Tag Archives: State of the City

April 19, 2018 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session

City Center Development Update

Last month, I requested that City Council receive an update from City staff and the land owner about the City Center development components and any future plans. At a Council meeting last year, City Council denied a resident development by Mattamy Homes as part of the said development and a request for a Master Plan had been initiated. City Council hosted a joint planning meeting with the Planning and Zoning Commission to discuss needs and desires for City Center in November and until this meeting, an update had not been provided to the entire City Council.

Over the last two years, City Council has approved two developments – Surprise Medical and Thompson Thrift Development (southwest corner of Bell Road and Civic Center Drive). Staff has worked towards a draft circulation plan, draft roadway cross-sections, a master drainage study, a fiscal impact analysis and the donation of 20 acres from the property owner to the City for higher education use by Ottawa University. With this being said, there is still a lot to achieve, and to do so, we need to work together to build a downtown for the future while incorporating the desires of our residents.

City Manager’s FY2019 Recommended Budget

Finance Director Lindsey Duncan presented the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 City Manager Recommended Budget that is built on the foundation of safety for residents, city infrastructure/technology, and the city’s financial position. The most notable change in the $387.8 million budget is the inclusion of new capital projects with the passing of the General Obligation (GO) Bond election from last November. The bonds will fund $59.5 million of needed public safety, traffic congestion mitigation and pavement preservation projects beginning in FY2019. You can learn more at www.surpriseaz.gov/decidesurprise.

Increased operating expenditures are focused on public safety, security, inflation factors, mandated and contractual obligations. Public Safety was the largest recipient of increases to ensure the safety of residents. The Recommended Budget includes the expansion of the city’s ground ambulance service to include a fourth ambulance. The SAFER grant which was awarded to the Fire-Medical Department in 2017 ends in FY2019. The costs for these positions will be fully absorbed by the General Fund mid-year to maintain the enhanced service for residents. In addition, the budget addresses new safety/security needs with the funding of two additional police officers, an emergency manager, an information technology security analyst, and a court compliance coordinator.

With the new requirements of Proposition 206, additional funding is programmed for the minimum wage increase of part-time employees and for paid sick time. The budget also includes additional funding for costs which increase over time such as costs of living, medical premiums, pension contribution rate increases and service-related increases; including water user rates, software licenses, library intergovernmental agreements, and transit intergovernmental agreements.

The Recommended Budget includes funding for the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) of $71 million. This includes utilizing $13 million in FY2019 for land, design, and/or construction of some of the GO Bond projects. The budget commits $21 million to maintain, secure, preserve, and/or replace infrastructure including roads, buildings, equipment and aged vehicles. The remaining capital is divided between utility-related projects ($15 million) and the functional areas of transportation, public safety, general government, and parks and recreation. Funding carried forward (approximately $22 million) from the prior year will continue the work on Desert Oasis water supply facility phase 2, special planning area 1 recharge expansion, and City Center public infrastructure.

Funding for additional operations and capital improvements is generated from growth in general fund revenue. General fund revenues are expected to increase by 10% or approximately $10.9 million above the current adopted budget. Recent escalations in housing activity as well as growing local sales tax account for most of the increase. A five-year forecast of city resources compared to uses helps ensure long-term financial sustainability and secures safety of the city’s financial position. The FY2019 Recommended Budget is available at www.surpriseaz.gov/budget.

City Council is scheduled to adopt a final budget in June.


City Council Meeting

Community Development Block Grant Program FY18-19

Human Service and Community Vitality Director Seth Dyson presented funding priorities and recommendations for the Community Development Block Grant Program Annual Action Plan and public service activities for FY18-19. As an entitlement city, Surprise receives a yearly allotment of CDBG funding from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The anticipated funding amount for our Annual Action Plan is $638,560.

CDBG public service funds can be utilized to provide a variety of public services such as child care, health services, job training, youth services and more for low to moderate income individuals and families. The funding amount for this category is $95,784. CDBG Public Service funding is limited to 15% of the annual CDBG allocation for the program year. Council approved the 2018-2019 Community Development Block Grant Public Service Funding as recommended.

