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Christian Price

Maricopa aerial
Maricopa is a city of neighbors. Photo by Kyle Norby (flight courtesy Desert Rat Aviation)

The City of Maricopa is strongly encouraging its residents to wear face masks to prevent the most vulnerable in the community.

“…The Maricopa Mayor and City Council, and the City of Maricopa strongly encourage & request residents to wear masks where social interaction takes place, while visiting businesses and other institutions outside of one’s close familial circle, and especially where social distancing is not possible in these given locations,” said a news release released by the city on Thursday afternoon.

While face masks are not mandated, Mayor Christian Price said he wants all people in the city to cover up.

Get free face masks from 10 a.m. to noon Friday

“Wearing a mask is a small thing each of us can do to protect those most vulnerable in our community,” Price said in the release. “The Governor said he would like to see every Arizonan wear a mask. I specifically, would like to see every Maricopan wear a mask, especially when unable to social distance from others around us. All of Arizona’s businesses, non-profits & institutions are now required to establish these new and updated guidelines for our well-being. So as we frequent these various entities let’s all do our part and show off how much we care about each other by masking up Maricopa!”

The City said its staff will follow requirements from Gov. Doug Ducey, including wearing face masks when they are within six feet of others and/or when interacting with the public.

“Thank you to all our caring residents who plan to do the same,” the release concluded.

On Wednesday, Ducey gave local governments in Arizona the authority to mandate masks in their cities. The governor’s move came amid public pressure for him to take action to address the surging number of new coronavirus cases in the state. On Thursday, state health officials reported 2,519 confirmed cases, eclipsing the previous single-day high of 2,392 cases reported on Tuesday. The number of deaths rose Thursday by 32 to a total of 2,519.

Ducey said Wednesday any mandate should rest with local authorities because the number of new cases varies greatly from city to city.

He also announced enhanced guidelines for businesses, organizations and professional offices, including that they must “require face coverings when physical distancing is not feasible.”

In a Facebook post Wednesday, Price referenced that new requirement: “The Governor now says that citizens of Arizona are requested – HIGHLY SUGGESTED even – to wear masks or face coverings when out and about from your own home …. It’s not necessarily “mandated”, per se, but we are requested to follow the most up to date CDC guidelines and in the Gov’s own words: “He would like to see every Arizonan wear a mask or face covering.” (Especially when unable to social distance).

Among the dozens of comments in response to the mayor’s post were expressions of support and pleas to make masks mandatory.

A petition posted created on MoveOn.org  urged Price to make masks mandatory.

A number of mayors in other Arizona cities – Chandler, Mesa, Tempe, Scottsdale and Tucson among them – have already moved to require face masks.

 

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Mayor Christian Price talks to Maricopa Advocate Program participants. Photo by Jim Headley

It’s a new year for the Maricopa Advocate Program (MAP).

This week, the City’s Economic Development Department welcomed new members to become advocates for their hometown. More than 100 people showed up Thursday evening at city hall.

The purpose of MAP is to educate citizens about their community, so they can become ambassadors for Maricopa with their friends, on social media and when they travel.

The program is in its sixth year.

Mayor Christian Price welcomed the large crowd of new MAP members. He said the idea behind MAP was to help the city survive the economic recession of the past.

“Now we are fine. We have dealt with housing prices and some of these issues,” Price said, adding he asked a friend to help him run for mayor when he set his eyes on the mayor’s office.

“She said, ‘Christian, why should I help you run for mayor when everyone wants to leave the city?’” Price said. “It was so depressing. We had challenges – right? We had great things to accomplish. From that day on, my journey was going to be about how we were going to make Maricopa something special.”

Price joked that his friend who helped him run for office no long says people are trying to leave the city.

“We needed to get people to understand the story of what we have here. What is our mission? Where do we come from? What is our relationship? What is our cultural diversity? Why is it that when I look across this group and I see so many diverse faces? That is what makes us great,” Price said.

He said the people who live in Maricopa need to learn together, as a group, about how and why the city works.

“What is really going on? That is separating fact from fiction,” Price said.

Denyse Airheart, Maricopa’s director of Economic Development, said MAP participants receive points for each planned and unplanned MAP meeting or function during the year. MAP members also receive points for volunteering as they learn about their community.

