With a state engineer on board, design work is underway on the transformation of Bullard Avenue, between Greenway Road and Peoria Avenue, city staff informed the Bullard Avenue Task Force, Thursday evening.
Per task force recommendation, this stretch of Bullard Avenue will be restored to two travel lanes in each direction, while maintaining the 35 mile-per-hour speed limit. Traffic signals will also be added at the Acoma and Sweetwater intersections, to complement existing crosswalks.
With five schools located in the area and more than 600 students crossing Bullard during the school year, the city secured $1.7 million in federal grant money, including a $500,000 city match, for a total of $2.2 million to fund safety improvements. As a federally-funded project, it must be administered through the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT).
Bike lanes and cycle tracks (safety buffers), along with landscaping are included in the project.
Design and drainage plan drafts and an environmental assessment are expected to be completed this summer. Final reports are scheduled for completion this fall. The project bid is expected to be advertised in early 2018, with construction planned for May 2018 – October 2018. The previously announced tentative construction start date of late 2017 was pushed back to allow for the selection of a project engineer and for securing additional grant money to cover the costs of installing a landscaped median.
The Surprise City Council selected District 6 Councilmember Todd Tande to serve as Vice Mayor at their regular meeting Tuesday night.
Per city code, City Council must select a new Vice Mayor to serve on an annual basis no later than January 30. The Vice Mayor acts on behalf of the Mayor in the event of absence.
Tande was elected to City Council in the August 2013 election to serve an extended five-year term beginning January 2014.
He spent his early career in the private sector with many years in the theme park and aerospace and defense industries. Prior to serving on the Surprise City Council, Tande held previous public service roles in California and Indiana. He is also a licensed Realtor.
Tande serves on the Board of Directors and as Sr. Executive Vice President, and co-founder of Education Connection Solutions, LLC., a management consulting firm. He also serves as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Navajo Mission and School in Rock Point, Arizona, and is a member of the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) Human Services and Community Initiatives Committee.
He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Management and his MBA from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, California.
Commuters were able to cruise over the new Bell Road Bridge at Grand Avenue on their way to work this morning, as the Arizona Department of Transportation officially opened the road at 12:15 a.m.
The city of Surprise hosted a pre-celebration on Monday in the Surprise Marketplace parking lot to officially kick-off the 2016 Holiday Season and to thank the area businesses, residents and drivers for their patience during the seven-month closure of Bell Road.
“To the customers that continued to shop these businesses, thank you for realizing that they were ALWAYS open and for supporting them,” said Mayor Sharon Wolcott. “And to those that took a different commute during the closure, I invite you to come back to this area. No more stopping for the train and three new businesses have opened since the closure began in April, with two others opening this fall. Come check them out!”
Representatives from the Arizona Department of Transportation and the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce also spoke at the event that was attended by neighboring elected officials, residents and local businesses.
As a “thank you” for supporting the businesses around the Bell and Grand intersection attendees received Surprise shopping bags, filled with vendor coupons and promotional items. A perfect reminder to Shop Surprise this holiday season!
The Bell Road closure was part of the ADOT US 60 (Grand Ave) and Bell Road Interchange project which began in January 2016. By closing Bell for 7 months, construction delays were avoided during two Spring Training Seasons and this year’s holiday shopping season.
The entire Bell-Grand project, including the ramps connecting Grand Avenue to Bell Road, is scheduled to be complete prior to Spring Training 2017 at the Surprise Recreation Campus. In the meantime, your Bell to Grand Avenue access remains on Dysart Road, east of the intersection and Bell to Reems to Grand, west of the intersection.
City Manager Bob Wingenroth announced Tuesday night that Fitch Ratings, one of the “Big Three” nationally recognized credit rating agencies, has upgraded the city’s Excise Tax and State-Shared Revenue Obligation (ETRO) bond rating to ‘AA+’ from ‘AA-’.
Fitch stated the “rating reflects a solid coverage cushion and expectations for strong pledged revenue growth.”
Fitch also upgraded the city’s Long-Term Issuer Default rating (IDR) to ‘AA+’ from ‘AA-’.
In reviewing the city’s economic base Fitch noted, “The city’s 2015 population of 128,422 has realized a rapid 10% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the past 15 years and its median household income exceeds that of the U.S. by 16%.”
In commenting on the city’s operating performance Fitch reported, “Fitch expects Surprise to maintain a high level of financial flexibility through economic downturns based on its ample revenue raising capacity and solid financial flexibility, supplemented by its ample reserves.”
“We are very pleased with this news,” says Finance Director Lindsey Duncan. “In following the financial policy direction as set by City Council, we have been able to do an amazing job of managing city revenues in a responsible manner and these favorable ratings verify that.” A city’s credit rating is important due to its impact on interest rates in the bond market. A better rating means the city can sell bonds to finance capital projects and pay a lower interest rate to the buyer.
The agency also issued a rating outlook of Stable.
The Surprise City Council helped IRIS USA mark the opening of their new 400,000+ sq ft facility on May 3, 2016. The Council participated in the official ribbon cutting, along with IRIS Ohyama Inc. President Kentaro Ohayama, IRIS USA Chairman Akihiro Ohyama and IRIS USA President Chet Keizer.
The city of Surprise, in partnership with GateWay Community College, broke ground today on the future site of the Surprise-GateWay Training Center, a facility that will provide new, mission critical labs, assembly facilities and classrooms for city water professionals and individuals interested in water resource management careers.
The 13,100 square foot training center is being constructed on the grounds of the South Plant (SPA1) Water Reclamation Facility, located near the intersection of Cactus and Litchfield roads. SPA1 currently processes over 8 million gallons of water per day.
When completed, GateWay Community College enrollees in the West Valley will have an opportunity to train adjacent to professional staff and experience the complete water reclamation and treatment process for both groundwater and drinking water.
Mayor Sharon Wolcott is pleased with the opportunities the new facility will bring to individuals interested in water resource careers.
“This is an industry losing many to retirement and this training facility will help usher in the next generation of highly skilled water and wastewater professionals who understand the lifecycle of water in Arizona,” said Wolcott.
Construction on the Surprise-GateWay Training Center is anticipated to be completed this summer and training opportunities opening as early as this fall.
For information about the training center, call 623.222.6000.