Toll at Prasada Preliminary Plat

City Council approved a Preliminary Plat for Toll at Prasada, which is generally located west of Cotton Lane, between Cactus Road and Peoria Avenue. The Preliminary Plat covers approximately 772 gross acres and anticipates a maximum of 2,207 lots in eighteen (18) development parcels or “pads” to be developed over ten (10) phases. Phase 1 will include 463 of those lots in addition to roadway improvements to Cactus Road from Cotton Lane to 175th Avenue and Peoria Avenue from Cotton Lane to 175th Avenue. Phase I also includes five different lot products intended to reach a variety of customers. Amenities will include a club house, recreation center and golf course with abundant, beautifully-landscaped open space.


Events & Meetings

Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce Breakfast Meeting

The Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce hosted their monthly breakfast meeting on Thursday, April 12 at West-MEC Northwest Campus. Garrick Taylor with the Arizona Chamber of Commerce led interviews with both Congressional District 8 candidates, former State Legislator Debbie Lesko and Dr. Hiral Tipirneni. The Special General Election for the seat will take place Tuesday, April 24.

Tourism Advisory Commission Meeting

The Tourism Advisory Commission met on Thursday, April 12. Items of discussion included the adoption of the Commission’s Strategic Master Plan with staff recommendations.

The Tourism Advisory Commission, Arts and Cultural Advisory Commission and Community and Recreation Services Commission will be hosting a joint meeting at 6 p.m. on April 30 in the Community and Recreation Services meeting room, located at 15960 N. Bullard Avenue. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss collaboration opportunities between the commissions.

Friends of the Surprise Libraries

On Friday, April 13, I attended the Friends of the Surprise Libraries meeting at the Surprise Chamber of Commerce. Included in the discussion was the approval of audio book sets in the amount of $450 to Imagine Rosefield Charter School for 29 students.

WHAM Recycled Arts Festival

WHAM hosted their annual WHAM Recycled Arts Festival on Saturday, April 14. This year’s event gave local artists, local musicians, and dancers, a place to gather to showcase their talents. The art activities for kids were free and gave them ideas on what they can do with the repurposed material in their homes.

I was honored to be asked to introduce the Recycled Arts fashion show and witness the talent of all those involved.

WHAM Recycled Arts fashion show

State of the City

Growing a downtown, building community wealth, enhancing public transit via autonomous vehicle options and highlighting ways to maintain a connected Surprise, were all addressed in Mayor Sharon Wolcott’s 2018 State of the City speech, on Monday, April 16. Mayor Wolcott talked about how the city has performed well in previous years to build the foundation that will allow the city to grow responsibly in the future for all generations.

Furthermore, she elaborated on the attributes for what is required to create a true downtown such as walkability to comfort and access. The goal is to achieve a downtown Surprise that creates a sense of place for residents and visitors alike. You can read the speech and watch the video at https://www.surpriseaz.gov/SOTC.


Mark Your Calendar

Surprise SciTech Festival

Have fun with science and technology, while celebrating Earth Day, at the Surprise SciTech Festival on April 21! The event is free and has something for all ages! Come check out interactive SciTech booths, an incredible line-up of speakers, music and more! Plus, we’ll have delicious food options from local vendors available for purchase. The event will take place from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the Surprise City Hall Outside Courtyard, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza.

Demonstrations and displays include:

  • City of Surprise Fire-Medical, Police, Public Works, Water Resources and other departments
  • Local businesses and colleges (including ASU and Ottawa University)
  • Dysart School District Solar Go Kart and Robotics teams

We also have a variety of amazing speakers lined up for this event. Make plans to watch these exciting and informative presentations in the Surprise City Hall Council Chambers:

  • How the Brain Works (9:00 – 9:50 a.m. and 10:10 – 11:00 a.m.) – Presentation will identify the main parts of the brain and what they do, explore sensory illusions, and teach how to enhance the formation of memories by our brain.
  • When Even The Walking Dead Refuse to Conserve Energy: Sustainable Innovations from the Developing World (11:20 a.m. – 12:10 p.m.) – This talk is aimed at encouraging creative, innovative thinking about sustainability and energy innovations at all scales, in all places, and for all our communities.
  • Science the Earth (12:30 p.m. – 1:20 p.m.) – A discussion on how to bridge cultures through science and human discovery, and how logic and innovation unite our planet in a quest for knowledge.
  • U.S. Manned Space Flight (1:40 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.) – Who were the early astronauts? What ‘firsts’ were accomplished by American astronauts? What happened to the American space program after the moon landings? These and many other questions will be answered and discussed in this presentation.

For more information on the event, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/scitech.