Price said one of the most important jobs a Maricopa Advocate can do is represent the truth when talking to people. All too often the rumor mill contains incorrect information, and the advocates can correct that information and stop a rumor in its tracks.

“How many of you have even been in the garage and your neighbor comes in and says, ‘I heard this?’ Well let me correct you just a little bit – not to be rude. But you can set the record straight,” Price said.

He said the idea of the MAP program is to create an “Army of Advocates” for the City of Maricopa and to inform them about what is really going on in the community.

“You’re learning it directly from the folks who are teaching me sometimes,” he said. “People are choosing to come here. We have challenges – absolutely, that is the nature of a growing city, especially one that is growing as fast as the City of Maricopa. Our reputation is getting out there. Our city does grow fast but it does so with pride and in a fashion where we say, ‘how can we make this happen as efficiently as possible.’ We’re doing it in a right way.”

Dduring the recession people thought very negatively about Maricopa, he told the MAP participants. The “Army of Advocates” changed that with positive attitudes and words.

“If you get people here to experience the city itself, it changes their minds,” he said. “We have so many exciting things that are poised to explode. This is the culmination of years and years and years of work.”

MaricopaAdvocateProgram.com

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Mayor Christian Price, dressed as Marty McFly, delivers his State of the City address Oct. 24. Photo by Kyle Norby

In his annual State of the City presentation, Mayor Christian Price offered a bold but attainable vision of the future grounded in the past. He touched on subjects important to Maricopa residents, such as transportation, growing the economy and continuing to improve the efficiency of local government.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=001pVRQ_1vw

“I believe the very best way to predict the future is simply to create it,” Price said, establishing early one of his central themes for the evening: the importance of a bold vision for Maricopa’s future.

Before the event, anticipation ran high, with a number of attendees curious about what fun plans Price had up his sleeve. His State of the City presentations have become known for his innovative and fun introductions. Last year the mayor zip-lined in, while the year before he made a video of himself in an indoor skydiving facility to make it appear as if he parachuted in.

The State of the City is funded by sponsorships.

“I have no idea what Christian is going to do, because he is a wild card, he could do anything,” said Maricopa resident Linda Huggins. “I’d just like to see where he feels the future of Maricopa is going to be.”

Hollace Lyon, Democratic candidate for the state senate seat for District One, had a suspicion that the mayor’s entrance might involve a DeLorean.

“I’m excited to see if he can fit in one, because he’s a pretty tall guy,” said Lyon, who hoped to find out more information about the progress of the overpass project in particular and economic development more broadly.

On the entertainment and transportation fronts, Price did not disappoint, indeed arriving in a DeLorean (owned by Mark Burchard) and dressed as Marty McFly with City Manager Rick Horst dressed as Doc Brown, characters from the film franchise, “Back to The Future.”

Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Price discussed not only the overpass project and plans for State Route 347, but also the road’s history. He took the crowd back to 1989, when the future city of Maricopa wasn’t much more than, “a few lonesome plots of farm land.”

“Developers could foresee that the future success of Maricopa was intrinsically tied to the ability to make 347 work properly,” Price said.

Price described how a coalition of local residents, land developers, tribal and state officials came together to support the construction of SR 347. He noted the project was funded by residents of the then-unincorporated area through what was called a “special transportation district.” It passed in a high-turnout election by just 21 votes.

Price related this to Propositions 416 and 417, which put a regional transportation plan and half-cent sales tax to finance it before voters last year. Prop 417 also passed by a narrow margin, 51 percent to 49, though its implementation has been held up by a lawsuit. He said the roughly $100 million the plan is projected to raise was necessary for increasing entry and exit routes into Maricopa, in addition to other measures to decrease traffic and accidents.

“Twenty-eight years after the first major road improvement, the people of Pinal County and the City of Maricopa courageously and emphatically stated, through their slim but majority vote, that, yes, we want and we downright need a solution to this dangerous road and the gridlock it often extends to our families,” Price said.

Price discussed how partnerships were not only vital to Maricopa’s past, but also its future.

Current projections for completion of the overpass project, as presented in the State of the City.

On the business side, Price stressed the importance of cultivating relationships with a range of private and public entities. He described how these relationships helped Maricopa secure grant funding and gain support for important projects from county, state and federal government bodies.

He laid out proposed plans for the Copper Sky site, including Maricopa’s first hotel since incorporation and a number of mixed-use spaces with commercial units on the ground floors and residential ones on the second.

