awareness and work to meet the needs of homeless youth in the West Valley. This organization was also awarded a $1,500 grant through the Surprise Community Outreach Program earlier this year.

Council Conversation with Mark Coronado

Director of Community & Recreation Services Mark Coronado was my guest for the taping of my new Council Conversation for Surprise 11. The interview will be televised beginning next week. Topics included the Surprise Stadium, spring training, tennis and much more!

Surprise Gateway Training Center Groundbreaking Ceremony

City Council took part in a groundbreaking ceremony at the new Surprise-GateWay Training Center which will be located at SPA 1, near the City of Surprise South Plant. Surprise and GateWay Community College have partnered to provide students interested in water and wastewater career operations a facility in the West Valley where they are able to learn adjacent to the City’s professional staff in an environment that allows them to experience the complete life cycle of water in Arizona.

As part of the partnership, the city is constructing a 13,100 square foot training facility within the SPA 1 Water Reclamation Facility located near the intersection of Litchfield and Cactus roads. The center’s design includes collaborative learning spaces, mission critical labs and assembly facilities.

City leadership, staff and representatives from GateWay Community College were available to answer questions about the partnership and its significance to the West Valley. Tours of the current facility were also provided following the ceremony.


Mark Your Calendar

Litchfield Road Widening

Work to widen the east side of Litchfield Road to two travel lanes between Cactus Road and Desert Cove Road will begin on Monday, February 15. A sidewalk and bike lane will also be added to the east side of the street.

During construction, the speed in the area will be limited to 25 MPH and left turn movement onto Desert Cove and Laurel Lane will be eliminated. For more information, please feel free to contact the Surprise Public Works Department at 623.222.6000.

Cactus League Lunch @ Surprise Stadium

The City of Surprise will be hosting the 2016 Cactus League Lunch at the Surprise Recreation Campus on Wednesday, February 24 at 11 a.m. You can catch a preview of the 2016 Spring Training season as Cactus League staff and committee members provide exciting and exclusive insight into what is to come this season for the fans and the State of Arizona!

The cost to attend is $50 for an individual seat or $500 for a corporate table of 10. Space is limited so get your tickets now. For more information, please contact the Community & Recreation Services Department at 623.222.2000, or you can always visit www.surprisespringtraining.com.

Second Sundays in the Park

The City continues its “Second Sundays in the Park” concert series on Sunday, February 14 from 2 until 4 p.m. This free family event will take place in the center of the Surprise Community Park, 15953 N. Bullard Avenue, and will feature live music from Behind the Badge.

Public Art Bus Tour

On February 18, the Surprise Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission and Benevilla are joining together to offer a free public art bus tour. Tour participants will visit art locations such as WHAM Art Gallery, Arts HQ and City Hall; they will also view public art pieces.

The tour will begin at 9 a.m. at Benevilla, located at 16752 N. Greasewood Street, and will end at the same location at 12 noon. Space is limited so please reserve your spot by February 11. Reservations can be made by calling Fiona Falbo at 623.584.4999.

At the conclusion of the bus tour, there will be an option to enjoy lunch at Birt’s Bistro on Benevilla’s campus. The lunch package is $15 per person.

Surprise Stadium to Host Two Collegiate Baseball Tournaments

College Baseball returns to the Surprise Recreation Campus – Campus of Champions with two NCAA collegiate baseball tournaments: the Surprise Spring Training College Baseball Classic (Feb. 19-22) and the BIG 12 – PAC 12 Spring Training Baseball Challenge (Feb. 25-29).

Individual tickets and tournament passes for each of the scheduled tournaments are now available for purchase online at www.surprisespringtraining.com.Tickets can also be purchased at the Surprise Stadium Box Office, located at 15960 N. Bullard Avenue, or over the phone with Tickets.com at 888.755.2583. Service charges may apply to online and phone orders. All seating for collegiate tournaments is general admission.

2016 Surprise City Academy

Would you like to learn more about the structure of city government, get an update on local issues and get to know your city leaders? If so, you may want to register for the 2016 Surprise City Academy.

This eight session academy offers the opportunity to learn about the city directly from the Mayor, Councilmembers, City Manager and City Directors. The Academy begins on March 7 and meets weekly through April 18. Most classes will meet from 6 until 8:30 pm in the auditorium of the Surprise Public Safety Building, 14250 W. Statler Plaza. It’s free to participate but space is limited. Registration is required by February 29.

For an application and/or information, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/cityacademy or you can contact Ruby Sitea at 623.222.3242.


Did You Know?

