Rose: My first year of service

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As I reflect on my first year as the City Manager for Maricopa I think about the community’s successes, our opportunities as a relatively new community, and the many challenges that lie ahead.  During my short time here in Maricopa, I have had a chance to talk with so many people.  Through these conversations I have gained a better perspective of Maricopa and what makes it special and an attractive place to live.  Maricopa has a proud history that is deeply rooted in agriculture, and it has as strong commitment to growing and realizing a prosperous future.  

A FEW OF OUR SUCCESSES:

I believe that Maricopa residents want their city to continue evolving into a great American city.  But what a great city means may differ based upon the person to whom you are speaking.  A consensus among our residents regarding the vision for our city must be achieved.  In August 2014, the Mayor and Council approved the Vision 2040 project.  Vision 2040 is a citizen driven visioning process that will create the framework for Maricopa’s future.  It is anticipated that the process will conclude in April.

During my first week here at City Hall, I met with Finance Director Brian Ritschel and received a briefing on the status of the City of Maricopa operating budget.  I learned that we were operating with a structural deficit that would eventually deplete our savings.  The budget that was submitted to the City Council for consideration and subsequently approved with minor adjustments restructured the organization and eliminated the structural deficit.  The restructuring resulted in a flatter organization by eliminating a layer of bureaucracy.  

The opening of Copper Sky Park and Multigenerational Center started a new chapter for Maricopa in terms of quality development.   Although Copper Sky is a wonderful amenity that the current and past Mayors and Councils provided to Maricopa citizens, it goes far beyond that in terms of its benefit to Maricopa as a tool for economic development.  Since the opening of Copper Sky, a Circle K has opened near the facility, and currently the Mayor and Council are in the process of accepting proposals for mixed use development on an abutting City owned parcel.  I am certain that the City will realize other development in the southern portion of Maricopa due to the Copper Sky complex.

It had been several years in the making, but the zoning code rewrite was approved by the Mayor and Council in October 2014.  This represented many hours of work by the Mayor and Council, community members, and staff.  The result of their labor was consensus on a document that will improve our ability to ensure that we get the type of high quality development that is desired here in Maricopa.   

The 347 Overpass project is well on its way to being realized.  This past year Mayor Christian Price and former Mayor Kelly Anderson were both involved in identifying and obtaining funding so that the overpass project could be designed and built. When this project is completed it will result in an improved transportation corridor, allowing for better traffic flow through the area and facilitating economic development in the southern portion of our City.   

Maricopa has been recognized as the sixth safest city in Arizona.  Our citizens and public safety employees deserve a great deal of credit for this achievement.  Residents’ willingness to partner with government by volunteering time in our public safety departments enables us to leverage our limited resources.  It is a neighbor looking out for their neighbor that is the backbone of our community policing philosophy and what has enabled us to achieve this status.  

 SOME OF OUR OPPORTUNITIES:

I believe that people should be impacted by art every day of their lives.  The Arts in Maricopa is an area where we have an opportunity to further distinguish ourselves from other communities.  I will ask the Mayor and Council to revisit the creation of an Arts Council Advisory Committee in 2015.   

A large percentage of property here in Maricopa is undeveloped and still being used for growing crops.  This land presents an opportunity for future commercial, industrial, and residential development.  It can be complimented by parks, trails, and open spaces.  Maricopa can effectively integrate both rural and urban features by zoning portions of existing property to remain agricultural, encouraging high density mixed-use development in certain areas around City Hall, requiring some large lots for custom built homes, and creating a more walkable community.  Transportation is another area where there is tremendous opportunity for Maricopa.  The completion of the 347 overpass project and the widening of 347 to Interstate 10, would facilitate our continued growth.

We have the potential to encourage higher education institutions to open campuses in Maricopa.  Central Arizona College (CAC) can be a catalyst for the recruitment of schools in business, engineering, and architecture.  We must leverage the resources we have in CAC.

A COUPLE OF CHALLENGES TO OUR PROSPEROUS FUTURE:

The majority of the property in Maricopa is within the flood plain.  In order to expand our economy we will need to build an infrastructure to take these properties out of the flood plain.  This will enable us to focus our attention on preparing “shovel ready” sites, which will make us more competitive in the market place.  If we are not successful in this endeavor, it could significantly restrict our ability to grow in the future.

Maricopa is a very safe city to live, work, and play.  We must keep it that way!  As we continue to grow, we must ensure that we are growing in a manner that will enable us to invest an adequate amount of resources into public safety so that we can remain attractive to potential residents.