Passing of Councilman Jim Hayden
It is with deep sadness, the city announced the passing of Councilman Jim Hayden on Wednesday, December 20. Councilman Hayden was a dedicated public servant most of his life. He was a Vietnam War veteran and served 20 years in the US Air Force where he trained pilots with critical skills needed to survive wartime conditions. He also served on the Glendale Fire Department for 22 years as a firefighter and EMT in addition to serving as Adjunct Faculty at Glendale Community College teaching Fire Science and Emergency Medical Technicians.
Please keep his wife Nancy and his family, friends and colleagues in your prayers. Thank you!
GO Bond Update
With the voter approval of the General Obligation bond this past November, I want to provide you with regular updates on the status of your investment. It is my plan to provide you with these updates on a regular basis, but our website www.surpriseaz.gov/decidesurprise will also be updated throughout the projects for public transparency. In addition, throughout the five-year timeline for completion of all projects, staff will provide public status updates before City Council as needed and/or upon Council request.
Staff has finalized a design, bid and construction schedule that has changed some of the project start/completion dates that were originally listed during our public outreach ahead of the election. The project timelines and bond sale have been revised to better align with potential development as well as to advance the construction of critical roadways. Staggered timelines have work beginning in Winter 2018 and the final project completed in Summer 2022. The timelines are as follows:
- PW Operations Facility: Winter 2018 – Winter 2020
- Waddell Rd: Winter 2018 – Summer 2020
- Litchfield Rd: Winter 2018 – Summer 2020
- Public Safety Evidence & Readiness Center: Winter 2018 – Spring 2021
- Greenway Rd: Winter 2018 – Winter 2021
- Land for Future Fire Station/PD Substation/Park Summer 2018 – Winter 2019
- Pavement Preservation: Summer 2018 – Summer 2020
- FS 304: Winter 2018 – Fall 2020
- Police Training Facility: Summer 2020 – Summer 2022
- FS 308: Winter 2020 – Spring 2022
The revised dates will appear in the Winter 2018 Progress Magazine. The magazine is scheduled for mailing before December 30, 2017.
City Council Work Session
FY2018 Transit Services Update
Staff provided Council with an update on all transit services including the results of the survey that was conducted in October and November for the paratransit and RideChoice services. Valley Metro and the Northwest cities had originally proposed changes back in September of this year to the 571 to begin in April of 2018. Valley Metro conducted a survey and public hearing related to the proposed changes in October and November. As a result of the overwhelming negative response by the riders to the proposed changes, Valley Metro has scrapped the proposed changes.
In order to bolster support for the RideChoice operations in the Valley, MJM has completed the hiring of a staff position to be located in Phoenix at the Valley Metro mobility center. This position will enhance coordination efforts between Valley Metro, MJM and the cab companies on the RideChoice contract in an effort to improve on-time service and overall service to the City of Surprise.
The results of the survey, related to paratransit and RideChoice, were no surprise as on-time performance and ease of booking lead the way for the two areas that needed most improvement on the contractor’s side. Rob Antoniak, Valley Metro’s chief operating officer, was in attendance at the meeting and provided input and feedback to Council on the issues, and promised marked improvement over the next several months. Some of those improvements have begun to take shape over the last month. There was a change in routing and dispatch software to a system that is more compatible with the way Valley Metro and Transdev does business. They have segregated the Senior Center trips from the general paratransit calls, resulting in fewer issues with residents booking regional trips.
Lastly, it is important for our residents to please call, email or visit the Valley Metro customer site website and register any complaints for any service with Valley Metro. The contact information is listed below. This will allow Valley Metro to hone in on areas where service is lagging or an overall issue. To view the December work session, visit https://surpriseaz.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=31&clip_id=4844.
City Council Meeting
City Council unanimously approved a donation of real property from J and J Holdings, LLC on Tuesday evening. The city was offered this parcel of land for the use of open space and a trail system. The land is located along the Agua Fria River, and the donation of the land will facilitate future trail open space and potentially recreational opportunities within this corridor.
Rio Ranch PAD
The Rio Rancho Rezone with Planned Unit Development (PUD) Overlay in District 1 focuses on the 190-acre residential portion of the 230-acre overall Rio Rancho Development. The amendment proposes to lower the overall density from 4.92 du/A to 3.55 du/A, lower the lot count from 906 units to 669 units, and provide for more traditional product types. In addition to improvements typical for residential development, Rio Rancho will provide public access to a potential regional trail proposed by the City of Surprise Parks and Recreation Master Plan.
Approval of Preliminary Plat
City Council unanimously approved a preliminary plat for a 44-lot single family residential subdivision on approximately 10 acres located at the southeast corner of 175th Avenue and Sweetwater.
Events & Meetings
The Surprise Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission and the West Valley Arts Council, in partnership with Theater Works, the West Valley Symphony and the Phoenix Opera, hosted “A Christmas Carol” on Thursday, December 14 at the West Valley Arts HQ. I had the privilege of playing Ebenezer Scrooge in this Charles Dickins well-known holiday classic as the other actors were being utilized for other events.
The next event, Unforgettable, will be held on January 18. For more information, please contact the West Valley Arts Council at 623.935.6384.