Surprise Senior Services Senior Prom

Get your dancing shoes ready because the City of Surprise Seniors Prom is happening on Tuesday, May 1! “Starry Night” is the theme for this year’s annual Seniors Prom, which will be held Tuesday, May 1 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Surprise Senior Center, 15832 N. Hollyhock St.

In addition to music and dancing, prom attendees will enjoy a delicious catered lunch. A prom king and queen will also be crowned. Come in formal or casual attire. Both singles and couples are welcome. Please make reservations at the Surprise Senior Center front desk by 3:30 p.m. on Friday, April 27. The cost is $7 for Senior Center members and $15 for non-members.

Seniors Prom is hosted by the City of Surprise Human Service & Community Vitality Department’s Senior Services Division. For more information, please call 623.222.1500 or visit the Senior Center Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.


Did You Know?

2018 Surprise Retail Survey Results

The City of Surprise launched a retail survey in March asking the community to vote for their favorite locally-owned businesses; both their top restaurant and top retailer. In just three weeks, the survey garnered more than 3,000 responses!

Congratulations to following businesses for earning the title “Local Favorite”:

Top 10 Local Restaurants

Oregano’s Pizza Bistro
State 48 Brewery
Babbo Italian Eatery
Rio Mirage Café
Nick’s Diner II
Vogue Bistro
Saigon Kitchen
Jim’s Burgers and Eggs
Big Buddha
Irish Wolfhound

Top 5 Local Retailers

Musical Surprise
Son Glow Boutique
Kimbur Pet Wash
PinkaBella Cupcakes
Gifts to Go

The city would like to thank everyone who participated in the survey!

Surprise Public Transit Study Continues

Although the Transit Feasibility Survey is closed, there are other opportunities for you to be involved in deciding the future of public transportation in Surprise. In addition to the online public comment form, two community engagement and education opportunities are planned for later this year.

A community workshop is tentatively planned for the afternoon of June 13, 2018 and will introduce the service alternatives available to Surprise and which ones should be priorities for the next five to ten years. Various public engagement tools are planned for this phase of community engagement, including WikiMapping – an online tool that provides users the opportunity to view, at their leisure, draft transit route concepts and comment on them.

During the fall 2018 public meeting, the project team will share the recommended short-term and long-term service alternatives based on information received from the Transit Feasibility Survey and initial public meeting. Public comments shared at both meetings will be included in the final implementation plan.

For more information regarding Transit Feasibility Study and stay informed about future updates and meeting details at surpriseaz.gov/transitstudy.


Contact Me

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

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April 12, 2018 • Newsletter

Events & Meetings

Surprise Citizens Academy

I was invited to address the Surprise Citizens Academy on Monday, April 9 in the Public Safety Auditorium. I was able to provide participants with how I became a Councilmember, the achievements the City Council has been able to make during my time on Council, my platform and initiatives and an overall update on District 5 and the city.

Madison Heights Tour

Human Service and Community Vitality Director Seth Dyson and I took a tour of the Madison Heights apartment complex in Avondale on Tuesday, April 10. Madison Heights is an exciting Maricopa Housing Authority Project in Avondale. The Maricopa Housing Authority is interested in a similar project in the Original Town Site.

Appreciation Event for Retiring IRIS USA CEO

Economic Development Director Jeanine Jerkovic and City Councilmembers hosted an appreciation dinner honoring Chet Keizer who retired last month as the CEO of IRIS USA. We are thankful that he has chosen Surprise to call his home and Mr. Keizer looks forward to serving the community in his new capacity as resident.


Mark Your Calendar

WHAM Recycled Arts Festival

Join WHAM Art Association to see what you can create with cast-off and recycled materials. Juried Exhibit for Adults in the West Gallery and a Special Youth Art Exhibit displaying creations of at least 75% recycled material. Art, Music, Entertainment, ICE CREAM, Dancers, Demonstrations and to cap off the day –a Runway Fashion Show for Adults and Kids. -over 30 different fashions on the runway. There will be fun for the whole family. For additional festival information available, please visit http://www.wham-art.org/recycle-arts.html.

Surprise Swap Meet

The semi-annual Surprise Super Swap Meet on Saturday, April 14. More than 50 vendors will have new and used treasures on display from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the parking lot of the Surprise Aquatic Center, located at 15831 N. Bullard Avenue. Parking and admission are free.

