Category Archives: Updates

January 2017 – New Year Fitness

Happy New Year! It’s that time of year when many of us begin to focus on fitness to kick-off our resolution of improving ourselves.

While the city has about one-third, to half the number of recreational offerings of our peer communities per population, we do have some amazing parks and programs currently to help promote a healthy lifestyle. Let’s explore some of them…

Surprise Community ParkThe Surprise Community Park, 15953 N. Bullard Avenue, offers various playground units, 4 lighted basketball courts, 8 lighted pickleball courts, and 2 lighted sand volleyball courts. Additional amenities include 10 ramadas, picnic tables, restrooms, drinking fountains, barbecue facilities, a 5 acre urban fishing lake with accessible dock and a dog park.

Asante Community Park, 16763 W. Vereda Solana Drive, is located in northern Surprise. The park offers 2 playground units, 2 lighted soccer fields, 2 lighted softball/baseball fields, 4 lighted basketball courts and walking paths with exercise stations. Other amenities include 5 ramadas, 2 restrooms, drinking fountains, barbecue facilities, picnic tables and a wonderful World War II memorial.

Heritage ParkHeritage Park, 15073 W. Sweetwater Avenue, is located in central Surprise in the Marley Park neighborhood. The park offers a playground unit, splash pad, walking paths and 2 lighted softball fields. Other amenities include 5 ramadas, 1 pavillion, barbecue facilities, picnic tables, drinking fountains and restrooms.

Surprise Farms Community Park, 17894 Westpark Boulevard, is conveniently located near Loop 303 and Bell Road. Amenities include 4 softball fields, open green spaces which can be utilized for fitness activities, walking paths, 2 playground units, 2 ramadas, a lighted and fenced skate park, a splash pad, drinking fountains and restrooms. This newer park also offers a dog park.

The Community and Recreation Services Department offers over 1,900 programs in the areas of youth and adult sports, aquatics, adaptive recreation, special interest classes and other activities. In addition to the parks, we have a 140 acre recreation campus, 3 recreation centers, 2 aquatics centers and a 24 court tennis center.

The winter season of Adult sports features Men’s Softball, Co-Ed Softball, Basketball and Flag Football. Multiple seasons of all of these sports are offered throughout the year. If you haven’t taken advantage of our incredible facilities or programs, I would encourage you to consider them and absorb the beautiful amenities we have right here!

Do you want to find the fountain of youth? Look no further…we have the amenities within our city limits and Sun City Grand. If we want to stay young and healthy, fitness needs to be one of our top priorities. It’s never too late to start a fitness program. How do we start? I recently met with Roz Locker, Occupational Therapist, Personal Trainer and fellow Sun City Grand resident regarding fitness and motivation. Together we suggest the following:

  • Consult your doctor before beginning any fitness program.
  • Pick a reasonable goal, don’t set yourself up for failure.
  • Find a trainer or knowledgeable friend to help you learn the right way.
  • Be accountable for someone else, it helps keep you accountable as well.
  • Minimum 3 day per week commitment
  • Consistency is key
  • Find something you are comfortable with. Your success is contingent upon it!
  • Remember you are not limited to the gym. We are surrounded by numerous amenities

While cost of a trainer may concern some residents, it is possible that your insurance may cover wellness. Some of us may have had physical therapy prescribed for us. We can always utilize the expertise of that therapist to begin a program as well. Furthermore, conditioning prior to any surgical procedure is important to your recovery.

The benefits of fitness can’t possibly be measured. The endorphins and chemicals produced from working out not only benefit our hearts but also our minds. It provides us with the power of confidence and improved self-image. Fitness helps raise our awareness about the foods we consume and help makes us more mindful of nutrition and the supplements we take. It helps us build our social circle…It helps us build camaraderie with our gym mates. It is important to remember that results are not immediate – approximately 3 months at the earliest providing your fitness routines are consistent.

The health of our city is important but so is the health of our residents! I hope we start the New Year taking care of ourselves!

