Tuesday morning, the City of Maricopa officially opened a new loop connecting Edison Road to State Route 238.
Mayor Christian Price called it “a pretty monumental day.”
The extension was built to provide access to the Estrella Gin area that is intended to be a business park. Maricopa bought the property in 2011 for $3.2 million. Converting it to industry has not been an easy process.
Elijah Williams, president of engineer firm EPS, which also designed the coming overpass, recalled sitting down with then-Economic Development Director Micah Miranda to discuss all the challenges connected to the property. That included dealing with the Arizona Department of Transportation, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and Arizona Corporation Commission for permitting, traffic studies, environmental studies, cultural resource studies and water.
“I said, ‘Don’t worry, Micah, I’ll get you through this.’ And with the help of so many great people in the City of Maricopa, that’s what’s been able to happen,” Williams said.
“It’s very rare to find a leadership group that not only sees what needs to be done but has the will and the ability to see it done. And such is the case here in the city of Maricopa. Citizens of Maricopa should be grateful to have such leadership here.”
Developing the road took longer than expected as the city also forged agreements with neighboring landowners and worked with local utilities. Price and Councilmember Julia Gusse both touched on the necessity of patience.
“Economic development takes a long time, and it’s so frustrating at times,” Price said, “but the reality is that the longer you put into it and the more effort you put into it, the better results you get. You build a lot of partnerships and you work together to accomplish great things.”
The proposed business park is meant for flex spaces for light industry. The intention is not to build until leases have been signed. That has not yet happened.
In noting how the city has shifted from being a cotton-heavy, agricultural area to a residential-heavy city of nearly 50,000 in a short amount of time, Gusse said, “Times have changed, but that doesn’t mean progress has stopped. With that progress, that change, we’re going to need a lot of patience from the community … If we don’t get the patience from our residents, we’re all going to be doomed as far as standing up here before you.”
The road is four lanes with curb and gutter, sidewalks and medians with turn lanes as it loops from westbound to northbound. It then meets SR 238 as a two-lane road. Trees are already planted along a berm near the city’s new maintenance building. SR 238 also had to be improved at its junction with the road. There is also a connector road running south from Edison Road to Garvey Avenue.
“We don’t normally get to build roads in the proverbial 40-acre field. Usually they become a constant state of decay because they’re always being used as we build them,” said John Walstrom, president of the construction company on the job, Achen-Gardner. “But this was a lot of fun.”
Fun was also the term used by Mayor Price. He said it was fun to see previous construction at the site, like the fire station and the maintenance facility.
“Progress is fun,” he said. “It’s not always easy; it certainly doesn’t get there overnight, and it takes a lot of time.”
City Manager Gregory Rose said the Public Works Department and Director Bill Fay “did an outstanding job.”
Price called Edison Road Mariopa’s first mini-loop.
“It may just be a road to many people, but to me it’s the future of our economic development,” he said.