Tag Archives: Public Arts Bus Tour

April 13, 2017 • Newsletter

Events & Meetings

Valley Vista High School – Local Government Presentations

Government and U.S. History teacher John Hastings invited me to speak to Valley Vista students on local government on Thursday, April 6. There were four sessions totaling a few hundred students who learned about the duties of our Surprise City Council and our city departments and how we work with various state, regional and local agencies. The students were impressively engaged and asked several questions afterwards.

Surprise Citizens Patrol 20th Anniversary Recognition Dinner

The Surprise Citizens Patrol held their 20th Anniversary Recognition Dinner on Friday, April 7. Sergeant Curtis James, the founder of the Citizens Patrol in 1997, was a guest speaker along with Jim Joye, the first “President,” as the Commander was called in the early days. Since the program’s inception, Citizens Patrol volunteers have contributed more than 323,303 hours at a cost savings to the city of more than $8 million.

Chief Terry Young expressed his heartfelt thanks for the volunteers’ hard work and dedication to the Police Department and to the city. In addition to celebrating this milestone achievement, 2016 service awards and individual achievement awards were presented. Those receiving awards were:

Others that received awards included: Wayne Gebhart, Squad A Person of the Year; John McMahon, Squad B Person of the Year; Charles Ivey, Squad C Person of the Year and Mike Dolce, Squad D Person of the Year.

Taste of Surprise

The Rotary Club of Surprise hosted their Annual Taste of Surprise event on Saturday, April 8 at Surprise Stadium. There were 43 local restaurants represented and 13 different entertainers providing live music during the event. There were 1,063 tickets sold. All proceeds will benefit five local charities including One Step Beyond Inc, Benevilla, Surprise Youth Foundation, a New Leaf, and Rotary Club of Surprise Community Foundation.

A special thank you to Chris Judd and Amanda Sanchez for their hard work and dedication to this event as well as all the Rotarians for their countless hours of preparing and volunteering for the event.

Tourism Advisory Commission

As spring comes to a close, the Tourism Advisory Commission continues to work hard towards the expansion of tourism in Surprise as discussed at the quarterly meeting on April 11. Agenda items included a detailed overview of the Tourism fund; a history of events recommended by the commission; an overview of the Tourism fund application process; and the Sports Tourism Strategic Plan for which the commission has organized a workshop session to take place Thursday, May 18 to strengthen its current goals.

Additionally, commission members had the opportunity to review recommended projects proposed for state-issued Prop 302 tourism funding for fiscal year 2018. Items included college baseball tournaments, youth baseball tournaments, Spring Training, and Surprise Regional Chamber projects, including the visitor’s guide, website and city map. Recommended items are scheduled to be submitted by June 2017.

Friends of the Libraries Board Meeting

Friends of the Library held their monthly Board meeting on Wednesday, April 12. I have been participating with the non-profit as a liaison to the City of Surprise since February. Friends of the Libraries support local public and school libraries, teachers, and reading and literacy programs. Since 2003, they have donated $506,278.87 to our community. Agenda items for the meeting included, but were not limited to, the Luke Air Force Base outreach program and discussion of a strategic plan with Dysart Unified School District.

Friends of the Libraries recently partnered with us for the Surprise Literacy Program and donated books to the winning class. Below is a picture of Cimarron Springs Elementary School Fifth Grade Teacher Ms. Bethany Mihaupt accepting one of the books.

Councilman Skip Hall with Cimarron Springs Elementary School Fifth Grade Teacher Ms. Bethany Mihaupt
Councilman Skip Hall with Cimarron Springs Elementary School Fifth Grade Teacher Ms. Bethany Mihaupt

Mark Your Calendar

Spring Egg-stravaganza this Saturday

Join the search for more than 50,000 candy and toy-filled plastic eggs as part of the Surprise Spring Egg-stravaganza on Saturday, April 15. The celebration is being held on the Kansas City Practice Fields, located at 15850 N. Bullard Avenue, just west of the Surprise Stadium.

The event runs from 7:30 – 10 a.m. The first egg hunt begins at 8 a.m. with the 2 years and under age group. New hunts will follow approximately every 20 minutes by age group with an open hunt at the end for those who missed their age group. Children participating in the hunt should bring baskets or bags to hold their treats and eggs.