Price also announced the city was changing from a business licensing process to a business registry, and that form is now only a page long and can be completed online. The fee was reduced from $50 to $10, with veteran-owned businesses and nonprofits paying nothing to register.

Reactions to the speech seemed positive, with the mayor having touched on the topics the crowd had indicated they were interested in. He also highlighted some of the exciting tech companies working throughout the region, such as the electric car company Lucid Motors and Nikola Motor Co., which makes electric-hydrogen-fueled trucks.

“The mayor never ceases to amaze me,” said Rosie Kuzmic, a Maricopa resident. “He is such a cheerleader for Maricopa. He fills us in on what’s going on, where we’ve been and what we can look forward to. He doesn’t pull any punches and he’s always fun.”

Grants received special mention a number of times, with Price highlighting the benefits received in terms of school safety, first-responders and other essential city functions. He also lauded the job done by Horst, who he likened to the city’s Doc Brown and who was appointed as city manager in June. In fact, Price quoted Doc Brown in his closing remarks.

“To Doctor Brown’s credit, he really did say it best when he said, ‘our future hasn’t been written yet'” Price said. “Your future is what you make of it, so let’s make it a good one.”

To watch the full speech, visit the city’s YouTube page at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGB4xhFiHqg&feature=youtu.be

City Manager Rick Horst dressed as Doc Brown. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Maricopa State of the City Address | October 4, 2017 | Photographer Jonathan Williams

 

IF YOU GO
What: State of the City
When: Oct. 24, 6 p.m.
Who: Mayor Christian Price
Where: Maricopa City Hall, 39700 W. Civic Center Plaza
How much: Free
Info: Maricopa-AZ.gov

Bragging points and hopeful predictions always comprise the annual State of the City address. All that changes, sometimes only slightly, are the topics.

Mayor Christian Price is prepared to deliver the goods again at this week’s address, set for Wednesday at City Hall, but with the entertainment value for which his particular presentations have become known. The address is part speech, part PowerPoint and part video, with help from councilmembers and staff.

“Every year, it’s like, how are we going to top last year?” Price said.

Last year’s zipline entrance followed the previous year’s pseudo-skydiving entry and theme. This time, in the middle of increased pressure to improve State Route 347, the presentation is taking the famous last words from the movie “Back to the Future”: “Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.”

Transportation will be a topic, of course, both in what has happened during the past year (voter approval for a county transportation improvement plan) and what may happen in the future (a funding mechanism for the county transportation improvement plan). The city also continued to evolve its transit system, including the installation of six bus shelters.

Big on the list of accomplishments was the beginning of construction on the SR 347 overpass at the Union Pacific tracks.

“That’s a $55 million project that’s literally being built before our eyes,” Price said. “Two years ago, people were still saying it was not going to happen.

“It doesn’t happen until it happens.”

The mayor said he will also be talking about everything from planned pickleball courts to infrastructure and the fire administration building. He will also focus on-behind-the-scenes activity at City Hall that is effecting change without being obvious to the outside.

“It doesn’t mean things aren’t moving underneath.”

The State of the Union starts at 6 p.m. It is free, but registration is requested as seating is limited.

 

Pinal County Supervisor Anthony Smith talks to members of the Maricopa Chamber of Commerce Oct. 12. Photo by Michelle Chance

Pinal County Supervisor Anthony Smith and Maricopa Mayor Christian Price urged local business owners to “solve the problem of misinformation out there” regarding transportation Propositions 416 and 417 Thursday morning.

During a Maricopa Chamber of Commerce breakfast, Smith and Price detailed the project’s relevance to Maricopa, including the addition of lanes to State Route 347 and the proposed East-West Corridor.

On Nov. 7, Pinal County residents will vote on a 20-year transportation improvement plan and a half-cent sales tax to fund the projects.

“When we moved to Pinal County, you all signed up to be pioneers,” Price said. “If you are all truly pioneers along with me and you don’t like taxes like I don’t, but you believe in investing in your future, you believe in economic development, you believe in growing — then our jobs are to get out and spread this word to solve the problem of misinformation out there, and there’s a lot of it.”

Smith said comments on blogs and social media made by residents county-wide expressed skepticism in the project. Specifically, Smith said some residents doubted whether the sales tax was legal and if projects benefitting their area would really come to fruition.

