Destination Maricopa met for the third time on Friday, August 13, 2004 at the First Baptist Church with approximately 25 interested citizens in attendance. Councilman Will Dunn, chairman of the City’s Economic Development Committee, facilitated the meeting and urged citizens “to help plan for what the next step is.”
“Everyone knows Maricopa is booming”, said Councilman Dunn. “In 2000 we had 1,048 residents and today there are about 7,000. With approximately 230 building permits per month, that’s roughly 1,000 new residents each month.”
Councilman Dunn explained that “we need to make Maricopa a stopping point.” The Ak-Chin Casino, Phoenix Regional Airport, the Amtrak station and being the major thoroughfare to Rocky Point “puts us right in the middle of a lot of things that are going to happen,” said Councilman Dunn. “We are setting ourselves up ideally to become a destination town.”
City Councilman Will Dunn explains Maricopa’s growth..
In the next six months to a year the City Council will be developing the general plan, a blueprint for what Maricopa will become in the next 10-15 years. Bill Bridwell, a candidate for District 3 County Supervisor, reminded the group, “Now due to the new, revised rules of the State, the master plan can only be amended once a year.”
Part of the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) will be at least one costly project. “One high-dollar item on the list is an underpass or overpass for the railroad tracks through downtown,” explained Councilman Dunn. “We are starting the process now, but we are talking about $10-15 million and dealing with many government agencies.” Added Mr. Bridwell, “Many of the projects are long-term in nature; two, three, even four years from now. You have to be patient, persistent and you have to be there for the long haul.”
Another concern for Maricopa will be the use of zoned land. When the city incorporated in October of 2003, Pinal County had already zoned 70% of the land. Only the remaining 30% is still unzoned or available for rezoning. Each developer has some commercial land, but the main industrial corridor will be on the Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway along the railroad tracks.
Councilman Dunn urged the group to become “a vital part of making the transition from a tiny town to whatever we become.” He reminded participants of the need to keep our small town feel and to work together as a community.
The next Destination Maricopa meeting will be held on September 24, 2004. Lisa Henderson, the state coordinator for the Main Street Program from the Arizona State Department of Commerce, is the scheduled speaker.