In this episode of Council Conversations, I talk to Sports and Tourism Director Kendra Pettis about some exciting events coming up in Surprise.
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Skip Hall: Mayor Newsletter — February 2023
By Skip Hall
In this episode of Council Conversations, I talk to Sports and Tourism Director Kendra Pettis about some exciting events coming up in Surprise. From what Spring Training promotions are happening this year to details on a brand new music festival, this episode has it all!
Want to learn about the structure of city government, get updated on local issues and get to know your City leaders? Register for the 2023 Surprise City Academy! The eight-session academy offers the opportunity to learn about the City directly from the mayor, councilmembers, city manager and upper-level City staff.
Surprise City Academy begins on February 27 and meets weekly through April 17. Most classes will meet from 6 - 8:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Surprise Public Safety Building, 14250 W. Statler Plz. It's free to participate, but space is limited. For an application and more information, please visit surpriseaz.gov/cityacademy or contact Lord Garcillano at email@example.com or 623.222.1647.
It's time to update the City Council district boundaries in Surprise, and we're asking for resident participation in the process! Redistricting is an effort to ensure all voices are represented equally and fairly by creating districts with nearly the same number of people in them. You can give input on where the boundary lines for our six City Council districts should be through online tools or at one of our public meetings. Get the details here.
2023 State of the City
The City of Surprise invites you to attend our 2023 State of the City on Thursday, March 30 from 6 - 8 p.m.
It will be held at Surprise City Hall in the Council Chambers 16000 N. Civic Center Plz.
6 - 6:30 p.m. • State of the City Video Presentation | City Council Chambers
6:30 - 8 p.m. • Celebration & City Showcase | City Hall Courtyard
Mayor’s Literacy Challenge
I am excited to invite first through fourth-grade students to register for the 2023 Mayor's Literacy Challenge, encouraging students to get reading by having them log their minutes of reading and complete fun challenges to earn badges and prizes! The Mayor's Literacy Challenge runs through March 3 and is open to all Surprise area students, including those attending homeschool, charter school and Dysart Unified School District. Visit the Surprise Literacy Challenge webpage to register and learn more. For questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tax season is right around the corner, and the City of Surprise Human Service and Community Vitality Department, in partnership with A New Leaf, offers free tax preparation services to individuals and families with qualifying incomes.
Tax preparation assistance will be available January 30 - April 18 at the Surprise Resource Center and at Riverboat Bingo from February 1 - April 12. See the press release for more information.
Surprise restaurant list
Are you looking to discover new places to dine in Surprise? In a community growing as quickly as ours, there are frequent updates to the ever-expanding list of restaurants in the community, so we've compiled a list to help you spot your new favorite joint! Check out the latest list here.
The Surprise community came together on Saturday, January 14, to honor the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at The Vista Center for the Arts. Curator of Religion for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., Dr. Eric Williams, provided the keynote address. Thank you to the Human Service & Community Vitality department for hosting this beautiful event and a big thank you to everyone who came out and volunteered!
Oath of Office
On Tuesday, January 3, the City Council Meeting included the swearing-in ceremonies for newly elected District 1 Councilmember Nick Haney, re-elected District 5 Councilmember Jack Hastings and re-elected District 6 Councilmember Chris Judd. Congratulations to each of them!
A new Vice Mayor selected
On Tuesday, January 17, Surprise City Council selected District 6 Councilmember, Chris Judd, to serve as Vice Mayor for a one-year term. Congratulations, Vice Mayor Judd!
The Fields at Countryside Park
The City of Surprise held a ribbon cutting to mark the opening of The Fields at Countryside! Thank you to Willmeng Construction, Kimley-Horn, Dysart Schools and the entire Surprise Parks and Recreation team and Advisory Commission for making this event memorable.
The Fields at Countryside are located on the southwest corner of Greenway Road and Parkview Place. The lighted youth multipurpose fields are ready for use by participants in our City of Surprise youth sports programming. Eventually, these grass fields will be available by reservation when City programs aren't running and all aspects of the project are complete (estimated September 2023). The Park also has paved parking, restrooms and a playground! Flag football players will be the first to run up and down the new fields.