The Surprise Swap Meet is sponsored by the Human Service & Community Vitality Department and the Surprise Senior Center Site Council. For more information, please call 623.222.1500.

State of the City

Mayor Sharon Wolcott’s 2018 State of the City Address will be held on Monday, April 16, at the new West-MEC Northwest Campus! Join City Council, your neighbors and business leaders and learn more about the opportunities for transportation, job growth and water management.

A reception in the Lightbox building begins at 6 p.m. The program will begin at 6:30 p.m. West-MEC is located at 13201 W. Grand Avenue. Register through the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce at http://www.surpriseregionalchamber.com/state-of-the-city.html.

Registration Open for Youth Summer Leagues and Camps

The City of Surprise Community and Recreation Services Department is currently offering registration for the following summer sports programs:

  • Summer Youth Basketball League:
    Recreational leagues for boys and girls ages 5-15. The summer basketball season starts in early June and runs until the end of July. Games are played on Saturdays and/or weeknights. Practice times are up to the volunteer coach, usually one hour, once a week (5:30pm, 6:30pm or 7:30pm). Age determined on or before July 31, 2018. For league details, visit www.surpriseaz.gov/1165/Youth-Basketball
  • Summer Break Sports Camps:
    Surprise is also offering a number of Summer Youth Sports Camps in June and July, including basketball, football, baseball, softball, volleyball, soccer and cheerleading. For a list of camp dates and details, visit www.surpriseaz.gov/2017/Sports-Camps-and-Clinics

Don’t miss your shot at these great summer activities! Register online at surpriserec.surpriseaz.gov or in person at the Community and Recreation Services Office, 15960 N Bullard Avenue. The final day to register is April 28, when a special Saturday registration will be held at the Community and Recreation Services office from 8-11 a.m. For more information, please contact the Sports Division at 623-222-2000 or visit www.surpriseaz.gov/recreation.


Did You Know?

City Council Meeting

Surprise City Council will meet for Work Session at 4 pm on Tuesday, April 17 and our Regularly Scheduled meeting at 6 pm. Many of you have inquired about an update on City Center. An update will be provided during our Work Session by Carefree Partners. To see our agenda, please visit https://www.surpriseaz.gov/1592/Watch-Council-Meetings-Online.

New Surprise Progress TV Episode

Watch the latest episode of Surprise Progress TV for info on the 2019 budget building process, the first bond sale related to the GO Bond Election, the upcoming State of the City Address, info on grants for small business owners and more!

Watch episode…



Contact Me

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

Ask a Question

February 23, 2017 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session

Budget Discussion For Fiscal Year 2018

On February 21, the Council had its second in a series of work sessions on the upcoming FY2018 budget. The focus was on the sources of funds for the General Fund. The General Fund’s unassigned fund balance is $2.5 million higher than estimated due to greater revenues and lower expenditures than expected for last fiscal year. These funds can be used for one time uses such as capital projects. Revenues for the current fiscal year are also currently 4% or $1.8 million above budgeted amounts. Impacts to local sales tax collections within the Bell Road and Grand Avenue Interchange Improvement project area are smaller than anticipated. These impacts are further offset by greater collections in other areas of the City.

Also reviewed were the city’s reserves which total $35.2 million for the current fiscal year. A revision to establish separate Operating, Budget Stabilization, and Emergency reserves within the General Fund was discussed. This will help to clarify the purpose of the General Fund reserves, identify when they can be used, and establish timelines to replenish them when they are used.

The budget discussions will continue over the next few Council meetings resulting in the June adoption of the FY2018 budget that will become effective July 1.

Discussion of Adoption of Public Art Plan

Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission Chair Susan DeJong provided an overview of the proposed Public Art Plan. The purpose of the plan is to identify and refine how art is integrated into City Hall. Commission members have worked in partnership with Consultant Architekton. The Commission would like to utilize some of this fiscal year’s funding to cover some of the priority projects. The goal is to proceed with the highest impact projects for the lowest cost.


City Council Meeting

Major Amendment to the Sycamore Farms PAD

Sustainability Engineering Group, on behalf Taylor Trust Farms LLC, sought approval of an amendment to the zoning of the Sycamore Farms PAD to modify land uses and to adjust certain commercial development standards. These proposed amendments demonstrated intent to develop the site to better represent the current needs of the residential and commercial development community that has transformed since the adoption of the Sycamore Farms PAD 16 years ago. The amendment passed unanimously.