For more information about the Spring Egg-stravaganza, including the egg hunt schedule, please call 623.222.2000 or visit www.surpriseaz.gov/specialevents.

Poetry Slam at WHAM

Mark your calendars and join your neighbors at the Poetry Slam at WHAM on Friday, April 21 from 6 pm until 8 pm at WHAM, 16560 N. Dysart Road. This free event features open mic night for poetry, free verse and storytelling.

Registration is not required. All are welcome to participate as performers and/or listeners. For more information, please contact Surprise Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission Vice Chair Margaret Lieu at 623.334.5271.

Public Art Bus Tour

The Surprise Arts and Cultural Advisory Commission is offering a free public art bus tour to the Desert Caballeros Museum in Wickenburg to see the Cowgirl Up exhibit on Saturday, April 22 from 1 – 4:30 p.m. You will start and end at WHAM, 16560 N. Dysart Road, where you can stay to enjoy their Recycle Arts Festival.

Parking is available just south of the WHAM facility in the rear lot of the post office. There will be a museum entry fee of $9 per person.

WHAM Recycle Arts Festival

WHAM Art Association is hosting their Recycle Arts Fest: Exhibit & Fashion Show on Saturday, April 22 at WHAM Community Art Center, 16560 N. Dysart Road. The free neighborhood event is scheduled from 4 – 9 p.m. and will include a Recycle Arts Exhibit and the Eco Styles Fashion Show, a creative art display that underscores the possibilities of working with reusable post-consumer materials.

Artists of all ages and talents are invited to participate. Enjoy food, music, free activities for kids and the spirit of community and collaboration at the Recycle Arts Fest– where creative expression goes green! If you are interested in becoming involved with the 2017 Recycle Arts Fest send an email to whamartassociation@wham-art.org.


Did You Know?

Surprise Resource Center Partners to expand Veteran Assistance Services

The City of Surprise has partnered with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Arizona@Work Department of Economic Security to expand the assistance services available to veterans and their families through the Surprise Resource Center.

The following services are available every Tuesday at the Resource Center:

  • Employment Assistance: Meet one-on-one with a workforce development expert to go over career opportunities, resume assistance, interview tips and more
  • Homeless Veterans Assistance: Veterans can connect to resources through the VA Community Resource and Referral Center, which offers assistance to Veterans who are homeless and at risk of homelessness by providing connections to permanent housing, health and mental health care, career development and VA benefits

The city also has a Surprise Veteran Job Club that meets on the first and third Thursdays of the month at 6 p.m. at the Surprise Resource Center. The center is located at on the AZ TechCelerator campus at 12425 W. Bell Rd, Bldg. A, Ste. #124 in Surprise.

All programs and services are available to the public at no-cost. For more information, please visit the website at www.surpriseaz.gov/resourcecenter or call 623.222.1600.


Contact Me

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

Ask a Question

March 4, 2016 • Newsletter

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Update

Weekly Update – Week of March 7, 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*

  • Underground utility surveying 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.
  • Surveying limits for new 134th Avenue.

What to Expect > Traffic Restrictions*

  • Business access remains available from both Bell Road and Grand Avenue.
  • Eastbound and westbound Grand Avenue left turn lane restrictions overnight for underground utility surveying and traffic signal head changes between Towne Center and Bell Grande drives:
    • Eastbound and westbound Grand Avenue reduced to one lane for traffic signal change
    • No right turn from eastbound Grand Avenue to westbound Bell Road
    • Single left turn lane from westbound Grand Avenue to westbound Bell Road and from eastbound Grand Avenue to eastbound Bell Road
    • Right curb lane closure on eastbound Bell Road approaching Grand Avenue

*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

Temporary Sign Policy – Bell/Grand Interchange Project

The City of Surprise, in order to assist businesses through the construction of the Bell and Grand project, is looking to allow increased signage for businesses which may be impacted by the project. Signage included in the policy consists of: A-frames, banners, sign walkers and off site directional signs. The policy would also remove the requirements for Temporary Use Permits in the area for special events.