Surprise Stadium Renovations

The Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers are moving in this week! They will be welcomed back with newly-renovated clubhouses, which have each been expanded from approximately 37,000 square feet to 50,000 square feet.

Pavement Preservation Projects Are Underway

The city’s Pavement Preservation Program identifies city streets to receive appropriate applications that lengthen the lifetime of the street surface. Over the next week, the following areas will be receiving Slurry Seal, an asphalt mixture that fills cracks and voids in the surface:

Feb. 13-15:

175th Ave (Greenway Rd to Bell Rd) – Note: Northbound 175th Ave between Greenway Road and Bell Road will be closed in the northbound direction on Saturday, Feb. 13 and the southbound direction on Monday, Feb. 15. The restrictions will be up from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be no restrictions on Sunday, Feb. 14.

Surprise Farms Loop N (175th to Willow Canyon Dr)

Feb. 16-18:

Greenway Rd (Verde Vista Dr to 183rd Dr)

Feb. 19-23:

Waddell Rd (Litchfield Rd to La Cometa)

140th Dr (Greenway Rd to Waddell Rd)

La Cometa (Greenway Rd to Waddell Rd)

Residents can expect street restrictions during the work. For more information, please contact the Public Works Department at 623.222.6000.

Social Media

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


Contact Me

Shop Surprise

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

Ask a Question

City breaks ground on new water industry training facility

The city of Surprise, in partnership with GateWay Community College, broke ground today on the future site of the Surprise-GateWay Training Center, a facility that will provide new, mission critical labs, assembly facilities and classrooms for city water professionals and individuals interested in water resource management careers.

The 13,100 square foot training center is being constructed on the grounds of the South Plant (SPA1) Water Reclamation Facility, located near the intersection of Cactus and Litchfield roads. SPA1 currently processes over 8 million gallons of water per day.

When completed, GateWay Community College enrollees in the West Valley will have an opportunity to train adjacent to professional staff and experience the complete water reclamation and treatment process for both groundwater and drinking water.

Mayor Sharon Wolcott is pleased with the opportunities the new facility will bring to individuals interested in water resource careers.

“This is an industry losing many to retirement and this training facility will help usher in the next generation of highly skilled water and wastewater professionals who understand the lifecycle of water in Arizona,” said Wolcott.

Construction on the Surprise-GateWay Training Center is anticipated to be completed this summer and training opportunities opening as early as this fall.

For information about the training center, call 623.222.6000.

February 5, 2016 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session

Luke Air Force Base Update

Rusty Mitchell, Director of Community Initiatives for Luke Air Force Base, provided an update on activities at the base. Luke AFB is a major contributor to our local economy with an approximate economic impact of $2 billion per year. The 944th Fighter Wing has over 1,350 personnel; however, Luke AFB has 3,600 active duty personnel, 600 reserves, 800 civilians, 300 pilots and 300 DCCs (Lockheed Martin) which will soon increase to 2,000. In addition, there are 30,000 retirees within 50 miles receiving $55 million in retiree payments on an annual basis. Their annual payroll totals $448 million and initiates contracts totaling $52.7 million.

To build an F-16 pilot, one requires 305 hours of academic studies, 148 training days, 110 student sorties, 54 simulator events which takes approximately 8 months to complete. To build an F-35 pilot, one requires 360 hours of academic studies, 105 training days, 18 student sorties, 42 simulator events which takes approximately 5 months to complete.

US 60 (Grand Avenue) and Bell Road Weekly Project Update

The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) has issued a project update for the Grand Avenue/Bell Road Interchange Project, which includes upcoming traffic restrictions and a schedule of on-site activities for the week of February 8.

The update is as follows:

The Grand Avenue/Bell Road Interchange Project is using the design-build contracting method, which provides flexibility while the contractor’s designers work side-by-side with the construction team to deliver an improved connection between the two roadways. The project is scheduled to be completed over the next 14 months (in spring 2017).

Utility relocation work in the area, mostly during overnight hours, is already under way.

In order to reduce the project’s length and lessen the overall impacts of construction, ADOT has worked with the city of Surprise and local businesses to schedule a full closure of Bell Road near Grand Avenue. The full closure will allow Bell Road to be reconstructed as an overpass traveling over Grand Avenue and the parallel railroad tracks, providing a significant improvement for traffic flow.

The preliminary activities below are preparing the team for the April 1 Bell Road closure.

Schedule of On-site Activities*

Continued work to remove existing Grand Avenue median:

  • remove asphalt pavement,
  • excavate and haul away the median and roadway materials,
  • modify the traffic signal at Town Center Drive/Bell Grande Drive, and
  • work on Saturday Feb. 13 to prepare roadway for paving.