Over the summer, Smith said county officials sought opinions from legal counsel on the constitutionality of the tax portion of the propositions, eventually leading to a green light from Pinal County Attorney Kent Volkmer and other attorneys.

Additionally, Pinal County Public Works Director Andrew Smith said the plan took into consideration 2,500 pages of studies conducted by towns, cities and the county since 2006.

“We’ve done our due diligence and we’ve put together a plan, and now it’s up to the voters,” Smith said.

The improvements benefiting Maricopa are listed on the project’s first phase during fiscal years 2018 through 2022. During the presentation, Price broke down the numbers for the $640 million county project.

“Maricopans are getting almost $100 million of the projects out of the entire county,” Price said. “That’s just a little under one-sixth of the entire funds raised.”

The city is on track to complete 1,200 building projects this year, a sign of positive growth, but also a sign of an even more congested 347, Price said.

Price noted his efforts partnering with stewards of the 347: the Gila River Indian Community, Maricopa County Department of Transportation and the Arizona Department of Transportation.

“It’s about partnerships, it’s about leadership and it’s about bringing money to the table and if we don’t do that we can always fall back on this phrase that I’ve always used my whole career which is that ‘If you do nothing, you get nothing,’ period.”

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Maricopa State of the City Address | October 4, 2017 | Photographer Jonathan Williams

Maricopa Mayor Christian Price delivered a speech Wednesday night urging residents to “be a little more patient” with the city’s efforts to improve and grow.

Before his “overcoming obstacles” themed State of the City Address, Price climbed to the top of a fire engine ladder, attached himself to a harness, and “flew” over the crowd gathered outside of City Hall by zipline.

After an unforgettable entrance, Price discussed for nearly two hours the challenges of economic development, the overpass and issues relating to State Route 347.

Price used anecdotes from historical figures to illustrate how persevering through struggle leads to success. He challenged residents to be “a little more forgiving.”

“I hope that each of you will take the time to educate yourselves and see favorably all of the amazing things – there are so many of them – that are happening around us each and every day,” Price said.

The mayor used his platform to highlight city success stories over the past year, including the victories in court with Apex Motor Club and the approval of the overpass.

Maricopa City Council members, Justice of the Peace Lyle Riggs, Constable Bret Roberts, Pinal County Supervisor Anthony Smith, Gilbert Mayor Jenn Daniels, Arizona State Representative Vince Leach, Maricopa Flood Control District President Dan Frank and members of the Maricopa Unified School District Governing Board attended the event.

Former Maricopa mayors Edward Farrell, Kelly Anderson and Anthony Smith supported Price at the event as well, and were featured in a video interview played during his speech in which all three city leaders discussed the long history behind the effort to bring an overpass to John Wayne Parkway at the railroad crossing.

Price concluded his address with a call to action and a gift. Those who accepted a coin embossed with the city seal symbolically accepted the mayor’s challenge.

“I challenge you all to individually exercise your talents, your stamina and your sheer determination to succeed in making Maricopa the greatest city in the world,” Price said.

Mayor Christian Price delivers the State of the City address at Maricopa City Hall.

Packed with humor and spontaneity, the State of the City Address is about more than the city giving itself a pat on the back.

Mayor Christian Price said it’s about knowledge and understanding, and nobody ever said learning had to be dull.

“I want it to be more than just a boring speech,” Price said about the engaging experience the State of the City Address offers. “I want it to be entertaining and educational, and I want people to walk away feeling enriched and understanding what their city is doing on their behalf.”

The typical attendee can expect the city to highlight some of its recent and ongoing accomplishments, such as the July groundbreaking at Edison Pointe, the city’s recent legal victories relating to the planned Apex Motor Club, and the November groundbreaking on the long-awaited State Route 347 overpass project.

The 2017 address is themed “Overcoming Obstacles.” Along with highlighting some of the recent obstacles the city has overcome, Price said the address will focus on several members of the community who have overcome obstacles of their own.

He wouldn’t say who, but he did say their stories are special and residents should come out if not to learn about local government, then to at least learn something about their neighbors.

The mayor also plans to discuss some of the more tedious aspects of city government.

“One of the things I like to highlight is what is being done behind the scenes that people don’t often see,” Price said. “I think people should know where their money is going.”

He also plans to discuss a few of the city’s newer cost-saving measures and how they are preparing for the future of Maricopa.

