Mayor pushes entertainment for future growth in Surprise - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Valley And State

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Mayor pushes entertainment for future growth in Surprise

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Posted: Wednesday, February 9, 2011 1:00 pm

Mayor Lyn Truitt said Tuesday that creating an entertainment district in Surprise will put it on par with Scottsdale and Sedona as a tourist destination. During his State of the City address at the Colonnade, a senior-living community, Truitt spoke of how the city has progressed since his time in office and the vision he and other city leaders have moving forward.

Truitt says the vision city leaders have had in maintaining essential services to residents, while bringing in new business to create greater economic vitality, has been a boon for Surprise during his time in office. With the adoption of the city’s strategic plan, the mayor said he knows Surprise is in good shape moving forward, particularly because residents were a vital part of the adoption process.

“In a tough economic climate, we are doing remarkably well,” he said. “A bright Surprise lies ahead.”

Since 2008, when Truitt was sworn in, a number of companies have relocated or set up shop in Surprise, creating short-term construction jobs before the opportunity for job creation in manufacturing, education and technology industries, to name a few, become available in the community.

“These achievements in this economy speaks to the hard work and dedication of our community leaders,” Truitt said. “Yes, indeed, economic energy is building momentum in Surprise.”

Truitt commended the recently adopted “4/10” city work schedule for saving on utility costs, while “improving access to government.” The city has also installed solar panels on the City Hall parking garage roof to save energy, he said.

Education opportunities have also increased and improved during the last several years, with the creation of career technical training courses in Dysart Unified School District classrooms and the opening of the Communiversity at City Hall, the mayor said. In the coming years, city leaders hope to attract a four-year university in the hopes teens choose to remain in Surprise and companies decide to relocate where talent is located.

Backed by Rio Salado College, the Communiversity’s partnering institutions jointly provide more than 40 educational programs for students in a variety of course formats, including in-person, online and hybrid. Students are able to complete certificates, associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees through the partner institutions.

Transportation throughout the region will be key in efforts to land more jobs and tourism-related amenities in Surprise, and Truitt says the completion of the Grand Avenue widening project and addition of lanes on Loop 303 in Surprise this year will help in that regard.

The mayor said a future passenger rail line on the BNSF tracks along Grand Avenue could also be a boon for Surprise — and may not be far off.

“It’s easy to imagine a rail system,” he said. “It’s coming.”

Zach Colick can be reached at 623-876-2522 or

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