For months now, the City of Maricopa has been promising a new and expanded library and cultural center that would bring people together and strive to offer something for everyone.

According to residents who attended Saturday’s grand opening for the $10.6 million state-of-the-art facility at White and Parker and Bowlin roads, the city is succeeding.

Hundreds of people attended the event, soaking in a variety of exhibits, displays and interactive booths. There were exhibitions of dance and Tae Kwon Do on the outdoor stage, free tours of the library every 10 minutes, a Friends of the Maricopa Library book auction, a craft area, and more to provide entertainment for attendees of all ages.

By all accounts, both the facility and the event were a hit.

Tasha Cartwright of Maricopa toured the library with her family and came away impressed.

“It’s pretty awesome,” she said after walking the facility. “What I first noticed was just the open space. It’s clean, bright, warm, inviting, and relaxing. It was like, ‘Wow!’”

Cartwright said she and her kids use the library weekly. She was a big fan of the expanded space for the children’s library and appreciated that it was set apart from the adult library. She said she was looking forward to begin checking out books.

Doug Fortunato, the library’s circulation supervisor who was guiding tours of the library on Saturday morning, echoed that sentiment.

“When they go through the facility, everyone is amazed and happy that we have so much space,” he said. “They all seem like they are looking forward to trying out the new library. There are lots of interactive elements, and it’s good to have a place for anybody to come and do things together.”

Fortunato pointed out some of the areas the city has been touting with the facility that are not necessarily related to checking out books. The library offers kids’ story time, baby talk programs to promote early literacy, even STEM programs where kids can learn coding and robotics. There are several programs and a book club for teens.

Josiah Cartwright, 9, of Maricopa, shows his balloon mask as his mother, Tasha, looks on. Photo by Bob McGovern


Cindy Koontz, a Maricopa native and the artist who painted the wild horse statue displayed in front of the library, was grateful to be a part of the festivities.

“This town has been very good to me, I’m so happy to be able to give something back to it,” she said. “The 16-year-old me can’t believe I had a chance to do something like this. It’s a great honor. I’m from Maricopa, I’ve been here my whole life. To see all the changes taking place here, it’s exciting to me.”

“The world goes by so fast, I wanted to make something that would make people stop and take a minute,” she continued. “Just pause and point things out on the statue that they might have seen in the library. That’s what makes it special for me.”

Leonard and Amber Bond were at the event watching their kids take part in the Sunrise ATA martial arts group’s exhibition of their skills. Leonard was pleased with the event, praising the citizens of Maricopa for showing up and supporting the opening.

Amber noted the possibilities offered by the new, 27,000-square-foot facility.

“This is a big deal,” she said. “I’m excited to see what it will become. They had big ideas before, they just didn’t have enough space. I think with this new building the sky’s the limit.”

Jamia Miqbel, the chair of Friends of the Maricopa Library, was excited about the group’s first book sale since the start of the pandemic.

“We haven’t been able to do this for a year,” she said of the semi-annual event. “Every penny we raise goes right into the library programs and books and we hope to raise about $2,000 today.”

She added that the group is also holding a virtual book sale on an ongoing basis on its Facebook page.

Cori and Eli Carpenter and their son Isaiah reinforced the feeling that the new library and cultural center has something for everyone.

“We love all the room. We’ve been here 14 years and were going to the little library for a long time,” Cori said. “This is a major upgrade for the city and we’re very excited.”

Eli was impressed by the thought that went into the design of the facility.

“It’s very well planned,” he said. “There’s plenty of space, but they left room to expand. It shows that they were thinking of the future. This is well-spent money by the city.”

Isaiah, 12, summed up the city’s new jewel in his own way.

“It’s like a really big house, but with no bedrooms – and Legos – lots and lots of Legos!”