The State of the City Address will be at Maricopa City Hall, Oct. 4, at 6 p.m. and can be viewed live on the city website.

Maricopa-AZ.gov


This story appears in the October issue of InMaricopa.

Mayor Christian Price delivers the State of the City address at Maricopa City Hall.

Giving residents a start date for the construction of an overpass across the Union Pacific Railroad tracks, Mayor Christian Price also stressed the importance of partnerships in economic development during his State of the City address Wednesday.


With the overpass now at 30-percent design, the city and Arizona Department of Transportation are able to determine which properties will be impacted. The next year will be spent acquiring the necessary properties.

Price said the current schedule would set the groundbreaking for the overpass as Oct. 27, 2017.

Like last year, the State of the City address incorporated video cameos of city councilmembers talking about various highlights from the past year. It all started memorably with Price himself in video “skydiving” to match the theme of his talk, “A View from Above.” He entered council chambers in a skydiving outfit to press the illusion.

“It was very entertaining and educational,” resident Rosie Kuzmic said.

Besides taking a virtual flying leap, Price also took selfies in front of a packed room, which had an overflow audience in the foyer.

But his subject matter was serious under the playfulness.

Much of Price’s presentation centered on economic development, which he referred to as “a very difficult and complex subject” and the “new business dragon” that needed slaying.

Maricopa has the challenge of proving it is worth a business’s efforts to locate here, Price said.

“In the world of real estate the buzz phrase is ‘location, location, location.’ But in the city of economic development our phrase is ‘entice, entice, entice,’” he said.

He touched on the city’s attempts to get a hospital (from Dignity or Banner Health) and a hotel (hinting at Marriott). Despite the expansion of the hotel at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino, a hotel is still needed in town. A feasibility study showed the continued need for a hotel, Price said, paraphrasing a conversation with casino General Manager Robert Livingston, who was in attendance.

“They, too, would like to book bigger events, and they can’t. If their hotel sells out, where does the overflow go?” Price said, adding not having a hotel stops events and economic development.

Price also teased the Edison Pointe project that is to fill in the empty lot south of Fry’s Marketplace. But he also stayed cautious.

“This location will house 12 new stores and restaurants, but I’m not telling you which stores,” he said. “Actually, I learned a very valuable lesson. You don’t actually reveal that until you’re cutting the ribbon because anything might happen in the meantime.”

Groundbreaking for Edison Pointe was originally planned for last summer, but that has been pushed back several months and is hoped for this winter.

Price touted the time and effort city staff and councilmembers have put into spreading the word about Maricopa to viable businesses and developers. He also promoted the city’s Shop Local campaign, saying it will “directly improve your quality of life.”

The council, he said, did not accept playing a minimalist role in economic development.

“In fact, it is crucial that you understand that we are constantly challenging the status quo, and we are doing all that we can to influence the decisions of various businesses to relocate to the city of Maricopa,” Price said.

 

 

Thousands gathered at the new Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church waiting to enter for a dedicatory Mass. Photo by Adam Wolfe

Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church parishioners officially opened their new church after a dedication ceremony and procession was held by church staff and Bishop Gerald Kicanas of the Diocese of Tucson.

Thousands of parishioners and residents gathered on the 38-acre property to be part of the historic day. A procession featuring the Knights of Columbus, the bishop and congregation marched from the shrine of Mary to the front steps of the cathedral.

“The meaning (of the new church) to the community is so awesome with so many things coming to Maricopa because of this church,” parishioner Alma Farrell said. “The surrounding of the homes, the surrounding of the future apartments and the long-term care center; all kinds of things are going to come because of this. As a long time resident of Maricopa, this has to be one of the happiest moments of my life.”

Kicanas was the first to enter the church in order to bless the building. The public was then welcome to take part in the Mass of Rite of Dedication and the community reception that followed.

“We have a three-hour mass through the old Roman Rites in which the church is blessed, anointed and made ready for regular masses,” Construction and Design Committee Chairman Ken Lepper said.

Parishioners and city officials hope the church property will become the anchor for a “modern neighborhood” at the center of the city. Housing, apartment, retain and restaurants are expected to fill up the area over the next eight to ten years.