Councilmember Jim Hayden

December 2016 – Introduction

Hello neighbors!

It has been an honor to live in Sun City Grand for the past 12 years and now it is my privilege and honor to serve you as District 2 City Councilmember.

For those of you who may have been out of town the past few months, I was appointed by the Surprise City Council to serve the remainder of the term for the District 2 council seat in October. I will be sworn into my new four-year term in January.

I have had the great pleasure of meeting so many new people in my new role, but for those I haven’t personally met, I’d like to introduce myself.

I served on the Glendale Fire Department as a firefighter and EMT for 22 years. Prior to that I respectfully served our country for 20 years in the United States Air Force where I trained pilots with critical skills needed to survive warlike conditions.  Like many of the courageous veterans I have met, I am also a Vietnam War veteran.

I currently serve as Adjunct Faculty at Glendale Community College, teaching Fire Science and Emergency Medical Technicians and serve on the city’s Public Safety Retirement Board.

I have been a public servant my entire life, to me, it is my vocation. I’ll be writing to you each month to share the latest news and information about this great city we call home.

I am available to you at any time. Please feel free to reach out to me at or call 623.222.1322. You can also sign up to receive my newsletter via email by clicking the Notify Me button on my website .

Another great way to find out what’s happening in Surprise is to attend one of my two monthly meetings in which I plan to share city news with you and hear what’s on your mind. On the first Tuesday of each month I host a meeting at 10 a.m. – Noon, in Sun City Grand’s Palm Center, in the Mediterranean Room, 19726 N. Remington Drive. On the second Tuesday of the month my meeting is at 9 a.m. – 10 a.m., in Arizona Traditions, Neighborhood Center, 18265 N. Traditions Loop.

We are well into the holiday season and I know you join me in celebrating the opening of the Bell Road Bridge over Grand Avenue! Thank you to the local businesses in that area for your patience and to those of you that continued to shop and support them. Shopping your hometown businesses helps to create jobs and generates sales taxes to pay for police, fire-medical and street maintenance!

Although the bridge is open, construction on the overall Bell-Grand project runs through February 2017, so please continue to shop this area.

I want to close by wishing all of you a very Happy Holiday Season! This is great time of year when we connect with friends, neighbors and family. I look forward to sharing more great things with you in the New Year!

Happy Holidays,

Jim Hayden, District 2 Councilmember

Hayden appointed to District 2 council seat

Jim Hayden was appointed by the Surprise City Council, Tuesday night, to serve out the remainder of the term for the District 2 (D2) council seat.

That seat was vacated by the incumbent in September 2016.

For 22 years, Jim served on the Glendale Fire Department as a fire fighter and EMT.

He is a Vietnam War veteran and served 20 years in the United States Air Force, where he trained pilots with critical skills needed to survive wartime conditions.

He also serves as Adjunct Faculty at Glendale Community College, teaching Fire Science and Emergency Medical Technicians.

Prior to joining council, he served as Chairman of the Surprise Public Safety Retirement Board.

Jim will serve out the remainder of the current District 2 term which ends December 31, 2016.  Having won the District 2 seat in the August 2016 Primary Election, Jim’s four-year term will begin on January 1, 2017.

Jim and his wife Nancy have lived in Sun City Grand for 12 years.

D2 includes the following neighborhoods: Sun City Grand, Bell West Ranch and portions of Arizona Traditions.

Council to appoint D2 applicant in Oct. 18th Meeting

The Surprise City Council will vote to appoint Jim Hayden to the vacant District 2 council seat at the October 18th City Council Meeting, 6 p.m., in City Hall- Council Chambers. He will be sworn in at that meeting.

Hayden is the lone applicant, after Martha Bails withdrew her applications during the City Council’s Special Meeting, Oct. 4.

Hayden is a retired firefighter and served 20 years in the United States Air Force. He currently serves as Chairman of the Surprise Public Safety Retirement Board. He also won the District 2 seat in the August Primary, with that four-year term set to begin on January 1, 2017. He has lived in Surprise for 12 years.