What to Expect > Traffic Restrictions*

Eastbound and westbound lane restrictions on Grand Avenue continue between just north of Dysart Road and Litchfield Road.?The left turn lanes in both directions will be narrowed to one lane (instead of two) at Bell Road and Grand Avenue. This will be a 24/7 set up through the week of Feb. 15.

*schedule subject to change based on design schedule, weather, or unforeseen conditions

Stay Informed – Keep In Touch

For more information or if you have questions:

ADOT’s project hotline: (855) 712-8530, press option #1
Project email: bellandgrandinfo@azdot.gov
Project website: www.azdot.gov/bellandgrand
Media inquiries: (800) 949-8057; email: news@azdot.gov

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Business Outreach

Director of Economic Development Jeanine Jerkovic made City Council aware of her department’s reprioritization due to the upcoming Bell Road/Grand Avenue interchange project. To help the businesses that will be impacted by the Bell Road closure, the city will focus on the Bridge Buddy Program and a Shop Local promotion.

As part of the plan to mitigate the construction impact, the city, in partnership with the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce, has co-authored “Getting Your Business Across the Finish Line” brochures and will be instituting several communications initiatives.


City Council Meeting

Community Acknowledgement

City Manager Bob Wingenroth and City Council acknowledged Dr. Gail Pletnick, Superintendent of Dysart Unified School District, on Tuesday evening. Dr. Pletnick was selected as Arizona’s Superintendent of the Year, and she will serve as the Arizona representative to the American Association of School Administrator’s (AASA) National Superintendent of the Year Program.

Surprise City Council with Arizona Superintendent of the Year Dr. Gail Pletnick
The Surprise City Council recognized Dr. Gail Pletnick for her achievement as Arizona Superintendent of the Year at their Feb. 2 meeting.

Under Dr. Pletnick’s leadership, Dysart Unified School District has earned a national reputation for its 21st Century learning environment and for its consistent support of a digital transformation that continues to change teaching and learning. Congratulations, Dr. Pletnick. We are proud of you!

Operating Revenue Sources for FY2017

City Council began discussing the fiscal year 2017 budget that will begin on July 1, 2016. The focus was on General Fund operating sources, which total $96.9 million for the current fiscal year. Key issues included proposed legislation, the economy, and choices that we have available at the local level.

Proposed legislation is currently being reviewed at the state level that puts $6.8 million of the City’s current residential rental and contracting sales taxes at risk. The passage of this legislation would potentially result in service reductions locally. Historically, periods of growth lasting seven to ten years have been followed by recessionary periods of reduced growth or economic decline. Our economy has seen steady growth over the last five years, so the City will need to begin planning for this eventual reduction. Future discussion will look at creating an operating surplus to help minimize future service reductions.

Revenue sources were also reviewed to clarify which areas can be directly impacted by the Council’s decisions on rates and policies. Timelines on when and how decisions on rates and policies can be made was also discussed. City Council will be prepared to discuss balancing available resources with service needs, and be aware of how their decisions can affect each side of that balance.

The budget discussion will continue at each Council meeting through June, culminating in the Council adoption of the FY2017 budget. Budget presentations will be available following the City Council Work Session or Regular Meeting at which they are presented on our budget webpage.


Events & Meetings

Lunchtime Theater

I attended the Theater Works production of “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” on Thursday, January 28. There were back-to-back shows held at the West Valley Arts Headquarters with approximately 65 people in attendance. This show was a group of vignettes depicting love at different stages of life. It was a musical with fantastic voices and great comedy. Everyone could relate.

West Valley Council Mixer

Vice Mayor Jim Biundo, Councilmembers Todd Tande, Rachel Villanueva, Roland Winters and I attended the 2nd West Valley Council to Council Mixer at Rio Vista Recreation Center on Thursday, January 28. Councilwoman Villanueva spearheaded the first mixer which was held at Surprise Stadium as a way to better get know our fellow West Valley Councilmembers, share ideas, update each other on things occurring in our city and just network. Councilmembers from Peoria, Glendale, Tolleson, and Avondale were also present.

Surprise POPS Band Concert

Several Councilmembers and I attended the Surprise POPS band on Saturday, January 30 at the Valley Vista Performing Arts Center. Over 1,000 people attended and listened to the roaring 20’s concert.

Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission Meeting

I attended the Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission meeting on Monday, February 1. The agenda included discussion on the upcoming bus tour in partnership with Benevilla, the baseball bat decorating context, the purchase of a potential art piece and much more.