Stormwater Utility

Water Resource Management Director Terry Lowe presented an update to Mayor and Council on the development of the proposed Stormwater Utility. This presentation was intended to be the last workshop session to solicit Council input and feedback prior to staff seeking approval on March 15 to begin the adoption of the Utility and its rate.

In response to the storm events of 2014, Council asked staff to investigate options to deal with problems Surprise faces after severe storm events. The formation of a Stormwater Utility was chosen as the most fair and equitable way to develop and devote resources dedicated to Stormwater related activities. Staff commissioned a study to evaluate the different methods by which Stormwater Utilities are administered. The impervious surface area method proved to be the most consistent and fair approach, where customers were charged a fee based on the amount of impervious surface area that is on their property.

An equivalent dwelling unit (EDU) is established based on the average impervious surface area for all single family residents in Surprise. This EDU value (3,420 sq. ft.) is then used to calculate the commercial customer fee based on the size of the impervious surface area on the parcel. For example, a commercial property with 100,000 sq. ft. of impervious surface area is equal to 100,000/3,420 or 29.24 EDUs. Based on the forecasted costs necessary to fund necessary stormwater activities, such as infrastructure maintenance, regulatory compliance, and capital improvement, the value of an EDU is determined to be equal to $2/month. Therefore, every home in Surprise will be charged $2/month and every business will be charged their calculated EDU equivalent. In the previous example, the business with 100,000 sq. ft. of impervious surface area will be charged $2 x 29.23 EDUs or $58/month.

Review of Capital Projects

Budget Manager Jared Askelson continued discussion regarding the FY2017 capital budget. The conversation focused on asset maintenance and replacement including vehicles and pavement preservation. Links to videos of this and past budget presentations are available at www.surprise az.gov/budget.


City Council Meeting

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Project Phasing & Project Update

ADOT Assistant Communications Director Brock Barnhart provided Council with detailed phasing of the Bell Road/Grand Avenue interchange project. Phase I of the project, which included the reduction of two lanes on Grand Avenue in each direction as well as the removal of the median between Litchfield and Dysart Roads, has been complete. This past week, Phase II began and is expected to last through April 1, 2016.

Phase 2 includes road construction at 134th Avenue. Grand Avenue westbound construction will begin between Litchfield and Dysart Roads and Grand Avenue eastbound and westbound traffic will shift to share eastbound lanes. Business access along Grand Avenue to/from Surprise Towne Center and Surprise Marketplace will be maintained through this phase.

Phase 3A will begin with the full closure of Bell Road between West Point Parkway and 134th Drive on April 1, 2016. This phase is expected to last to early June. This phase will also include the relocation of 134th Drive and Bell Road to 134th Avenue and Bell Road. Grand Avenue will continue to be reduced to two lanes in each direction with Grand Avenue westbound construction occurring between Litchfield and Dysart Roads.

Phase 3B will begin in early June 2016 and it is expected to conclude in early November 2016. Grand Avenue eastbound construction will begin between Litchfield and Dysart Roads and Grand Avenue eastbound and westbound traffic will shift to share the westbound lanes. Bell Road will still be closed at this point; however, business access along Grand Avenue to/from Surprise Towne Center and Surprise Marketplace will be maintained with signalized intersections for entering and exiting. Business access from Bell Road to/from Surprise Towne Center and Surprise Marketplace will be maintained via Litchfield Road, West Point Parkway, 134th Drive and Dysart Road.

Phase 3C is scheduled to begin in early November 2016 and last through February 2017. Bell Road will be open to traffic. Grand Avenue eastbound construction will continue and eastbound and westbound traffic will shift to share the westbound lanes. Business access along Grand Avenue to/from Surprise Towne Center and Surprise Marketplace will be maintained with signalized intersections and right-turn entering and exiting.

Review of Operating Programs

The upcoming fiscal year 2017 was a topic of Council discussion this week as we move closer to the July 1 start date. Topics included maintaining our current infrastructure and expanding public safety services in the upcoming year. City Council reviewed a plan to dedicate $12 million of capital funding to pavement preservation, vehicle, equipment, and other infrastructure maintenance and replacement. Maintaining our current infrastructure was identified as the highest capital priority for the upcoming year which will allow the city to continue providing services at levels that residents have come to expect. The funding for the plan will come from various funding sources to include sales taxes dedicated for capital purposes and savings in various operating funds.