“I can tell you just from talking with others, there are retail investors that are already excited about this being here,” Maricopa Mayor Christian Price said. “They know it brings people, it brings population, and with that, it brings houses. Anytime we can see this type of construction going on and these types of facilities going up in Maricopa it’s a benefit to all of us, so we’re very excited.”

Regular masses will begin at the new church on Sunday.

COM_OLOGDedication_1_Wolfe

Mayor Christian Price was the first guest of MCE's new "Engage" series. Photo by Cori O'Connell

Mayor Christian Price’s approach to business leadership is a sum of all his experiences back to high school.

That was one of the tidbits he shared in a sit-down discussion as Maricopa Center for Entrepreneurship debuted its “Engage” series at the Copper Sky Mutigenerational Complex.

“We realized that there were people in the community that were very influential in how businesses operated,” MCE Director Dan Beach said. “From that, we decided to create some kind of an event where we could bring them in and ask them the tough kind of questions about the business behind business.”

Dozens of Maricopa residents and business owners came to Copper Sky to hear the mayor speak. The discussion was initially meant to be at MCE’s storefront location, but large numbers of committed attendees forced MCE to rent out space at Copper Sky.

The conversation started with Price discussing his influences and journey into politics, but quickly transitioned into how Maricopa has and will continue to grow.

“How do we do something that is hard for us, and how do we build an image?” Price said. “We have lots of home-based businesses, but where is the middle ground? The cost per square foot [in Maricopa] is worse than Scottsdale! It’s ridiculous!”

According to Price, the city is hoping to lower the extremely high cost of renting office space in the city by installing “flex” buildings at the Estrella Gin Business Park.

The “flex” buildings allow businesses to rent as much space as they need without having to install thousands of dollars worth of upgrades to make the building meet safety codes. The buildings will also be a “public/private partnership,” so officials will have more control over the cost to rent space.

“As a city, we do not want to come into the real estate business and we don’t want to come in and be competitive to the market, but we do want to create an outside-the-box way of thinking,” Price said. “So we need to partner with private industry and take what both sides are good at to fill that niche. That’s what we’re doing at [Estrella Gin Business Park] behind Acacia Crossing.”

The next date and guest speaker for MCE’s “Engage” series has not been announced yet.

Maricopa City Council received a dance preview from DSPA during Tuesday's meeting. Photo by Adam Wolfe

Tuesday night’s Maricopa City Council meeting appeared to be brief on paper, but took nearly two hours to sort through confusion over the 2016 Legislative Platform.

During their last meeting, the council approved the changes to the platform. The platform, which was approved by the state before being sent to city levels, changed the tax collection process for the city of Maricopa.

Maricopa residents previously voted to approve a city tax increase to $4.78. However, due to limitations from the state’s new 1-percent cap, the city can only collect $3.29. The changes to the tax platform prohibit the city from collecting the extra $1.49 approved by the voters.

The proposal that caused confusion among the council members came from City Manager Gregory Rose, who proposed an option that would allow residents to recast their vote to approve the extra tax revenue if a dire need ever presented itself.

“What we are asking the Legislature to do is simply provide [the council] with another tool,” Rose said. “We are certainly not seeking to pass legislation that would enact a tax increase. We are saying if there are extraordinary circumstances, the city council, as well as the citizens, would have the option of increasing the tax rate themselves.”

Councilmember Nancy Smith was concerned by the wording. She worried future council members would be able to take advantage of the proposed option.

“This is one of the arguments that I have a hard time buying into,” Smith said. “Even though I understand where you’re coming from and the voters approved it, but I think we have to be transparent in telling the voters that the voters approved it as it was listed on the ballot that it was not to be a tax increase.”

However, the issue was clarified by Mayor Christian Price.

“There is a political reality that this is a long shot,” Price said. “Even if it is a voter-approved referendum, which is what it has to be, the individuals can choose whether they want to tax themselves or not.”

Rose will adjust the wording of the proposal and bring it back before the council at another time.

The council also heard a presentation regarding the Maricopa Outdoor Recreation and Environmental Education program, which would allow residents to travel and complete outdoor excursions through a program provided the Copper Sky Multigenerational Complex, and re-authorized an annual holiday signage program that assists local business in promoting and raising awareness and economic through Jan. 8.

The Maricopa City Council will reconvene on Dec. 15 at 7 p.m.