Sycamore Farms PAD Map

Approval of Annexation

Staff requested the approval of an annexation of a 3.34 acre portion of Peoria Avenue, located between Sarival Avenue and Reems Road. Based on a previous Intergovernmental Agreement, Maricopa County expanded and constructed this proposed annexation section of Right-of-Way on the south side of Peoria Avenue between Reems Road and Sarival Avenue. This annexation will transfer ownership and maintenance to the City of Surprise and provide a safe transportation option and improve connectivity. The recommendation passed unanimously.

Council repeals City-wide Temporary Sign Policy; and Bell and Grand Temporary Sign and Use Permit Policy

The city of Surprise has a history of responding to business needs. During the last economic recession, City Council adopted a citywide temporary signage policy, in 2009, to temporarily allow for a-frame signs, building banners and ease restrictions for sign walkers.

Council extended it for one year in 2012 and agreed to keep it in place during the Bell-Grand Construction Project in 2016.

Eight years later with an improving economy, Council approved removing the temporary policy, at their February 21 Regular Meeting. This move is aimed at eliminating the clutter of too many temporary signs that have popped up along city sidewalks and other locations throughout the city.

Businesses citywide have until April 22, 2017 (60 days following Council action) to comply with the original signage policy.

Under the original policy:

  • A-frames are not permitted.
  • Building banners are only allowed twice per year, for 30 days.
  • In the event of a Grand Opening, the building banner is permitted for a 60-day period.

The city also realized that closing Bell Road for seven months during the Bell-Grand intersection work would impact area businesses, so Council adopted a temporary Bell-Grand Signage Policy, for businesses surrounding the construction zone that allowed for more temporary signage during construction and waived temporary use permit fees.

Now that the work is complete, Council has voted to repeal this policy as well. Bell-Grand businesses have until April 22, 2017 to comply with the original signage policies as listed previously. In addition, Bell-Grand area businesses will once again be required to obtain a building permit for directional signage and special events may also require a Temporary Use Permit. These two items were temporarily lifted under the temporary Bell-Grand policy.

The ultimate goal is to remove clutter from our city streets and sidewalks and create an atmosphere that aims to make business signage more impactful.

The Sign Code is available online at:

https://www.municode.com/library/az/surprise/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PTIILADEOR_CH113SI

Questions? Call Community Development at 623.222.3000.

Purchase of Real Property in Original Town Site

The City Council has identified the Surprise Heritage District as an important area to the City’s heritage and as such to expand current city services in the area. The City owns the majority of property surrounding the site and thus has identified the Do Norma property as a property to acquire as an investment for City services in the future. The Council unanimously agreed to purchase the 5.84 acres.

Budget Amendment for Pickleball Courts and Shade Structures

In February 2015, City Council formed a Capital Improvement Funding Exploratory Committee to review potential use of general obligation bonds to fund specific capital improvements. Construction of eight additional lighted Pickleball Courts was included in the review of the committee and the courts were supported by the Community and Recreation Services Advisory Commission. It was later decided to remove the courts from the bond package and look for other sources to fund this $500,000 project.

Construction of the additional courts adjacent to the existing courts will require the relocation of the sand volleyball courts at Community Park. Conservative estimated project completion would be August 2017.

Separately, over the years City Council approved the construction of a wide variety of Park and Recreation facilities including sports fields and courts, playgrounds, water features, dog parks, and open space. These facilities are a gathering place for all ages. During much of the year, the heat from the shade makes it difficult to fully enjoy our facilities. Equipment is hot to the touch, flooring too hot for bare feet, and without shade of any kind, there is no way to find respite other than leaving the facility and heading inside.

Shade structures may be constructed throughout the city at a cost of approximately $20,000 for a 30’x30′ and $40,000 for a 40’x40′. Staff will specifically analyze the needs citywide and recommend the best mix of structures to maximize the benefit from a $200,000 investment in shade. City Council unanimously approved the budget amendment to proceed.


Events & Meetings

Valley Metro RPTA Monthly Meeting

The Valley Metro RPTA Board unanimously voted to officially make an offer for an Internal Audit Manager.

Surprise Becomes a College Town!

Ottawa University and the City of Surprise announced on Friday, February 17 that Ottawa University Arizona (OUAZ), a new residential university campus, will be opening Fall 2017 in Surprise, expanding upon the university’s 40-year presence in our state, making Surprise a university town, and bringing intercollegiate athletic programs to the West Valley.