The discussion regarding public safety needs included a plan to add 23 public safety employees across Police, Fire-Medical, City Prosecution, and City Court. The plan has an estimated total cost of $2.8 million; however, it was discussed that the plan’s cost could be reduced to a $2.4 million annual cost through staging the timing of recruitments to better coincide with training and recruitment. From there, the conversation moved to identifying funding for this plan. Options on the table included multiple property tax and sales tax variations. Council will continue to discuss options over the next few meetings culminating with the adoption of the FY2017 budget on June 7.

Administration of Public Utilities Billing

Following a year’s worth of continued issues by the city’s contracted billing services provider American Water, the City Council unanimously voted Tuesday evening, to not appropriate the full contract with the company in the next fiscal year. The city and American Water will work together over the next seven to eight months to transition to the new billing arrangement. Over that time, the city will hire up to 15 new positions to include customer service and billing representatives and utilize new internal billing software. The ongoing costs for the city to provide this billing service is approximately $1.73 million annually, similar to the $1.8 million currently paid to contract the service annually.

Approximately 45,000 customers will receive new bills from the City of Surprise beginning in December that display November usage and costs. Additional transition details will be provided to customers prior to the change-over, including the creation of a dedicated customer service number. For now customers are reminded to call American Water with current billing questions at 888-300-3569.


Events & Meetings

Monheit Frich Group PLC Grand Opening

I attended the grand opening for a new business in the city, Monheit Frich Group PLC. They are located near the AZ TechCelerator. Welcome to Surprise!

Surprise Chamber of Commerce Annual Legacy Awards

Vice Mayor Jim Biundo, Councilmembers Roland Winters Jr. and Todd Tande and I attended the Surprise Chamber of Commerce Annual Legacy Awards on Friday, February 26. Mutual Bank of Omaha won the award for small business and First Bank won the award for large business. Sun Health received the award for large non-profit and Surprise Rotary received the award for small non-profit. Congratulations to all the winners!

Amanda Garcia and August Heiss with the Rotary Club of Surprise
Amanda Garcia and August Heiss with the Rotary Club of Surprise.

West Valley Veterans Center

Vice President of Veterans Initiatives for Maricopa Community Colleges Steve Yamamori met with Vice Mayor Biundo, Councilman Winters and I to discuss a project that will assist veterans in finding direction after serving our military. Mayors in the West Valley had been consulted this fall as part of this fantastic regional effort. The proposed center is part of the Veterans Success Project.

Read Across America

I was honored to read to two classes at Countryside Elementary School on Wednesday, March 2 as part of Read Across America Week which celebrates Dr. Seuss’s birthday.

Councilman Hall read to Countryside Elementary School for Read Across America

Surprise Stadium Clubhouse Ribbon Cutting

City Council attended the ribbon cutting to celebrate the recent renovations of the Surprise Stadium clubhouses. A special thank you to Mark Coronado and his team for all of their hard work and dedication to this completed project which also extended the term to the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers contracts through 2030.

City Council and guests cut ribbon at the opening of the new Surprise Stadium Clubhouse


Mark Your Calendar

Valley Metro Meeting

Valley Metro is hosting a community meeting at the Surprise Senior Center, 15832 N. Hollyhock Street, on March 9 from 9-11 a.m. to share information about bus and light rail services available to residents in the Northwest Valley. Information will be provided on 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.

Spring Household Hazardous Waste Event

The date to dispose 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 a list of acceptable items, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/HHWevent or call 623.222.6000.

Encore Public Art Bus Tour

Due to the overwhelming success of the inaugural Surprise Public Art Bus Tour, the Surprise Arts and Cultural Advisory Commission has organized a second tour! Join the Arts Commission on Tuesday, March 22, and experience the art of Surprise.

Participants will visit locations and exhibits such as the WHAM Art Gallery, Arts HQ, the Joe Tyler Learning Tree, and many more. The bus departs Surprise City Hall, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza, at 8:30 a.m. and will return at noon.

For questions about the tour or to reserve a seat, contact Susan de Jong, 623.214.7537. The deadline to reserve a spot is Tuesday, March 15.


Did You Know?

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