Tag Archives: Shop Local

September 21, 2017 • Newsletter

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Update

Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) issued a project improvement announcement for the Bell Road Bridge and Grand Avenue earlier this month. The on- and off-ramps at the Bell Road Bridge over Grand Avenue (US 60) have been closed this past week for roadway improvements both on and near the overpass.

The Bell/Grand ramps are scheduled to re-open at 5 p.m. on Sunday (Sept. 24), according to the Arizona Department of Transportation. Drivers can use detour routes along Dysart and Litchfield roads to make connections between Bell Road and Grand Avenue. Bell Road will remain open for traffic traveling over the bridge.

Please expect restrictions along westbound Grand Avenue near Bell Grande Drive and near the Bell Road overpass.


City Council Work Session

Valley Metro Update Regarding Paratransit and RideChoice Programs

Valley Metro completely changed its transit service models on July 1, 2017. The previous model under the NW Dial-a-Ride contract ended and three new services were introduced to the city. The first service is the senior bus which falls under the Valley Metro Transdev operations. The second program is Regional ADA Paratransit also operated by Valley Metro and Transdev. The third service is similar to the old NW Dial-a-Ride program called RideChoice, operated by various cab companies and contracted directly by the resident once they are enrolled in the RideChoice program.

Residents who have utilized the service models since July have encountered various problems; most notably, no-show or late pick-ups on all services and trouble booking longer Regional ADA medical and work trips. Valley Metro is working with their contractors to resolve the issues. Recent changes by Transdev, staging buses on the west side at 99th Ave. and Peoria, will help on-time performance for Regional ADA service. The contractor for RideChoice will be hiring a staff position and locating them at Valley Metro’s mobility center for quicker response on RideChoice issues with the various cab companies. Residents that have been using Regional service for Surprise and shorter trips are being moved to RideChoice. Valley Metro is working with the city’s Human Service and Community Vitality Department staff to ensure next day service manifests are correct, and that there are two dedicated buses each day for senior service. Items that still need to be addressed are: driver retention; dispatch communication with all calls for service; enhanced cab company dedication to the Northwest Valley; on-time service; and improvement of subscription trip bookings for medical and work.

To assist Valley Metro, there are several things that you as a resident can do:

  1. Contact Valley Metro Customer Service anytime you have an issue with any of the services provided. This allows Valley Metro to document all complaints. That number is 602-253-5000 or email at csr@valleymetro.org.
  2. Familiarize yourself with your service needs:
    • if you are taking short trips within or nearby Surprise, use RideChoice. It’s cheaper for you and allows you the flexibility to self-book your trips with a cab company of your choice in the RideChoice system. Sign up by calling 602-716-2100. It will take 7 – 10 business days to receive a card and packet in the mail.
    • If you are in need of longer Regional trips for medical or work that are within Valley Metro’s ADA service area, use the Transdev Regional ADA. That number is 602-716-2200.
    • If you are going to the Senior Center on a regular basis, 3-5 times per week, contact the Surprise Human Service and Community Vitality Department to get signed up for the Senior Bus. That number is 623.222.1500.
  3. The City and Valley Metro will be developing a survey that will be mailed to Surprise residents who are signed up for either Regional ADA or RideChoice. Please complete the survey and return it so we can improve the service to you.

City Council Meeting

Asante Planned Area Development

Three Public Hearings were held as part of the City Council meeting on Tuesday pertaining to the Asante Planned Area Development (PAD). Asante North Major PAD Amendment is a project that requires rezoning of approximately 149.1 acres to allow for the development of a 369.2-acre private active adult community. Asante Major PAD Amendment also required the rezoning of approximately 220.1 acres to allow for the same aforementioned private active adult community. Lastly, the Asante Paradiso PAD is an overlay district that will establish specific development standards, design guidelines and permitted uses for the proposed 369.2 acres.

The three items passed unanimously.

District 3 Vacancy Appointment

City Council approved the appointment of Patrick Duffy to represent the residents of District 3 at their Tuesday night Regular Council Meeting. Mr. Duffy replaces John Williams, who resigned from Council on August 15, 2017.

Mr. Duffy is a Financial Advisor for Merrill Lynch and for the past 9 years has worked part-time as a City of Surprise Recreation Leader 3. He has lived in Surprise for eight years, two of them in the district he will now represent – District 3. In addition, he was a member of the Surprise Municipal Property Corporation Board since April 2017 and through his employment with the city, he has been part of numerous Community and Recreation Services events including Spring Training support, Relay for Life events and Cal Ripken All-Star games. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Arizona State University.