View his application

Per city code, a public comment period concludes October 12, 5 p.m.  Hayden will serve out the remainder of the current District 2 term which ends December 31, 2016.

The meeting will be carried live on Surprise TV and online at

Council to interview D2 applicants in Oct. 4 Special Meeting

The Surprise City Council will meet to interview the two applicants seeking the vacant District 2 council seat in a Special Meeting, October 4, at 4 p.m., in City Hall- Council Chambers.

The applicants are Jim Hayden and Martha Bails, both residents of Sun City Grand.

Hayden is a retired firefighter and served 20 years in the United States Air Force. He currently serves as Chairman of the Surprise Public Safety Retirement Board. He also won the District 2 seat in the August Primary, with that four-year term set to begin on January 1, 2017. He has lived in Surprise for 12 years.

Bails is retired and served on the Surprise City Council 2003 – 2007. Prior to that she served on the Planning and Zoning Commission from 2000 – 2003. She also served as a volunteer on the Surprise Citizens Patrol from 2009 – 2011. She has lived in Surprise for 17 years.

See the agenda | View the applicants applications

This meeting is an interview-only meeting, council will not take action. A public comment period on the applicants will conclude October 12, 5 p.m.  Selection of the applicant will take place on Tuesday, October 18, 6 p.m. at the Regular Council Meeting. The selected candidate will serve out the remainder of the current District 2 term which ends December 31, 2016.

The meeting will be carried live on Surprise TV and online at

Residents feel safe & love living in Surprise; seek more local jobs & transportation solutions

The 2015 National Citizen Survey (NCS) results are in and nearly 90% of residents rate Surprise as a great place to live and would recommend living here.

The NCS serves as the city’s service report card, and the collected data assists in setting future city priorities.

The survey captures residents’ opinions within three community pillars: Community Characteristics, Governance & Participation. These are broken down into eight categories: Safety, Mobility/Transportation, Natural Environment, Built Environment, Economy, Recreation & Wellness, Education & Enrichment and Community Engagement. Across these eight categories the city’s results were similar to over 200 peer cities across the United States.

According to the survey, the areas that are most important to Surprise residents are safety, mobility/transportation and the economy.

The city rated above the national benchmark in the following categories:
(% selected excellent/good)

88% overall appearance of the city (cleanliness)
86% recommend Surprise as a place to retire
84% Street lighting
83% Street cleaning
82% Sidewalk maintenance
81% Overall built environment
76% Affordable quality housing
74% Public parking
69% Cost of living

Survey results also indicate a need for more public transportation options and local job creation- two areas that rated below the national benchmark.

Residents were asked how likely they would be to support a separate funding source to pay for new Police and Fire-Medical personnel, which would reallocate General Fund dollars towards other projects. Sixty-six percent of residents strongly/somewhat support this proposal.

Nearly three-quarters of the surveyed residents are confident in local government, and 89% are pleased with the quality of city services.

Since the 2012 NCS, residents noted significant improvements in traffic flow, crime and fire prevention, shopping opportunities/economic development, drinking water and overall national environment. Ratings fell in the number of residents who volunteered, visited a park or watched a local public meeting.

The 2015 NCS was conducted by Boulder, Colorado-based National Research Center from October-November 2015. The survey was sent to 1,400 randomly-selected Surprise households. The overall response rate was 26%, which is average for this type of survey. The margin of error is +/- 5%. Results are weighted as to not have one particular demographic (age, sex, race, etc…) skew results.

The City of Surprise would like to thank those residents who participated in the survey. The city’s next NCS is on target for 2017.

