Surprise to reopen facilities, programs in phases

City unveils plan for COVID-19 restart

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June will bring public access to Surprise City Hall, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza, but the reopening of skateparks and the restart of low-risk recreation programs are still undetermined.

It’s part of the city of Surprise’s four-phase reopening plan, which is budget-minded.

Days after Gov. Doug Ducey’s stay-at-home order ended, Surprise officials May 18 released the newest guidelines for the city.

The city is keeping an eye on federal and state guidelines as they change, while also juggling what it can financially afford to reopen.

“We know that COVID-19 will negatively impact our revenues, particularly in April and May,” City Manager Mike Frazier said in a news release. “This reopening plan allows us the flexibility to reopen some programs and amenities when we are sure we can afford to do so, while also following public health and state guidelines.” 

City officials said increased sanitation, health safety protocols and CDC guidelines will be part of each phase of the reopening.   

The previously announced reopenings of tennis and pickleball courts on May 13 are considered Phase 1 of the reopening. Dog parks and appointments at the Surprise Resource Center, 12425 W. Bell Road, during regular business hours were also part of that reopening.

Part of Phase 2 will take place Monday, June 1, when City Hall reopens for public access.

The second part of Phase 2 at an undetermined date will include the resumption of lower-risk recreation programs such as club swim practices, water aerobics and lap swim. Those programs are also cost-neutral to the city.

Sand volleyball courts and skateparks are also scheduled to reopen as part of Phase 2, but it’s unknown when that will be.

Phase 3 of the plan will kick in only when larger group gatherings are OK’d by health officials.

It includes the return of public attendance to City Council and other public meetings. It will also signal the reopening of a series of recreation amenities and programs.

Those include city playgrounds, basketball courts, ramada rentals and splash pads.

The city plans to offer some recreation and special interest classes with limited group sizes in the third phase.

The city’s three libraries could also reopen then, but with reduced hours.

Phase 3 will also allow the resumption of small community events where physical distancing is in place.

When all large gathering advisories are lifted, Surprise plans to enact Phase 4. That will include block parties and other large venue gatherings.

It will also mean the Surprise Aquatic Center, 15831 N. Bullard Ave., and Hollyhock Pool, 15808 N. Hollyhock St., can reopen. Surprise is keeping the pools closed for now, even though Mr. Ducey’s lifted order allows pools to open.

The opening of the pools is one area the city is balancing finances with safety. The city loses money each season to operate the pools, and it just furloughed hundreds of seasonal and temporary workers, mostly in the Parks and Recreation Department, in late March.

It was scheduled to open for public swimming on Memorial Day weekend.

The Surprise Senior Center, 15832 N. Hollyhock St., can also reopen in Phase 4.

The city offers its full reopening plan at surpriseaz.gov/COVID-19.

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