OUAZ Surprise, 15950 N. Civic Center Plaza, will offer a full complement of academic, athletic and student activity programs including multiple undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The university will be home to 19 varsity men’s and women’s sports teams, and will be working toward a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) designation. Upon award of the designation, OUAZ would be one of only four NAIA programs in Arizona.

Ottawa University President Kevin C. Eichner announced the university aims to enroll 250 students for its first semester of classes at the new campus, with a target of up to 3,000 residential students over 10 years, adding to its current 8,300 alumni roll in the Arizona market.

Ottawa University is a private, non-profit, Christian university that was founded in Ottawa, Kansas in 1865. The future 35-acre campus will be embedded within the Surprise City Center, integrating with the existing 250-acre City of Surprise Civic Center and Recreation campus. The school will also launch out of existing space within the Communiversity at the Civic Center, allowing students to avail themselves to the surrounding city amenities, including the Surprise Aquatic Center, Dream Catcher Park, the Surprise Tennis & Racquet Complex, and Surprise Stadium, as well as robust shopping and dining amenities.

Ottawa University Dedication
City Council Members with Dr. Kevin Eichner and Dr. Dennis Tyne

Surprise Fine Art & Wine Festival

Despite the inclement weather, the Surprise Fine Art & Wine Festival took place this past weekend. Although there were a few cancellations, 67 artists participated. There were six wineries and a distillery as well as three musicians. There were approximately 1700 patrons on Friday and a few hundred the remainder of the days.

State of the City Address

In her message to residents, businesses, partners and volunteers on Wednesday, February 22, Mayor Sharon Wolcott demonstrated that when we work together in the spirit of community pride we enhance quality of life for all ages and establish a solid foundation for future generations. She cited examples of success in transportation, including the on-time completion of the Bell-Grand intersection improvements; public safety; job growth; and social-service support that have all improved quality of life in Surprise.

As part of the Surprise International initiative, Mayor Wolcott announced the creation of a cross-border task force to study innovations in the $100 billion health tourism industry and to explore whether Surprise can play a role in “setting a new standard in medical tourism delivery.” The task force will be comprised of Canadian and Arizonan industry partners, and will be co-chaired by Surprise Economic Development Director Jeanine Jerkovic.

She reminded the audience that Surprise remains a growing community and that will increase the demands in maintaining a safe and vibrant city and cited the continued need to support transportation improvements, educational opportunities and securing space for future public safety locations, parks and open space.

Watch the video of the speech or read the transcript at www.surpriseaz.gov/sotc.


Mark Your Calendar

Mayor’s Welcome Back Lunch

Mayor Wolcott will be hosting the 15th Annual Mayor’s Welcome Back Luncheon to celebrate the return of the Kansas City Royals and the Texas Rangers on Thursday, March 2 from 11 am – 1 pm. The event will take place at Surprise Stadium – Sanderson Ford 1st Base Concourse, located at 15930 N. Bullard Avenue.

Event admission will include a catered lunch provided by State 48 Brewery; 1 plaza level ticket to the Colorado Rockies vs. Kansas City Royals scheduled game; and a 15th anniversary commemorative gift. Guests will also have the opportunity to hear about the upcoming season from team staff. For more information, please contact the Community and Recreation Services office at 623.222.2000.

Surprise Police Explorers Host “Tip A Cop” Event

The Surprise Police Department Police Explorer Post 2236 will join forces with the staff at the local Outback Steakhouse Restaurant, located at 14225 W. Grand Avenue, in order to raise donations in support of the their growing program. The event will be held on Saturday, March 4 from 4 – 8 pm.

The explorers are inviting the public to join them at the event and help support their fund raising efforts during this “Tip-a-Cop” event. So, come meet some of the Explorers and enjoy some of your favorite food. Remember to bring your change to tip your “server” and make a donation/contribution to help the Explorers raise funds to support their growing program.

Click here to learn more information about Surprise Police Explorer Post 2236: http://ow.ly/VqYMc


Did You Know?

15th Annual Spring Training Season Starts This Weekend!

We are thrilled to kick off the 15th Annual Spring Training Season in Surprise! If you haven’t secured your tickets for the Kansas City Royals or Texas Rangers games, it’s not too late! The first game begins on February 25, at 1:05 pm, with a hometown match-up between the Royals and Rangers to support our local youth sports programs!