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Road Show

I continue to meet with the District 5 HOAs and businesses with city staff and ADOT representatives to discuss the upcoming Bell Road/Grand Avenue interchange project. This week, we met with Chaparral Winds Retirement Community staff, provided them an update on the construction project and answered their questions and concerns.


Mark Your Calendar

Art Show @ Benevilla

Benevilla’s Annual ‘Love of the Arts’ exhibition show begins Friday, February 5 through March 2 at Birt’s Bistro, 16752 N. Greasewood Street. All artwork is created by members from Benevilla’s Life Enrichment Day Programs in various mediums.

Second Sundays in the Park

The City continues its “Second Sundays in the Park” concert series on Friday, February 14 from 2 until 4 pm. This free family event will take place in the center of the Surprise Community Park, 15953 N. Bullard Avenue, and will feature live music from Behind the Badge.

Public Art Bus Tour

On February 18, the Surprise Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission and Benevilla are joining together to offer a free public art bus tour. Tour participants will visit art locations such as WHAM Art Gallery, Arts HQ and City Hall; they will also view public art pieces.

The tour will begin at 9 a.m. at Benevilla, located at 16752 N. Greasewood Street, and will end at the same location at 12 noon. Space is limited so please reserve your spot by February 11. Reservations can be made by calling Fiona Falbo at 623.584.4999.

At the conclusion of the bus tour, there will be an option to enjoy lunch at Birt’s Bistro on Benevilla’s campus. The lunch package is $15 per person.

Surprise Stadium to Host Two Collegiate Baseball Tournaments

College Baseball returns to the Surprise Recreation Campus – Campus of Champions with two NCAA collegiate baseball tournaments: the Surprise Spring Training College Baseball Classic (Feb. 19-22) and the BIG 12 – PAC 12 Spring Training Baseball Challenge (Feb. 25-29).

Individual tickets and tournament passes for each of the scheduled tournaments are now available for purchase online at www.surprisespringtraining.com.Tickets can also be purchased at the Surprise Stadium Box Office, located at 15960 N. Bullard Avenue, or over the phone with Tickets.com at 888.755.2583. Service charges may apply to online and phone orders. All seating for collegiate tournaments is general admission.

SURPRISE SPRING TRAINING COLLEGE BASEBALL CLASSIC: Feb. 19-22 OREGON STATE // BALL STATE // UTAH // MINNESOTA // UTAH VALLEY

Friday, Feb. 19
1 p.m. Ball State University vs. Oregon State University, Surprise Stadium
5 p.m. University of Utah vs. University of Minnesota, Surprise Stadium
5 p.m. Ball State University vs. Utah Valley University, Kansas City Practice Field

Saturday, Feb. 20
10 a.m. Utah Valley University vs. University of Minnesota, Surprise Stadium
2 p.m. Utah Valley University vs. Oregon State University, Surprise Stadium
6 p.m. Ball State University vs. University of Utah, Surprise Stadium

Sunday, Feb. 21
9 a.m. University of Minnesota vs. University of Utah, Surprise Stadium
10 a.m. Utah Valley University vs. Ball State University, Kansas City Practice Field
1 p.m. University of Minnesota vs. Oregon State University, Surprise Stadium

Monday, Feb. 22
12 p.m. University of Utah vs. Oregon State University, Surprise Stadium

Individual Tickets: Adult $10, Senior $8, Youth/Student $5
Tournament Passes: Adult $30, Senior $25, Youth/Student $15

BIG 12 – PAC 12 Spring Training Baseball Challenge: Feb. 25-29
OREGON STATE // KANSAS STATE // UTAH // KANSAS

Thursday, Feb. 25
1 p.m. Oregon State University vs. Kansas State University, Surprise Stadium

Friday, Feb. 26
1 p.m. Oregon State University vs. Kansas State University, Surprise Stadium
5 p.m. University of Kansas vs. University of Utah, Surprise Stadium

Saturday, Feb. 27
1 p.m. Oregon State University vs. University of Kansas, Surprise Stadium
5 p.m. Kansas State University vs. University of Utah, Surprise Stadium

Sunday, Feb. 28
10 a.m. University of Kansas vs. Oregon State University, Surprise Stadium
1:30 p.m. University of Utah vs. Kansas State University, Surprise Stadium

Monday, Feb. 29
11 a.m. University of Kansas vs. University of Utah, Surprise Stadium

*SCHEDULE SUBJECT TO CHANGE

Individual Tickets: Adult $10, Senior $8, Youth/Student $5
Tournament Passes: Adult $30, Senior $25, Youth/Student $15

For more information, call the Surprise Recreation Campus Box Office at 623.222.2222 or visit www.surprisespringtraining.com.