Mr. Duffy will be ceremonially sworn into office at the next Council meeting on October 3. The term expiration for the appointment will be December 31, 2018; and the remainder of the four-year term will be placed on the next scheduled Council election in August 2018.

Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission Vacancy Appointments

City Council approved the appointments of two applicants to fill vacancies for the Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission. Doug Tolf was approved for a term which expires on June 30, 2020, and John “Jack” Hasting with a term expiration of June 30, 2019.

New Citywide Shop Local Program

During the Bell Road bridge construction, the city partnered with the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce to implement a digital marketing campaign to assist and retain the 277 local businesses located within the vicinity of the closure. Due to the success of the campaign, City Council asked staff to partner again and explore a citywide Shop Local campaign, leveraging the best practices learned.

The first year start-up costs are estimated at $55,000, and the campaign will be launched in November in conjunction with National Small Business Month and in support of the holiday shopping season. City Council unanimously voted to approve a budget amendment which will transfer the funding from the Economic Development Contingency Fun to the General Service Fund.

Adoption of New City Council Policy to Honor Exceptional Leaders

The City of Surprise has a storied history and limitless future. All of us sit on the shoulders of great people who invested a precious part of themselves to the benefit us. From time to time, residents have asked City Council to honor an exceptional leader by holding a special event or naming a city asset after this special individual. City Manager Bob Wingenroth has proposed a Council Office policy for honoring such individuals.

The aforementioned policy outlines a balanced, inclusive approach to provide the Surprise City Council with the information needed to take action in order to properly honor exceptional contributions to Surprise. This policy also includes the establishment of a task force that would include the Chair of three Council Commissions (Planning & Zoning, Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission and Community Recreation Advisory Commission), an Assistant City Manager, the City Attorney or designee and the Public Works Director.


Events & Meetings

Constitution Day at Willow Canyon High School

I was invited to participate on a Constitution Day panel at Willow Canyon High School on Friday, September 15. Sharing their experiences also included Human Service and Community Vitality Director Seth Dyson, Associate Judge Catherine Gaudreau, and Attorney Laura Robertson. Thank you to Willow Canyon for the invite and to the students and administration for their hospitality!

Council Hall and Panel members setted at tables


Mark Your Calendar

City and Education Partners Hosting Voter Registration Drive

Dysart Unified School District and Ottawa University (OUAZ) in Surprise and the city are joining thousands of groups across the country in hosting voter registration drives on National Voter Registration Day, Tuesday, September 26! The City of Surprise will have a Special Election on November 7 in which voters will be asked to decide three separate General Obligation Bond Questions to fund 10 projects in the areas of Public Safety, Traffic Congestion Mitigation and Pavement Preservation. (Learn more about the projects, costs and tax impacts at www.surpriseaz.gov/decidesurprise).

2017 GO Bond voter registration reminder

ALL REGISTERED VOTERS WILL RECEIVE A BALLOT BY MAIL BEGINNING OCTOBER 11. The registration deadline to participate in this election is October 10. Below are the voter registration events planned on September 26:

Surprise City Hall- Community Room (16000 N. Civic Center Plaza): Voter registration tables and computers will be set up for eligible residents of Maricopa County to register to vote or ask questions about the process from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. A General Bond Obligation Public Meeting is also planned in the Council Chambers this date beginning at 6 p.m. for those interested in learning more about the bond questions and the projects. This meeting will be carried on Surprise TV, streamed at www.surpriseaz.gov/surprisetv and Facebook Live at Surprise City Gov.

Dysart High Schools: The cafeterias will include voter registration tables with laptop access during each of the four high school’s lunch hours for students ages 18 and older, or school staff to register to vote or to receive information about how to register.

Ottawa University- Surprise: Voter registration tables with laptop access will be set up on campus for students ages 18 and older, or school staff to register to vote or to receive information about how to register, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

City staff and volunteers will be on hand at all locations to accept completed voter registration print forms or answer questions. Anyone who registers that day will receive an “I Registered to Vote Today” sticker!

The voter registration drives are made possible thanks to the Surprise City Clerk’s Office and generous volunteers from the League of Women Voters; Surprise Youth Council, the Surprise Chapter of Women Leading Government and students at Ottawa University.