This season, there is something for everyone! Here are a few of the fun promotional event dates:

February 26 – KC Royals Surprise Recreation Campus Hall of Fame Inductees
March 2 – KC Royals Mascot “Slugger” visits Surprise Stadium
March 5 – Texas Rangers Surprise Recreation Campus Hall of Fame Inductees
March 12 – Ronald McDonald visits Surprise Stadium
March 25 – Budweiser Clydesdales visit Surprise Stadium

With craft brew all the rage these days… For $30 you have access to the Four Peaks Pavilion in right field, a catered meal and a beverage! Other options include the Boulevard Craft Brew tent and our local State 48 craft brew stand! New on the food menu includes grilled corn on the cob and the Triple Play- a hot dog inside a hamburger, wrapped in bacon!

For a complete game schedule and more, visit www.surprisespringtraining.com or call 623.222.2222.


Contact Me

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

Ask a Question

January 26, 2017 • Newsletter

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Update

The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) continues to issue project updates for the Bell Road/Grand Avenue bridge project. Please note that the project has entered the third and final stage.

I encourage you to familiarize yourself with the Bell-Grand interchange traffic configurations before the project is complete in February. View the ADOT Bell-Grand interchange animation to better understand traffic movements at the project intersections.

Upcoming Activities

  • Westbound Bell Road closed between 134th Avenue and West Point Parkway from 9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, to 5 a.m. Monday, Jan. 30, for pavement work. DETOUR: Drivers can use Dysart Road to Grand Avenue and Litchfield Road to reconnect to westbound Bell Road.
  • Grand Avenue base paving has been completed. Final paving will still need to be done and will require simultaneous closures of Towne Center Drive and Bell Grande. Final paving is anticipated to begin on Jan. 29.
  • Grand Avenue will be restricted to one lane in both directions at times over the next couple of weeks during daytime hours. Two lanes of traffic will be back in place at the end of each day.

City, County, and State law enforcement will be patrolling the area. Please obey all traffic signage and posted speed limits.

For more information or if you have questions: ADOT’s project hotline (855) 712-8530, press option #1 or email: bellandgrandinfo@azdot.gov

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Traffic Pattern Update

The Bell-Grand Traffic Pattern Map focuses on the intersections at Grand and Bell Grande Drive; Grand and Bell Road; and Grand and Towne Center Drive. Here are the biggest changes you will encounter:

  • An active traffic signal on the top of the Bell Road Bridge will direct traffic movements from the new on-off ramps to and from Grand Avenue;
  • Traffic descending northwest on Grand Avenue ramps will merge into Grand Avenue traffic prior to approaching the Towne Center Drive intersection. Shoppers will note dual lefts at the intersection to get into the commercial area;
  • There will be NO access to Bell Grande Drive (by Carl’s Jr.) for traffic coming off of the eastbound Grand Avenue ramp from Bell. If you want to shop at Surprise Marketplace, stay on Bell and enter the parking lot by the Chick-fil-A driveway at the bottom of the bridge;
  • And motorists traveling on Grand Avenue in either direction that want to access Bell Road should be in the left lane to access the ramps. At the top of the ramps there will be dual left lanes and one right lane to connect you to Bell.

Bell-Grand Traffic Pattern Map

The map complements the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) interchange video that provides an animated portrayal of how motorists will access Bell Road from westbound Grand Avenue when the ramps open next month. Additionally, the city has identified the ‘Top 5 Driving Pattern Changes to Know’ to assist residents with navigating the area.

The Bell-Grand project is scheduled to be completed prior to the first Spring Training game at Surprise Stadium on February 25. For more information about the Bell-Grand project, visit www.surpriseaz.gov/bellandgrand.


Events & Meetings

AZ STEM Community of Practice Meeting

Along with representation from Canyon Ridge Elementary School, I attended the AZ STEM Community of Practice Meeting at Centerra Mirage STEM Academy in Goodyear on Tuesday, January 17. AZ STEM School Community of Practice is a joint initiative between hi-tech businesses, community members, educators, students and parents. This is a collaboration that consists of 57 forward-thinking schools dedicated to sharing best practices and finding solutions to educate our youth in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). This particular meeting consisted of break-out sessions that focused on attracting funds and partnerships.

