Notebook: Never be in a hurry to make a mistake


Maricopa cannot develop quickly enough for a lot of residents. The sight of empty lots in key locations and a redundancy of some business types are a cause for frustration.

Everyone has a list of businesses they would love to see come to town. Not all are practical. Fewer still are interested.

That’s not a bad thing. It’s reality. Recognizing the reality of Maricopa’s marketplace for its strengths and weaknesses prevents major bungling.

Push for progress, but never be in a hurry to make a mistake.

Many lament the slowdown that hit Maricopa in the recession, but the city has spun that as an opportunity to get a handle on growth. Though it does not excuse plodding behavior or excessive red tape, there’s some truth in that.

Whether commercial or residential, developments have risk. One hasty decision can ripple for many years. No one wants to bring in a business that cannot meet its financial goals. That helps no one.

Finding the perfect fit is the challenge of the landowners and their development partners. The city’s Economic Development Department is tasked with helping that process while also bringing jobs to the community. Could that be happening more quickly and more obviously? Many Maricopans emphatically say, “Yes!”

But one thing at a time.

Where public opinion has been begged for is on the city’s proposed General Plan. How should commercial areas develop and how will that impact infrastructure, traffic flow, the environment and public safety? A lot of decisions are wrapped in that, and with them many opportunities for mistakes at the private and municipal levels.

It’s not useful to demand that retailer or this restaurant or the long-promised overpass right now. Nor is sitting back and counting on fate just because population models show 30-percent growth in the next five years.

Keep pushing for progress, frustrated Maricopans, but understand the slow sequence of repercussions. As Winston Churchill said, “Only one link in the chain of destiny can be handled at a time.”

This column appeared in the March issue of InMaricopa News.