Senate roundtable discussion
Friday, January 20, I took part in a round table discussion with Senator Sinema, other mayors and business leaders to discuss her legislative priorities. We had an opportunity to share federal priorities and issues impacting municipalities and the business community such as housing, water, transportation and workforce development. Senator Sinema supports our infrastructure needs and staff will be working with her team on how we can expedite them.
Total Wine & More ribbon cutting
On Wednesday, January 25, Total Wine & More's store manager, John Dorrance, was eager to give me a tour of the new store before the grand opening. After the tour, I had the pleasure of presenting John with a framed 'Most Wanted Retailer' certificate. Congratulations!
Quench Taps and Tapas ribbon cutting
On Thursday, January 26, Vice Mayor Chris Judd, Councilmember Aly Cline and I joined Angie Cline, Founder and Chef of Quench Taps and Tapas for a ribbon cutting ceremony honoring this brand new Surprise restaurant offering a cozy upscale locale. We are excited to welcome this delicious new addition to our community!
Surprise Stadium special events & promos
Resident Appreciation Days courtesy of Fat Cats: February 24 - March 11
Sensory Awareness Day presented by T.E.A.M. 4 Kids: February 26
The City of Surprise FY2024 budget building process kicked off at the City Council Work Session on Tuesday, January 17. This was the first in a series of presentations to Council by the City's Finance Department regarding the overall development of the budget and the upcoming annual process. The next presentation is planned for February 21.
The Recommended Budget is scheduled for release in April, followed by Council and public review that will result in the adoption of a balanced FY2024 budget in June. All meetings are carried live on Surprise TV for cable customers and streamed online at surpriseaz.gov/surpriseTV. Additionally, each of the staff budget presentations will be linked at surpriseaz.gov/budget the day following the talks. Learn more here.
National Community Survey
What do you love about living in Surprise? What services do you value most? What can the City do better to improve the quality of life in our hometown? You can share your thoughts in the 2023 National Community Survey! What you tell us helps to identify priority projects for Surprise and indicates where limited City funding should go in order to provide the services you most desire.
This scientific survey examines residents' responses on topics ranging from traffic flow to public safety to senior and youth services. Paper surveys have been mailed to 2,800 randomly-selected Surprise households in the first wave of data collection. In mid-Febraury, an online version will open for the entire city to participate. All survey results are anonymous and the City does not know which addresses have been selected by the third-party surveyor and only receives the aggregate results.
Results are expected in April and will be shared online at surpriseaz.gov/NCS. We thank you in advance for your participation, as you help to make Surprise an even better community!
Poetry, art and more!
Are you ready to discover arts and culture events in Surprise? From theater performances, gallery tours, poetry readings and more, make sure to mark your calendar to attend!
February 17 • 6 - 8 p.m.
Poetry Slam at WHAM
February 23 • Noon
Lunchtime Theater – WE3 Classical Jazz | Arts HQ, $15
March 1 • 11 a.m. - Noon
AZ Speaks at Council Chambers
March 9 • 10 - 11 a.m.
Public Art Tour of City Hall
March 16 • Noon
Lunchtime Theater – West Valley Symphony Jam Session | Arts HQ, $15
March 25 • Noon
Tour of artist Joe Tyler's Home & Studio
All dates and times are subject to change. All events are free unless otherwise stated. To register for Public Art Tours and AZ Speaks presented by Arizona Humanities, head to surpriseaz.gov/artssignup. For Lunchtime Theater, contact Arts HQ at 623.584.2626 or visit westvalleyarts.org/theater. To learn more about Poetry Slam, contact WHAM at 623.584.8311 or visit wham-art.org/poetry. Want to see what else is on the 2022-2023 arts & culture calendar? All events are listed online at surpriseaz.gov/arts.
The City of Surprise has some exciting career opportunities available!
Our next City Council Meetings will be held on February 7 and 21. City Council Work Sessions begin at 4 p.m., while City Council Meetings follow at 6 p.m. You are welcome to attend in person, or watch live on surpriseaz.gov/surprisetv, the Surprise City Gov Facebook page at facebook.com/cityofsurprise, or on Cox channel 11. We hope to see you there!