Mountain Vista Ranch HOA Meeting

On Wednesday, January 18, I attended the Mountain Vista Ranch HOA meeting to present an overall city update with a focus on economic development. Police Chief Terry Young accompanied me to discuss recent vehicular burglaries. He reinforced the need to lock your car doors and keep your valuables indoors or out of sight. All but one vehicle was left unlocked during these aforementioned crimes.

El Mirage City Hall Grand Opening

City Councilmembers Jim Hayden, Roland Winters, Ken Remley and I attended the El Mirage City Hall grand opening and ribbon cutting on Thursday, January 19 along with several other elected officials and dignitaries from around the Valley. The new City Hall is located on El Mirage Road between Peoria and Olive Avenues.

AZ History & Culture Speaker Series Continues

The Surprise Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission in partnership with Arizona Humanities hosted another fantastic speaker series event on Monday, January 23 at City Hall. The presentation introduced us to the flamboyant stage coach robber Pearl Hart and the road that took her from an innocent teenager to a life of crime. We had 95 people attend the free event!

The next speaker series event will follow the footsteps of Martha Summerhayes who gave birth to the first Anglo child born at Fort Apache. The free event will be held February 15 from 11 am – noon in the City Council Chambers at Surprise City Hall. Please contact Commission Chair Susan deJong for additional information at 623.214.7537.

Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce

The Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce hosted their Annual Meeting as part of their monthly breakfast meeting on Tuesday, January 24. Chamber Board Chair Patrick McDermott introduced the 2017 Board Officers which, in addition to himself, include Scott Philips, Jeremiah Hood, Steve Doolittle and Melissa Holdaway. Additionally, Mr. McDermott provided the 2016 highlights which included the award-winning ShopSurprise campaign produced in collaboration with the city of Surprise, the revitalization of the Chairman’s Circle and an overview of the Chamber’s financials. The Chamber gained 75 new members and 17 Chairman Circle members in 2016. The total membership exceeds 400 members.

Chamber CEO Raoul Sada discussed the three pillars of the Chamber which include Membership Services and Resources, Voice of the Business Community, and Public Education and Outreach. For more information on the Chamber, please visit their website at www.surpriseregionalchamber.com.


Mark Your Calendar

2017 Surprise City Academy

If you are interested in learning about the structure of city government or just want to update yourself on local issues, now is the time to register for the 2017 Surprise City Academy. The eight-session academy offers the opportunity to learn about the city directly from City Council and city management.

The Surprise City Academy will begin on March 6 and continue weekly through April 17. Most classes meet from 6-8:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Surprise Public Safety Building, located at 14250 W. Statler Plaza. The Academy is free but space is limited, so I encourage you to register by February 23.

For more information, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/cityacademy or contact Ruby Sitea at 623.222.3242.

Lunchtime Theatre Series

The City of Surprise and the West Valley Arts Council, in partnership with Theatre Works, the West Valley Symphony and the Phoenix Opera are excited to offer another performance, “Jam Session with Maestro Kellogg and Friends”. The performance will be held on February 9, 2017. The first performance will be held at 11:30 a.m. and the second at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased by calling the West Valley Arts Council at 623.935.6384.

State of the City Address

Mayor Sharon Wolcott plans to highlight the success of Our Community. Our Story and provide the vision for future success in the 2017 State of the City luncheon event.

When: Wednesday, February 22

Where: The Colonnade, 19116 Colonnade Way, Surprise, 85374

Registration begins at 10:45 a.m. Lunch follows and the program begins at 11:30 a.m.

The Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce is accepting registrations online and by phone at 623.583.0692 or 623.748.1828. Single tickets are $35; or $500 for a reserved table for 10. The event is hosted by the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce and Sun Health.


Did You Know?

Surprise Veteran Job Club

The City of Surprise is proud to serve the men and women of the Armed Forces, both active-duty and veterans, who serve us so well! That’s why we have launched a Veteran Job Club, where veterans provide other veterans, active military and their family members with industry and career pathway knowledge to help them gain the skills they need to land a new job or pursue a new career! This group includes employment assistance, guest speakers and networking!

When: February 2, 2017 from 6 – 7:30 p.m.

Where: Surprise Resource Center at the AZ TechCelerator campus, 12425 W. Bell Rd, Suite #124

To register, please call the Surprise Resource Center 623.222.1600.


Contact Me

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

Ask a Question

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