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Top 10

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Photo credits: 1 Raquel Hendrickson; 2 submitted; 3 submitted; 4 file; 5 file; 6 Joycelyn Cabrera; 7 Dean Crandall; 8 Michelle Chance; 9 Michelle Chance; 10 Mason Callejas

InMaricopa’s most-read stories related to community issues:

 

  1. ‘Blighted’ properties cleared from Heritage District

City Council approved the demolition of three Heritage District properties in July considered to be in “blighted condition.” Demolition began in August and was paid for by a Community Development Block Grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

 

  1. Maricopan drops 110 pounds in 5 months

With exercise, a nutrition plan and encouragement from his wife Stephanie, Kelly Antone lost 110 pounds in five months last year. Antone has lost an additional 64 pounds since June, inching him closer to his 200-pound weight loss goal.

 

  1. Stage Coach Days Carnival pops up at Copper Sky

A surprise carnival by Frazier Shows set up at Copper Sky during Stage Coach Days in October – a two-week celebration of Maricopa’s heritage – intriguing residents looking for something to do. The carnival had received a last-minute approval from City Hall.

 

  1. City seeks dramatic budget cuts at Copper Sky

The aquatic center could see a cut in hours of operation and members could experiences a rise in fees at Copper Sky. These considerations and more are part of a continuing discussion between City Council and the Budget, Finance and Operations subcommittee, which began in August as part of an effort to mitigate costs associated with the recreation center.

 

  1. Maricopa food bank finds new location

2017 was a year of adaptation for a local food bank. F.O.R. Maricopa food bank relocated three times due to a move forced by ADOT in preparation for construction of the overpass. The food bank plans to construct a new building adjacent to the Maricopa Business Barn, which it purchased in July. Currently, the food bank operates out of a temporary space inside Santa Cruz Elementary.

 

  1. Maricopa schools get grim new letter grades

The majority of local schools received lowered A-F letter grades this year since the scores were last released by the state in 2014. Sequoia Pathway Academy, which received “C” ratings in both its K-8 and high school, is the only school in Maricopa to appeal its scores. Its status is “under review” by the Arizona Department of Education.

 

  1. MHS principal on leave, assistant in charge

Administration shakeups between Maricopa High School and Maricopa Wells Middle School left parents and community members with many questions. After reassignments and resignations from principals and vice principals, Thad Miller and Rick Abel are acting principals until the end of the school year. District officials have not specified the reasons behind the sudden resignations of former MHS Principal Renita Meyers and former MWMS Assistant Principal Mallory Miller.

 

  1. City Council considers restricting left turns at Smith-Enke intersection

Even though only one accident had occurred in a year at a residential intersection on Smith-Enke Road near the Maricopa Public Library, city officials planned to restrict left turns from Desert Greens Drive in July. The proposal was due to safety concerns of drivers turning east on Smith-Enke, officials said. The plans were postponed, however, amid backlash from residents.

 

  1. John Wayne at 110: Man meets myth in Maricopa

Actor John Wayne would have turned 110 in May. His presence in Maricopa began more than 60 years ago when he bought nearby farmland, and the impact he left in the community is still displayed throughout the city.

 

  1. Amtrak starts shuttle service in Maricopa

Amtrak began shuttling passengers in Tempe and Phoenix to and from Maricopa in May. The Thruway bus connects passengers who travel on the Sunset Limited/Texas Eagle service. The stops include Terminal 2 at Sky Harbor Airport.


This story appears in the January issue of InMaricopa.



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Photo credits: 1 David Durst; 2 Raquel Hendrickson; 3 Michelle Chance; 4 Vincent Manfredi; 5 submitted; 6 Jonathan Williams; 7 Raquel Hendrickson; 8 file; 9 file; 10 file.

Most-read stories related to business and economic development:

  1. Props 416/417 approved by county voters

Voters approved a countywide transportation project scheduled to begin next year. Unofficial results from November’s election showed Prop 416, Pinal County’s Regional Transportation Authority, passed with 57 percent approval. Prop 417, the half-cent sales tax that would support the transportation projects, also passed, albeit by a slim margin of less than 1 percent. Phase 1 of the RTA includes the widening of State Route 347 from four lanes to six lanes up to the county line as well as an east-west corridor.

  1. APEX and City Hall win in court, so far

Controversial legal battles brought forth by a political action committee and a Maricopa resident this summer challenged a conditional use permit approved by the city for the elite racetrack APEX Motor Club. The petitions aimed to stop construction of the track proposed on a parcel at the northwest corner of State Route 238 and Ralston Road. Courts threw out the resident’s suit for “lack of standing” and denied the PAC’s appeal in September.

  1. Maricopa job fair brings 45 employers to applicants

Hundreds of applicants arrived dressed for interviews this summer during a job fair hosted by Arizona@Work Pinal County. The event was held at the Maricopa Unified School District Administration Building and featured 45 employers.

  1. Firestone replacing Fletcher’s after acquisition

Fletcher’s Tire & Auto Service in Maricopa was one of 31 stores in Phoenix and Southern Arizona that became Firestone Complete Auto Care earlier this year. The local store moved into Maricopa Fiesta plaza in 2005 and began converting to Fletcher’s in April.

  1. Plans for Maricopa hospital on ice

Although Dignity Health announced it would build a hospital here in 2012, Maricopa is still without one five years later. The company bought nearly 19 acres on the northeast corner of John Wayne Parkway and Smith-Enke roads with the intention of building a 34,800-square-foot emergency facility and hospital by 2016. The land has sat untouched since.

  1. Developer pitches apartments to council

Affordable, multifamily housing could solve Maricopa’s rental gap, according to apartment developer Englewood Group, which intends to develop apartments in the city. Construction of the proposed complex is still years out, however, as re-zoning could take until the summer of 2019. The city conducted a housing-needs assessment earlier this year, revealing a need for diverse housing options.

  1. Breakfast diner under construction, seeks employees

An opening date for the 4,041-square-foot Denny’s diner is still unknown, but as workers continue to construct the building, the company has advertised opportunities for job applicants. The restaurant is located near the southeast corner of John Wayne Parkway and Smith-Enke Road. Construction began in September.

  1. Peñascos closes after 11 years

The quiet closure of a family-owned restaurant in Maricopa sparked surprise reactions among residents in September. The building’s landlord said the “tenants abandoned” the building, but Penascos owner Rosalinda O’Hare disputed that. O’Hare said a variety of factors contributed to her decision to close the doors to her business, which opened more than a decade earlier.

  1. First gas station not on John Wayne Parkway approved for development

What will be the third Circle K in Maricopa received recommendation for a development review permit from the Planning & Zoning Commission in September. The 5,881-square-foot convenience store and gas station is planned on 1.8 acres at the southeast corner of Honeycutt and Porter roads.

  1. Residents await Edison Pointe

The 130,000-square-foot retail development broke ground at the end of July along State Route 347 and Edison Road, shortly before losing one of its larger prospects, Petco. It’s estimated Edison Pointe will create at least 100 jobs for Maricopans with confirmed businesses Ross, Goodwill, WingStop, Planet Fitness, Brakes Plus, Burger King, Dunkin Donuts and a nail salon. Stores are scheduled to open in early 2018.


This story appears in the January issue of InMaricopa.



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