You can learn more at: https://nationalvoterregistrationday.org/ or contact the Surprise City Clerk’s Office at 623.222.1200 or clerk@surpriseaz.gov. Have you moved or need to change party affiliation since the last election cycle? You will need to update your voter registration information either in person or by visiting www.maricopa.vote. A reminder that the City Clerk’s Office remains open for voter registration through 5 p.m., Tuesday, October 10. Office hours are Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Surprise Fire-Medical Hosting Open Houses

The Surprise Fire-Medical Department is holding a series of open houses at city fire stations. Residents can come out and meet the firefighters, tour their living and eating quarters, walk through the bays and see the fire trucks! Attendees will also get a look at the medical equipment, firefighting gear and tools used on emergency calls.

Dates for the open houses are as follows:

Saturday, September 30 – Station 304, 24900 N. 163rd Ave.
Saturday, October 14 – Station 305, 15517 N. Parkview Pl.
Saturday, November 4 – Station 306, 16645 W. Clearview Blvd.
Saturday, November 18 – Station 301, 16750 N. Village Dr East
Saturday, December 2 – Station 303, 15440 N. Cotton Ln.
Saturday, December 16 – Station 307, 16171 W. Cactus Rd.

All open houses will be conducted from 9 a.m. to noon.

For more information, please call the Surprise Fire-Medical Department administration line at 623.222.5000.


Did You Know?

Civic Center Drive is Open!

I am excited to announce Civic Center Drive, from Bell Road to Paradise Lane, is now open! The expansion of this road provides a new route to city events, public meetings, recreation amenities and the Surprise Stadium. The roadway consists of one lane in each direction and has a speed limit of 25 MPH. As development occurs adjacent to the roadway, there are plans to fully build Civic Center Drive to two lanes in each direction with a center median and sidewalks.

Volunteer Opportunities

If you are looking for meaningful ways to utilize your gifts to make a difference, Experience Matters is hosting a free information session on September 27. Experience Matters is an organization that connects talented, experienced people with non-profits. The session will be held on Wednesday, September 27 from 10 -11:30 a.m. at Surprise City Hall (Conference Room 150), 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza. For more information or to register, please contact Ruby Sitea at 623.222.3242 or ruby@sitea@surpriseaz.gov.


Contact Me

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

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August 3, 2017 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session

New Enterprise Department Discussion

The mission statement for our city’s Community and Recreation Services (CRS) Department is to “enrich and complement the lives of Surprise residents through stewardship of our resources while providing responsive programs which promote and prioritize diversity, cultural, neighborhood, family, education, recreation and wellness opportunities.” At the same time, CRS is responsible for operating and staffing two world class facilities (baseball and tennis) and coordinating with the Surprise Tourism Commission. City Manager Bob Wingenroth recognizes the opportunity to further enhance the quality of life for our residents and proposed a potential organizational change to create a new department.

Staff is proposing a new Enterprise Department, possibly named the Sports and Tourism Department. This new Department would be business focused with the following primary responsibilities: operation of Surprise Stadium and the Surprise Tennis & Racquet Complex, establish public/private partnerships to construct an aquatics center and a regional recreation complex, coordinate the usage of city sports facilities with Ottawa University and our school district, and work in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce and the Tourism Commission to bring regional and national events to Surprise that would increase overnight stays and increase local restaurant and retail business.

The majority of the staffing necessary to build the Sports and Tourism Department would come from CRS divisions. In addition, it will be necessary to establish a director position and a coordinator position at an estimated annual cost of $318,900. There would be estimated start-up costs of $20,000. The potential gains from utilization and tourism dollars flowing to the city with this increased focus will outweigh the increased cost.

Shop Local Program

In 2016, the City partnered with the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce on an award-winning “Shop Local” campaign as part of our efforts to help businesses that were impacted by the Bell Road/Grand Avenue bridge construction. The campaign proved to be successful and as such, staff has received direction from City Council to partner again to explore a citywide Shop Local campaign, leveraging the best practices learned.  The campaign is consistent with the Council’s Strategic Plan to promote jobs and enhance the needs of small businesses, particularly through business retention and expansion activities.

Bell Road and Grand Avenue Monument Signage

Council discussed and provided staff with some direction relative to signage in and around the Bell and Grand overpass. With the construction of the overpass, signage was removed due to expansion of right-of-way and relocation of utilities and easements from properties at the intersection. Staff was able to work with two of the property owners to replace signage along Grand Avenue; however, the signage requested along Bell Road is higher than allowed by code and prior approvals. Council instructed staff to work with those property owners at the intersection of Grand Avenue and Bell Road to find amenable solutions to signage to provide visibility to the businesses while looking at impacts relative to the view shed.

