A monumental moment

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City finally places its ‘M’ logo in 347 median overnight

An idea that began at a mock City Council meeting in 2018 became reality early Wednesday when a long-awaited monument was set in place at the northern edge of the city.

The structure, which features a stylized “M,” sits in the median of State Route 347, 500 feet south of the city’s northern limit, to welcome southbound drivers to Maricopa.

Keith Loomis, deputy director of public services, said a “sentimental weld” was included in the work in memory of the late Mike Riggs, the city’s director of public services, who passed away unexpectedly last week. Riggs had shepherded the project from its inception to the doorstep of completion. To commemorate that work and Riggs’ life, Loomis said Riggs’ initials were welded onto the monument’s base.

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See Bryan Mordt’s photo gallery of the installation below

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Welding the monument to the foundation took about two hours. Among members of the team from Sharp’s Welding in Stanfield was Riggs’ nephew, Ethan Riggs.

A crew of a dozen workers began moving the monument into place at 1 a.m. The monument was lifted in its entirety onto a flat-bed trailer and driven to the site. A four-vehicle caravan was required to get the monument from the city yard on Edison Road to its final destination. The drive of about a mile took more than 10 minutes, according to Loomis.

Four hours later, the 14-foot tall, 20-foot-wide structure was set on its three-column foundation with the aid of a reach forklift, near walls around Cobblestone Farms and Rancho El Dorado.

“It got a little more difficult around 3:30 a.m. when traffic got really heavy, but the crew was great,” Loomis said. “Once it was welded in place, we had the boom truck we use to service traffic lights cut off the support chains, and we cut away the support steel that was holding it into place. We ground down the weld marks and it was ready to go.”

Loomis said the city installed eight up-lights on the ground to illuminate the monument above its interior lighting.

To enhance safety and keep errant vehicles from hitting it, an eight-inch curb was installed about 400 feet north, at the urging of the Arizona Department of Transportation.

The city finally got the long-awaited “M” monument into place after nearly a year of waiting. ADOT initially nixed it. The city last month gained control of State Route 347 within city limits — including signage standards — from ADOT, making the installation now possible.

Read more about the monument here.

View photo gallery:

7 COMMENTS

  1. I think this story is SO OLD by now that all people talk about is how negative the impact was to SR-347 ever since Wild Horse Pass installed the new traffic light making the commute even worse coming home to Maricopa. Anything highlighting 347 is a buzzkill to be honest and should be avoided.

    I appreciate the city for putting tax dollars towards something we can show for our hard earned money and show our pride to visitors, but I don’t think it should be highlighted in an article again, a year later…since the process to implement was so broken.

    This monument is not news worthy at this point…just a reminder government is not efficient, can’t even put up a steel structure without an agency tug of war.

    • I do agree government is the answer to the questions “what took so long”. Government is inefficient and slow, at the state and federal level. The city had this designed and ready for installation long ago, but state red tape held it up. Local government is much more efficient, but the reality is we had to deal with outside obstacles like a state road (which we took over recently) and more. -Vice Mayor Vincent Manfredi

  2. my ? is when will city fix traffic light issues at x streets that a dot failed to address the last 3 plus years. also where have the last 3 mayors been on traffic issues only campaign slogans but no progress on traffic issues.

    • Joe,

      I don’t know where X street is, but please let me know. Perhaps you did not know, but just recently when I was filling in as acting Mayor, we came to an agreement with ADOT to take control of the SR-347 and SR-238 inside city limits. This was the end result of many years of work to get control of the road running through our town. I would like to address nonfactual comment about no progress on traffic issues. We have expanded multiple roads in the city, Honeycutt, Smith Enke, Porter and more. We have paved Farrell, Hartman, Bowlin, and more. We have a CIP budget with many millions in road improvements. My suggestion is you check https://www.maricopa-az.gov/home/showpublisheddocument/5532/637775924441170000 and just because you don’t see what you wanted fixed on it (which it is) does not mean no progress is being made.

      • Vince,

        It’s fair to say there has been some small progress made on city traffic issues, but the important part you neglected to mention here is how the residential expansion in Maricopa way, WAY outpaces any other infrastructure improvements being made that are needed to support all that additional population. You can flip through this very site and see just how many articles there are about P&Z approvals for new housing developments, juxtaposed with a dearth of news on any other supporting city infrastructure improvements being made. Seems to me the city is focused on short term real estate profits ahead of the actual quality of life of its citizens, and it doesn’t really earn any good will points with me for finally getting around to paving a few roads.

        • Joe,

          I don’t think I failed to mention it, as I was answering you direct question about traffic, not population. It is important to remember that development pays for development. It would be unfair for existing taxpayers to be given the burden of paying for new development. A great example is Porter Road and Meritage (the developer) being required to expand porter road to accommodate the new development that have built along its west side between Honeycutt and Smith Enke. New infrastructure is part of any development that is approved. Roads, Fire, Police, Parks, library and more are all part of the fees any new home being built must pay. I am not a typical elected official, as I do not care about earing good will points, I care about doing the job. I also ask for proposed solutions when people complain. Please take some time to review our CIP budget and let me know what you would like to see changed. The CIP budget can be found here. https://www.maricopa-az.gov/home/showpublisheddocument/5532/637775924441170000

          • Vince – or can I call you Steve, since we’re apparently ignoring the names we’re actually posting with here? Listen Steve, you can spout “development pays for development” all you want, but it’s now been pretty well established that The Suburban Experiment playbook followed by most American cities, Maricopa being no exception, takes a path that trades short-term wealth for long-term liabilities. Throwing out an 80-page financial planning document and asking for proposed solutions from any citizen who might complain is about as disingenuous as your statement that you don’t care about people’s opinions regarding how well you are performing your job – personally replying to every single comment on this article about a rusty sign obviously speaks quite to the contrary. As it so happens though, I do in fact have a proposed solution for you – there are other patterns for city development that will actually promote a financially strong and resilient community in the long term. Please take a break from approving new housing developments for a minute to review this series of articles on the subject from StrongTowns.org, which can be found here: https://www.strongtowns.org/the-growth-ponzi-scheme