On the bustling crossroads of Honeycutt and Porter Roads, and once more at the juncture of Honeycutt and Plainview, Maricopa’s residents are met with a delightful sight: two vibrant signal boxes standing as distinctive landmarks.

The first showcases a helmeted astronaut, while the second features a submerged deep-sea diver, both set against captivating backdrops blending elements of space, ocean and desert. When these artistic installations made their debut last year, they prompted a question in the community: “What do these figures signify in Maricopa?”

While artistic expression often invites interpretation, the artist behind these creations, who chooses to remain anonymous, sheds light on the inspiration behind these works. He explains he sought to capture the essence of the people who call Maricopa home.

What common threads unite them? Often, they are drawn to Maricopa by the allure of affordable housing, promising job opportunities and a safe haven to raise their families.

Over just two decades, these advantages have enticed more than 70,000 people from across the nation to uproot their lives and embrace Maricopa’s ever-expanding desert retreat.

In their pursuit of dreams, this city’s residents embody the same resolute spirit as astronauts and deep-sea divers, epitomizing determined exploration. In their respective domains, they are pioneers, venturing into the far reaches of the universe and the uncharted depths of the ocean.

Likewise, Maricopa’s residents are pioneers, undeterred by the challenges of the harsh desert environment. They are trailblazers, innovators, groundbreakers and trendsetters, shaping the city’s rich heritage and providing the foundation for their homes. It’s no surprise a community that has captured the hearts of so many in such a short time now stands at the precipice of a new frontier in expansion.

Today, residents witness rapid and tangible signs of progress in their city. The completion of the once seemingly unattainable overpass on John Wayne Parkway has unleashed Maricopa’s full potential. The city has seen a surge in retail offerings, with new shopping outlets and restaurants springing up. Maricopa celebrated the opening of its first 24-hour hospital and emergency center, saving lives nearly every day.

Furthermore, the establishment of new school campuses, competitive salaries and improved living accommodations has led to significantly enhanced retention rates among qualified and dedicated teachers.

Maricopa has ventured into the national event tourism arena, complemented by the pristine fields at Copper Sky, promising to invigorate the local economy. Public art initiatives and beautification projects are revitalizing the city, fostering a sense of communal pride and identity.

Investments in transportation infrastructure are enhancing daily commutes while groundbreaking for a new police headquarters and courthouse positions the city for a secure future. With this growth, job opportunities in Maricopa have flourished, exemplifying the defining progress enveloping the community.

As the city reaches new heights, many residents ponder what life in Maricopa will look like in the next 20 years.

In light of all that has been accomplished together, we invite you to envision “Greater Maricopa” with us! Imagine vibrant neighborhoods adorned with lush landscapes, inspired by local ecology, evoking a sense of oasis in the desert. Picture creative neighborhoods teeming with boutique shops, eclectic restaurants, small businesses, entertainment, and local arts and crafts. Envision regional and national shopping opportunities and diverse housing options that foster daily interaction, strengthening civic bonds.

Imagine a community with a small-town feel, rich cultural and social amenities, vibrant green spaces, excellent schools and a strong sense of safety. Imagine a community that remembers its heritage, remains responsible for one another and gives more than it takes. Imagine a community that welcomes all.

For newcomers, these goals may seem ambitious, but those who have witnessed Maricopa’s momentum firsthand know they are not only attainable but already within reach.

As city manager, I am often asked, “How will we prepare for this growth?” To this exciting challenge, I respond: We will do so intentionally, strategically and as one community. We will embrace our differences and use them to bring us closer together.

To all the astronauts, deep-sea divers, pioneers and dreamers of the world, we extend a warm welcome. Come and discover why Maricopa is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. Come and experience why so many choose to call this place home. Join us in finding sustainable solutions and building a thriving city for all. Together, we can shape the future of Maricopa.

This column was first published in the October edition of InMaricopa Magazine.