About a year ago, members of the Maricopa Youth Council and the Youth Mock City Council were on hand at the city public works facility to see a vision come to fruition.

In May 2018, as part of mock City Council, Maricopa youth proposed a monument to welcome visitors to the city. The young planners were grilled on the cost, lighting and other facets of the project.

In January 2021, the monument was ready to be installed.

Then, the Arizona Department of Transportation said not so fast after the city had moved its location, triggering a review by ADOT. It was determined that a barrier was needed around the monument to redirect vehicles in the event of an accident.

With the monument was in storage while details of its installation were being worked out, ADOT last summer ceded control of State Routes 347 and 248 within city limits to Maricopa.

With control of that portion of SR 347, in the middle of an October night, while most of Maricopa slept, crews carefully moved the monument onto a flatbed truck and made the slow journey along John Wayne Parkway to its resting place in the median of SR 347 on the northern edge of the city.

The four-hour project was completed by 5:30 a.m., ahead of the bulk of morning rush-hour traffic, and now serves to welcome residents and visitors alike.

The stylized “M” monument is the centerpiece of the city’s $2 million upgrade to the median through town from the northern border to the overpass just south of Honeycutt Road.