Temporary Signage Discussion

A discussion on temporary signage was brought to the City Council during Tuesday’s Work Session. City Council had received concerns from residents and business owners relative to signage directing traffic to businesses and public services such as churches and events in and around the City. Currently, the City sign code does not allow for temporary signage such as A-frames and sandwich boards. City staff has been working on revising the sign code. Under the draft code, the City is looking to allow signage for lawful temporary events that would include signage such as A-frames and sandwich boards.

Staff presented Council with the option to enact the temporary sign portion of the draft code prior to the full code being adopted. This would assist business during the update process and allow staff to obtain data on how best to address temporary signage in the final sign code adoption.

Council voiced their understanding of the need for signage to promote businesses and events around the City and instructed staff to “beta-test” the temporary signage portion of the draft sign code under a new Temporary Sign Policy. That Temporary Sign Policy will be discussed and deliberated upon by City Council at their September 5, 2017 meeting.

I also want to share a bit of history with you on the city’s use of temporary sign policies to give you a better picture of how we got here.

In 2009, during the great recession, Council enacted Resolution 09-151 which allowed temporary signs; Council extended it in 2012 for one year. Then, in March of 2016, the City enacted the Bell Road Temporary Sign Policy (Resolution 2016-42) in order to assist businesses during the construction of the Bell and Grand Overpass Project. The City Wide Temporary Sign Policy was then approved again in April of 2016 under resolution 2016-43 for the entire City limits. In February 2017, after the completion of Bell and Grand Avenue Overpass construction, the City approved resolutions 2017-20 and 2017-21. These resolutions repealed the City Wide Temporary Sign Policy and the Bell and Grand Temporary Sign and Temporary Use Permit Policy.


City Council Meeting

2017 Summer Youth Interns

Each year, the City’s Human Service and Community Vitality Department sponsors a Summer Youth Employment Program for teens residing in Surprise. This year, 25 interns were selected to participate from over 70 applicants. Interns were permitted to work up to 25 hours a week. Each Monday, they received Life Skills training which included information on how to prepare for interviews, how to put together resumes, interviewing and job readiness skills and much more. All 25 interns were recognized at the City Council meeting. Many thanks to our HSCV team led by Director Seth Dyson for their dedication to this fantastic program that grooms our teens for life!

Surprsie Summer Youth Interns group photo
2017 Summer Youth Interns

Maricopa County Work Force Development Services

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 (WIOA) is designed to help job seekers access employment, education, training and support services to succeed in the labor market and to match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy. Maricopa County is a designated as a Local Workforce Development Area under the federal WIOA.

The County operates two (2) comprehensive Workforce Development One Stop Career Centers (Centers) under WIOA. The Centers provide employment-related services to job-seekers and employers in Maricopa County. Job seekers can access services such as workshops on job search and job retention skills; assessment tools for measuring interests, aptitude and skills; career exploration; vocational counseling, funding assistance for occupational skills training and job placement assistance. Resources such as computers, fax machines and copiers are available to assist in job search activities. The Centers hold job fairs for local employers recruiting employees to fill vacant positions. The Centers also provide transition assistance for local employers who experience a reduction in force and, therefore, must lay-off employees. The City will house a satellite office for the County through the approval of this Intergovernmental Agreement with Maricopa County. The services provided in the Resource Center will benefit job seekers and employers who cannot travel to access services in the County’s Centers.

The Intergovernmental Agreement was approved on Consent Agenda. This action will allow our HSCV Department to offer Workforce Development Services from the Surprise Resource Center with a full-time Workforce Development Coordinator.

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Annual Plan

The city received an allotment of Community Development Block Grant funding of $638,560 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for year 2017-2018. Of this amount, $95,784 is being awarded to non-profits to provide social services to Surprise residents. These non-profits include Aid to Adoption of Special Kids, Benevilla, CASS, Surprise Community Action Program, Mentally Ill Kids in Distress, SoJourner, St. Mary’s Food Bank, and the Sun Health Foundation. Remaining funds will be utilized for neighborhood infrastructure improvements, micro-enterprise grants, emergency home repair, and associated administrative costs.


Events & Meetings

Project Connect

The city’s Human Service & Community Vitality Department (HSCV) recently partnered with Salvation Army and United Way for the comprehensive event, Project Connect, which provided the homeless with basic services and connection to resources. The event was held on Wednesday, July 26 at Salvation Army in Surprise. HSCV Director Seth Dyson was informed that we had 216 guests.

Project Connect infographic

Water Resource Management Department Meeting

Vice Mayor Todd Tande and I attended our Water Resource Management Department’s “All Hands” quarterly meeting on Wednesday, July 26. Director Terry Lowe provided an update on the department and an overview of their budget while Department managers also provided updates on their respective areas. Afterwards, we were given a tour of a demonstration project.

