Tags Articles tagged with "Copper Sky"

Copper Sky

Photo by Victor Moreno

The franchise owner of a planned La Quinta Inn, accompanied by family, partners and city officials, broke ground at Copper Sky Regional Park on Friday morning. Andy Bhakta also turned earth for a hotel in Holbrook this year.

“Last year, we came to the city, it was the weekend. We met Rick [Horst], the city manager. He asked us, first question, how long it takes to build a hotel,” investor Ravikumar Balenalli said during the groundbreaking. “We said, if everything works out, one year. That was last September.”

“We have this beautiful park, and it’s one of the nicest in the state, and yet we don’t have the ability for folks to come and have tournaments here and stay here,” Mayor Christian Price said. “When you start to look at the employers and you start to look at the domino effect that happens, it’s a really big deal.”

From kids to adults, more and more people are playing video games whether it is a console or a cellphone.

With big brands such as ESPN airing gaming competitions known as Esports, video games are no longer something just “nerds” play. City Programs and Marketing Coordinator Matthew Reiter recognizes this growth in popularity as the perfect time to bring Esports to Maricopa.

“It’s basically competitive video game leagues, but we’re doing a recreation version of it,” Reiter said.

Two rooms in the Copper Sky activity center were modified to be one large room to fit all the tech, tables and equipment.

Aside from just purchasing gaming consoles, 12 gaming computers were custom-built for the Esports room earlier in August with certified tech students from Maricopa High School guiding a class.

Ray Nieves, owner of 911 Air Repair,  has been an enthusiastic supporter and the main sponsor for the Esports League. Nieves is ready to give the kids something he didn’t have growing up in Maricopa.

“I’ve lived here my whole life. I grew up here, and my kids are going to grow up here,” Nieves said. “This is a reason to shop local. Your money is staying here and helping things like this.”

Nieves has helped sponsor numerous causes from the City’s Fourth of July event to Maricopa Little League. Nieves showed interest in the league because of the rapid growth and domination Esports have displayed in the sports market, recalling an American Teenager who won $3 million for winning an Esports tournament for the popular online game “Fortnite” earlier this year.

Kids can expect to play their first tournament on Sept. 14. “Fortnite” will kick off the recreational season, with the official league beginning in October. Future titles for tournaments include “Super Smash Brothers,” “Rocket League” and “Overwatch.”

“We want to develop healthy relationships with video games,” Reiter explained. “We want to have a fun environment and bring back free play, for something kids enjoy.”

Additional information on dates and future tournaments can be found at https://www.facebook.com/groups/maricopaesports/

 

 

by -

Outdoor pickleball courts opened to the public Saturday with a brief ceremony and a bit of play at Copper Sky. Experienced players tested out the courts while Rocky Myers went over the basics for beginners. The City budgeted up to $400,000 for the six courts, which are pro standard and include a shaded walkway in between. Previously, pickleball players played on makeshift courts in half of the gymnasium inside the facility. Now play is expected to be relegated to early morning and after dark until temperatures cool.

Say good-bye to the Maricopa Mud Run, at least for now.

The past two years, as it became clear the City of Maricopa was making efforts to develop acres marked for commercial use at Copper Sky, the future of the popular October event became more tenuous. The location of the Mud Run in the southwest vacant lots now interferes with pending construction.

Original organizers had earlier expressed hope a new location could be found once development began. That did not happen.

“With the development at Copper Sky Commercial we don’t currently have a location to build the mud run,” Community Services Director Nathan Ullyot said. “We have re-directed those funds towards other events and programs.  At this time there are no plans to continue the Mud Run as a City-run event.”

The Mud Run, an obstacle course through mud and muddy waters, started in 2014 and evolved over the years. It became so popular, the race had to be run in several heats to accommodate participants. It also included a mini-run for kids. It did have low points, as a serious injury in 2017 resulted in a still-unresolved lawsuit, and last year’s rain-created dangerously slick conditions that caused half of the competition to be postponed.

There is an option for a private takeover of a similar event at a different location.

The commercial property at Copper Sky is scheduled to have a La Quinta Hotel, with groundbreaking this fall, as well as shops, apartments and senior housing. The City of Maricopa recently purchased the corner lot at State Route 347 and Bowlin Drive to develop a possible second hotel and other businesses such as a restaurant, according to City Manager Rick Horst.

Copper Sky Commercial is 18.3 acres, stretching from Bowlin Road to the dog park. Maricopa is working with Tempe-based Commercial Properties, Inc., and Shea Connelly Development. Shea had been involved with earlier Maricopa development but pulled out during the recession.

“We got Shea to come back,” Mayor Christian Price told a Republicans of Maricopa monthly meeting Thursday at Copper Sky.

He described Shea’s reluctance to return to Maricopa, but said City officials urged the company to give it another look after its recent growth residentially and commercially.