Honoring An Exceptional Leader Task Force Update
At the Honoring an Exceptional Leader Task Force meeting, held on Thursday, December 14, the group reviewed all public recommendations they received identifying ways the city could honor the late Community and Recreation Services (CRS) Director Mark A. Coronado. The Task Force was created by the Surprise City Council, on an ad-hoc basis, to identify ways to recognize great women and men who invested a precious part of themselves to the benefit of the city.
They narrowed the list to four options for future City Council consideration and requested a cost analysis for the following:
- Rename 8-Acres Park “Mark Coronado Park” and include a memorial plaque at the park’s entry gate
- Name a Surprise Stadium suite in his honor
- Place an honorary street sign along Bullard Avenue (Bell to Greenway Roads) to read “Mark Coronado Way.” *The official street name would remain Bullard Avenue, and have no impact on physical addresses
- Or a combination of any of the above options
Their third meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, January 9, 6 p.m., in the City Hall- Community Room, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza. The public is encouraged to attend.
Within 30 days of the second meeting (Dec 14), Special Task Force will hold a third public meeting (Jan 9) to weigh all the information presented by city staff, and select the best two/three options. The Special Task Force will use all avenues available, market the meeting in a way that encourages Surprise residents to attend and submit ideas and discuss pros and cons of each idea.
11th Annual Adaptive Holiday Tree Decorating Event
The 11th Annual Adaptive Holiday Tree Decorating event was held at DreamCatcher Park on Friday, December 15. Approximately 675 guests from the Dysart School District, One Step Beyond, Blue Mountain Development, Higher Hopes and Second Chance Group Homes attended this year and enjoyed performances by the choirs from Paradise Education Center and Shadow Ridge High School, refreshments, interactive games, “snow,” dancing and visits from special guests Big Red from the Arizona Cardinals and Santa Claus!
Senior Services Annual Member Holiday Party
I attended the Senior Services Annual Member Holiday Party on Friday December 15 at the Promenade at Sun Health. Festivities included a formal dinner, dancing and live entertainment for 110 Senior Center members.
Pickleball Court Ribbon Cutting
A ribbon cutting event for eight new pickleball courts was attended by a large passionate group of pickleball players on Saturday, December 16 at 10 a.m. at the Surprise Community Park. Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in the country, and Surprise is thrilled to now have a total of 16 courts. The ribbon was cut by Vice Mayor Todd Tande, Councilmembers Roland Winters, Patrick Duffy, and Ken Remley, Community and Recreation Advisory Commission Chair Wayne Turner and the Surprise Pickleball Association President Jeff Stone and myself. The Surprise Pickleball Association is a great partner of the city. Their recent $34,000 donation to the city will allow the city to purchase and install two shade structures and four sets of bleachers. These items will be installed in January.
Deck the Hock Event
Councilman Ken Remley and I joined members of the Senior Center, Residents of the OTS, Little Explorers Preschool and especially Thompson Ranch art students created themed ornaments to decorate eight trees at the Senior Center. Community members also created about 100 luminaria bags for display out front of the facility.
Legacy Traditional School and WestPoint Elementary provided choir performances.
Mark Your Calendar
City Offices Holiday Closures
City of Surprise administrative offices will be closed on Monday, December 25 for Christmas Day and Monday, January 1 for New Year’s Day.
City of Surprise trash and recycling customers ONLY are reminded that collection will be postponed by one day both the week of Christmas and New Year’s. There will be no collection on December 25 or January 1. Monday collection will occur on Tuesday; Tuesday collection will occur on Wednesday; Wednesday collection will occur on Thursday; Thursday collection will occur on Friday.
Please note that not all Surprise residents have City of Surprise trash and recycling; therefore, you may not experience a change in pickup service. If this is your situation, please contact your service provider. If you have any questions, please contact 623.222.1900.
Did You Know?
Christmas Tree Drop-Off Sites
The city offers four Christmas tree drop-off locations for residents’ convenience. The lots are open beginning December 26, 2017 through January 13, 2018 at the following locations:
- Gaines Park – 15837 N. Nash Street (north end of parking lot)
- Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce – 15795 N. Parkview Place (across from Valley Vista HS)
- Dick McComb Softball Park – 17894 Westpark Boulevard (parking lot at corner of 180th Avenue & Westpark)
- Asante Community Park – 16763 W. Vereda Solana Drive (parking lot at the north end of the park)
Please remember to remove all decorations and place the trees in the designated areas only. There is a limit of two trees per household. Additionally and as a reminder, not all holiday wrappings and decorations are accepted in the city’s curbside recycling program.
Acceptable Holiday Items for Curb-side Recycling
- Non-metallic wrapping paper/paper cardboard rolls
- Greeting cards without shiny embellishments
- Shopping catalogs
- Gift boxes/shipping boxes
Non-Acceptable Items for Curbside Recycling
- Tape and tape dispensers
- Christmas Trees
- Christmas tree ornaments, lights, tinsel, fake snow
- Popcorn peanuts from boxes
For more information, please call 623.222.1900.
I wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year. My sincerest gratitude for another year of your support.
Please note that I will not have a newsletter until the week of January 7. Thank you!