Decide Surprise 2017 Bond Meeting

2017 Decide Surprise Bond Election banner

Vice Mayor Todd Tande and I were asked to join Mayor Sharon Wolcott on Tuesday, August 1 at Marley Park for a meeting with a select group of residents to discuss the Decide Surprise General Obligation Bond Election that will be on the November ballot. Surprise voters will decide three separate bond questions in the areas of public safety, traffic congestion mitigation and pavement preservation. The mail-ballot only election will be November 7, but ballots will be mailed in early October.

For more information on the projects and costs, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/decidesurprise.


Mark Your Calendar

Raise a Reader Series

Surprise has partnered with Southwest Human Development to host a free eight week Raising a Reader program that utilizes proven skills to educate parents about the importance of early literacy and provides tools to help children learn to read. Using an evidence-based model that focuses on developmental milestones and brain development, literacy specialists will model how to engage children with the use of books. Families will also learn the significance of singing, dancing and playing as a way to build their child’s vocabulary and prepare them for school.

All members of the family are invited to participate! Plus, participating families will take home a bag filled with award-winning children’s books at the end of each week. Courses will be taught from 11 a.m. -12:30 p.m. on consecutive Fridays beginning August 11 at the Surprise Resource Center, 12425 W. Bell Rd, Suite 124. To enroll in the eight week Raising a Reader series, contact Lizette Garced at LGarced@swhd.org.

Free Educational Presentation on Older Adults and Series

Suicide rates of older adults are higher than any other age group in Maricopa County. The City of Surprise has partnered with Area Agency on Aging and Maricopa Elder Behavioral Health Advocacy Coalition to provide a free educational presentation.

A Matter of Life is a presentation created to educate and help people recognize the signs and symptoms of suicide, depression, anxiety and substance abuse. It encourages help-seeking behaviors by connecting people with resources and tools to access help for themselves or someone they know.

This program will be held on Wednesday, August 23 at 9 a.m. at the Surprise Senior Center, located at 15832 N. Hollyhock Street. It will run approximately one hour. Please register with Trisha Weston at 623.222.1544 or trisha.weston@surpriseaz.gov

Senior Services is a division of the Human Service & Community Vitality Department and is designed to provide programs to strengthen the community and better serve Surprise residents. Located in the heart of Surprise, in the Heritage District, at 15832 N. Hollyhock Street. The Surprise Senior Center is the hub of activities for citizens age 50 and better and adults with disabilities. The membership fee for a resident of Surprise is $12 per year, and for non-residents it’s $15 per year. The Senior Center also offers a gym membership for an additional fee (some rules and restrictions apply). Hours of operation are Monday thru Friday from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Disclaimer: Information in seminars and classes sponsored by the City are a public service and should not be construed as advice or representation of any specific business, company, individual business owners, brokers or affiliations. The City does not endorse any particular business, product or speaker. Any information presented does not reflect the opinion or position of the City.


Did You Know?

Monsoon Safety Tips

Monsoon season, June 15-September 30, is characterized by increased thunderstorm and lightning activity, high winds, dust storms and flooding. Having a plan of action and knowing what to do in each of the weather conditions can help save your life.

During any major storm event, the safest place to be is indoors. If you are at home, turn off all unnecessary power equipment and refrain from using landline phones. Make sure your home is equipped with flashlights, batteries, bottled water and non-perishable food items.

Dust storms and rain events can decrease visibility and increase road hazards when driving. If you are in your vehicle during a storm, slow down and pull off to the right side of the road as far as possible and turn off your engine and lights. Be sure to take your foot off the brake pedal.

Never drive through flooded intersections or washes! Even shallow flowing water has enough power to sweep your vehicle off the road or stall your engine. If you approach a flooded intersection, safely turn your vehicle around and find an alternate route.

Monitor weather reports and listen for potential flood warnings in your area. When flooding is imminent, knowing where to find sand and bags is essential to protecting your home and family. Sand and bags are provided free of charge to Surprise residents at multiple locations throughout the city; you will need to bring your own shovel to fill the bags. Sand and bag locations

To report downed trees, roadway debris or clogged storm drains, contact the Public Works department at 623.222.6000; crews will be on call and available to provide assistance during major storm events. If reporting after hours or on a holiday, please call the Surprise Police Department Non-Emergency Line at 623.222.4000.

Visit www.surpriseaz.gov/monsoon for a complete list of monsoon safety tips and resources.


Contact Me

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

Ask a Question