Did You Know?

2015 National Citizen Survey

The 2015 National Citizen Survey (NCS) results are in and nearly 90% of residents rate Surprise as a great place to live and would recommend living here.

The NCS serves as the city’s service report card, and the collected data assists in setting future city priorities. The survey captures residents’ opinions within three community pillars: Community Characteristics, Governance & Participation. These are broken down into eight categories: Safety, Mobility/Transportation, Natural Environment, Built Environment, Economy, Recreation & Wellness, Education & Enrichment and Community Engagement. Across these eight categories the city’s results were similar to over 200 peer cities across the United States.

According to the survey, the areas that are most important to Surprise residents are safety, mobility/transportation and the economy.

The city rated above the national benchmark in the following categories: (% selected excellent/good)

88% overall appearance of the city (cleanliness)
86% recommend Surprise as a place to retire
84% Street lighting
83% Street cleaning
82% Sidewalk maintenance
81% Overall built environment
76% Affordable quality housing
74% Public parking
69% Cost of living

Survey results also indicate a need for more public transportation options and local job creation- two areas that rated below the national benchmark.

Residents were asked how likely they would be to support a separate funding source to pay for new Police and Fire-Medical personnel, which would reallocate General Fund dollars towards other projects. Sixty-six percent of residents strongly/somewhat support this proposal.

Nearly three-quarters of the surveyed residents are confident in local government, and 89% are pleased with the quality of city services.

Since the 2012 NCS, residents noted significant improvements in traffic flow, crime and fire prevention, shopping opportunities/economic development, drinking water and overall national environment. Ratings fell in the number of residents who volunteered, visited a park or watched a local public meeting.

The 2015 NCS was conducted by Boulder, Colorado-based National Research Center from October-November 2015. The survey was sent to 1,400 randomly-selected Surprise households. The overall response rate was 26%, which is average for this type of survey. The margin of error is +/- 5%. Results are weighted as to not have one particular demographic (age, sex, race, etc…) skew results.

The City of Surprise would like to thank those residents who participated in the survey. The city’s next NCS is on target for 2017.

To see the complete results visit www.surpriseaz.gov/ncs.

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

Residents feel safe & love living in Surprise; seek more local jobs & transportation solutions

The 2015 National Citizen Survey (NCS) results are in and nearly 90% of residents rate Surprise as a great place to live and would recommend living here.

The NCS serves as the city’s service report card, and the collected data assists in setting future city priorities.

The survey captures residents’ opinions within three community pillars: Community Characteristics, Governance & Participation. These are broken down into eight categories: Safety, Mobility/Transportation, Natural Environment, Built Environment, Economy, Recreation & Wellness, Education & Enrichment and Community Engagement. Across these eight categories the city’s results were similar to over 200 peer cities across the United States.

According to the survey, the areas that are most important to Surprise residents are safety, mobility/transportation and the economy.

The city rated above the national benchmark in the following categories:
(% selected excellent/good)

88% overall appearance of the city (cleanliness)
86% recommend Surprise as a place to retire
84% Street lighting
83% Street cleaning
82% Sidewalk maintenance
81% Overall built environment
76% Affordable quality housing
74% Public parking
69% Cost of living

Survey results also indicate a need for more public transportation options and local job creation- two areas that rated below the national benchmark.

Residents were asked how likely they would be to support a separate funding source to pay for new Police and Fire-Medical personnel, which would reallocate General Fund dollars towards other projects. Sixty-six percent of residents strongly/somewhat support this proposal.

Nearly three-quarters of the surveyed residents are confident in local government, and 89% are pleased with the quality of city services.

Since the 2012 NCS, residents noted significant improvements in traffic flow, crime and fire prevention, shopping opportunities/economic development, drinking water and overall national environment. Ratings fell in the number of residents who volunteered, visited a park or watched a local public meeting.

The 2015 NCS was conducted by Boulder, Colorado-based National Research Center from October-November 2015. The survey was sent to 1,400 randomly-selected Surprise households. The overall response rate was 26%, which is average for this type of survey. The margin of error is +/- 5%. Results are weighted as to not have one particular demographic (age, sex, race, etc…) skew results.

The City of Surprise would like to thank those residents who participated in the survey. The city’s next NCS is on target for 2017.

To see the complete results visit www.surpriseaz.gov/ncs.