To see the complete results visit

Oct 2015 City Update

League of Cities:

More than 1,000 city and town officials, legislators, and business leaders from across the state gathered in Tucson for the League Annual Conference. The conference is held annually in the summer and provides a unique opportunity for local officials to attend training sessions designed to aid in more effective management of Arizona’s municipalities, to hear from state and legislative officials, and to share common concerns and ideas for problem solving. Conference highlights included U.S. Senator Jeff Flake as keynote speaker and presentation of awards honoring local government supporters from the state legislature. Another highlight was the review of resolutions submitted by cities and towns. Those that are adopted form the basis for the League’s Municipal Policy Statement and legislative agenda. Surprise submitted a resolution regarding Economic Development Reimbursement Authority (EDRA). This is a mechanism that allows cities to stimulate new development by reimbursing developers for eligible costs within the authority’s boundaries. It is an important economic development tool. The resolution was adopted. Other notable sessions included innovative partnerships between cities and schools, transportation innovation, creating an affordable and sustainable public safety pension system, zoning and code enforcement, helping Arizona’s veteran population, water issues, and community based entrepreneurships.

Sun City Grand Entrance:

A Sun City Grand resident expressed concern about the left hand turn into Sun City Grand from Bell Road, specifically that drivers tend to take the turn into the wrong lane. Following review by the City, it was determined that the concern was valid, and a directional sign has been installed on the median at the entrance.

City Attorney:

Council approved a motion in August to bring forward a code change that would place the City Attorney and City Attorney staff under the direction of the City Manager. After careful consideration, I supported this action. As Council Members, we are reminded frequently that the City Attorney’s client is the organization, not a single individual within the organization. Inasmuch as the City Manager is the chief executive within the City responsible for the overall operation and administration of the organization, it seems logical that the City Attorney, who works closely with department directors and in economic development and community development matters should be within the purview of the City Manager. The appropriate code changes will be brought back to Council for a final vote. If approved, they will be effective thirty days from the date of approval.

Veterans Day Parade:

The City will hold a Veterans Day Parade on Wednesday, November 11, along Bullard Avenue. This is the first ever hosted by the City and is part of the continuing commitment to recognize the dedication and sacrifices of our veterans.

Bell/Grand Intersection:

ADOT and City Staff have been conducting one-on-one meetings with businesses in the Bell/Grand project area to assess business operations and identify business needs during construction. The team identified 299 businesses located in the project area, made 270 contacts, and collected 190 business questionnaires. The following comments were consistent among the majority of the businesses interviewed: (1) the community generally supports the project and recognizes the purpose and need for moving forward, (2) early and continual communication with stakeholders about what to expect and when with regard to project updates, traffic changes, restrictions, etc. is essential, (3) a point of contact for the community in order to provide feedback, ask questions, and share concerns should be established, (4) businesses should be provided with assistance tools and resources to help mitigate potential impacts during construction.

Traffic Changes in Sun City Grand:

South bound curbside lanes at Reems/Mountain View and Sunrise/Mountain View that had previously been restricted for right turn only traffic movements have been modified. These lanes now allow traffic to continue straight or turn right. According to the City traffic engineer, while the right turn only lane was convenient for some, these changes have eliminated the need for through traffic to merge out of the curbside lane, reducing the risk of accidents and making the roads safer to travel. The corresponding increase in safety and consistency with intersections throughout the community and state justifies the traffic revision. All four approaches at each intersection are now marked with consistent striping options.

Voter Outreach:

A number of voter outreach displays have been placed throughout the City. There are five locations in City Sun Grand, including at the Administrative Center and at the Colonnade. On Monday, October 26, 2 p.m., in the Sagebrush Room, Sherry Aguilar, Surprise City Clerk, will be presenting an information session on the 2016 election process.

Storm Water:

Following a presentation at a recent Council meeting by Terry Lowe, Director of the Water Resource Development Department, Council had a preliminary discussion about the possibility of developing a Storm Water Utility to generate a dedicated funding source for the operation and maintenance of the City’s Storm Water Conveyance systems. Six other cities charge residents storm water rates: Mesa, Scottsdale, Peoria, Oro Valley, Flagstaff, and Tucson. As the discussions continue, a number of informational public hearings and open houses will be held throughout the community.

Monthly Chats:

Monthly “chats” are continuing on the first Tuesday of each month, 10 a.m., in the Mediterranean Room in the Palm Center.