Mayor Christian Price painted a picture of a hard-working city in his State of the City address Thursday. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Mayor Christian Price hit familiar notes in his annual State of the City address Thursday night, and there was an echo of unanswered questions about Maricopa’s future.

Price said a main goal of economic development was to “improve the quality of life” of residents but also quickly said he would have no major announcement about pending new businesses.

The city’s Estrella Gin Business Park is still waiting to be developed with flex space off Edison Road once the road is extended to State Route 238. The city received a $250,000 grant for the extension last year with little movement accomplished in 2015.

Price said terms of use for the land affected by the road extension have to be negotiated. “And we are on the verge of finishing those negotiations,” he said.

He said there are also privately owned, retail developments in the works to be announced within the year. He said they will involve stores and eateries. Even before his speech, that was bearing out. Last week the city received a permit application for Edison Pointe, a 134,000-square-foot commercial center on the northeast corner of John Wayne Parkway and Edison Road.

“While this is taking time – it will continue to take time – there are things that we are working on, but it’s the developers who have to move forward,” he said.

The mayor, who is in his second term, spoke to a full house of community leaders at City Hall. His speech, entitled “Building a City,” drew on an iconic “Building a Rainbow” poster from the 1970s.

Like the poster, Price said, growing Maricopa requires a lot of moving parts.

Price addressed various aspects of the city’s victories and challenges, with help from council members in video form.

In economic development, Price touted the success of the Maricopa Advocate Program and the joining of the Canada Arizona Business Council. The mayor also pointed to a raise in the sales tax to reduce property tax in funding economic development.

Afterward, Maricopa Center for Entrepreneurship Executive Director Dan Beach said the CABC was news to him. He said he would like to see if MCE can be involved or put its resources to work in that Canadian relationship. MCE was established by the city as a business incubator.

The city continues to work on transportation and flood control. Price said getting state funding for the planned overpass on State Route 347 “was one of our biggest wins this year.”

Maricopa has again applied for a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant. The U.S. Department of Transportation is awarding up to $500 million to various projects around the country. Price said Maricopa is hoping for $10 million to $15 million.

Having support from the State Transportation Board and the Ak-Chin Indian Community has brightened prospects for finally landing the TIGER grant.

“We are as close as we’ve ever been,” Price said. He continues to attend State Transportation Board meetings to be sure the funds budgeted for 2020 continue to be targeted at Maricopa’s overpass.

Price said the proposed Interstate 11 is the next big project for Maricopa’s transportation needs. So far, the I-11 corridor is planned only from Las Vegas to Wickenburg. Its full intention is to extend to the border with Mexico, possibly touching on Maricopa in the process.

“We hope to have it built – and I hate to say this – in our lifetime,” Price said.

The designation of the interstate to go border-to-border will take an act of Congress. Price said Maricopa became part of the Pinal County I-11 Coalition to have local voices heard.

“We are doing everything we can do to make sure I-11 comes through here,” he said. “I-11 will transform this area forever. We have to make this happen.”

Also affecting the ability of Maricopa to grow is the flood plain. The city’s geographic location in the watershed for the Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa rivers has been a challenge since before incorporation.

“It is impossible for the city to build with your tax dollars in a flood plain,” Price said.

Maricopa is part of the Lower Santa Cruz River Alliance. It is working on a project to build a northern Santa Cruz channel with the intent of getting more land out of the flood plain.

“It’s happening because we will not give up on this project,” the mayor said.

Chad Chadderton of Ahwatukee Realty in Maricopa said he always learns something at the State of the City address, and the information on flood control grabbed his interest. “That’s very important to real estate values,” he said.

Mayor Christian Price talks about some issues he'll cover in his State of the City address to be delivered Thursday at Maricopa City Hall.

Maricopa Mayor Christian Price stopped by our new studio at InMaricopa.com to discuss his “State of the City” Address as well as developments and issues with local transportation.

Mayor Price will deliver his “State of the City” address on Thursday at 7 p.m. at City Hall. The doors will open at 6 p.m. to provide members of the community a chance to speak and interact with city officials before the address.

 

 

“I always think this is a great opportunity to educate people,” Price said. “’The big three’ as I like to call them will be points of conversation during the ‘State of the City.’ ‘The big three’ of course are the 347 overpass, Interstate 11 and other transportation issues that really boil into I-11, and the bigger third, which is flood control.”

The Mayor will touch on all these topics as well as address concerns from the community during the address.