“They were wowed,” he said. “They could not believe it. In fact, they had investors from New York who flew out and were supposed to go back that same day and stayed that extra night because they were so impressed with the area. That’s how you’re getting a $147 million investment.”

 

The City of Maricopa and Ak-Chin had simultaneous celebrations of the Fourth of July on Thursday, which created lots of fireworks and water slides (and tremendous traffic jam afterward) as residents and visitors came out to join in the fun. Those participating in the first tailgate party at Copper Sky had positive feedback from their experience. Crowds gathered twice on the soccer fields to watch a motocross show, and there was general reveling throughout the park.

Photos by Kyle Norby

Marlins and Seals were spotted at Copper Sky Aquatics Center on Saturday during a fun meet that let the swimmers have a splash and get ready for competition mode. Boys and girls competed in the lap pool.

City of Maricopa rings in its 14th annual Great American 4th celebration at Copper Sky Regional Park on Thursday, July 4, with an incredible freestyle motocross show and first-ever tailgating feature in lieu of beer garden.

Attendees age 21+ may purchase a tailgating permit online or in-person at Copper Sky Recreation Center. The permit grants access at 1 p.m. to the “Great American Tailgate” zone where tailgaters may enjoy their own food and beverages – including grilling and libations – at their leisure. The $30 pass includes two parking spaces, permission to use pop-up tents and grills and alcohol permit to consumer beer or wine.

A heart-stopping prelude to the fireworks show starts at 7:45 p.m. with an hour-long freestyle motocross performance courtesy of famed pro rider Vince Morgan of Brigade FMX, We’re honored to have Mr. Morgan join us as we celebrate our freedom and community – he’s not only one of the original FMX riders, but also a former Maricopa resident.

Family festivities commence at 5 p.m. and include VIP Pool Party, giant water slides and inflatables, interactive DJ, various family fun and games, food trucks and vendors. The event concludes with a stunning fireworks display at 9 p.m., though guests are encouraged to arrive at least 15 minutes early.

For more details, visit the Great American 4th webpage at www.GA4th.com.

For an after-dark cool-down, Copper Sky Aquatic Center hosted the annual Dive-In Movie as part of the Movies under the Stars series of outdoor movies June 15. Families swam in the pools and played on the splash pad while watching Aquaman on the inflatable big screen.

The City purchased almost nine acres near the southeast corner of SR 347 and Bowlin Road.

The City of Maricopa recently bought just under nine acres of land in the Copper Sky development area.

As a rule, it is probably a bad idea for cities to just take whatever falls from the sky.

The $2.65 million purchase at the corner of State Route 347 and Bowlin Road took place for one reason. The city may now determine who will and won’t be part of the development at Copper Sky, next door to its $30 million Copper Sky multicultural complex and park.

“We are focused on that property and we are determined to help it happen,” said Jennifer Bostian, economic development specialist for the City of Maricopa. “We are looking for complementary uses to the Copper Sky complex that’s right next door. We expect the senior living complex will need a couple acres. There will very likely be a second hotel.”

A developer has already announced plans to construct a La Quinta Inn.

“We want to make sure that corner is used for sit-down restaurants and restaurant-type venues that are complementary to the hotels,” Bostian said. “It will be a great mix of retail, residential, office, hotel, recreation and senior living. It will be a great new asset for the city.”

Bostian said there is work on assembling the master plan for the Copper Sky district.

“Nothing has been finalized yet, but it is very close,” she said. “Basically, it looks like Copper Sky recreation center and all the surrounding fields will have hotels, apartments with mixed-use retail. That hard corner (next to SR 347) will probably be the second hotel and restaurants.”

While some design mock-ups have been unveiled, the final plan is still being worked out.

“Nothing has been formally approved yet, but it is well underway,” Bostian said.

She said the city is trying to maintain a vision of the Copper Sky area.

“As a rule, it is probably a bad idea for cities to just take whatever falls from the sky,” she said.

The purpose for the city to spend $2.65 million on this land purchase is simple – they want to sell it. By purchasing it, city leaders can control who buys and develops the property.

“That is the bottom line,” Bostian said. “We do want it to all look like it goes together. There is a lot of heart and soul going into this development.”

City spokesperson Adam Wolfe said this is a way for “the city to control positive sustainable growth in that area.”

Wolfe added that Copper Sky represents growth in the City of Maricopa and, with the addition of the SR 347 overpass, future development will be spurred in the southern part of Maricopa.

“I think we’re going to see a boom in the south, just like we saw in the north side because now you can get there. You don’t have to wait on a train,” Wolfe said.

Bostian said the city seriously needs apartments and a “walkable” community, and the Copper Sky development directly answers these needs.

“There are a couple apartment complexes that are really showing some interest in moving forward,” she said. “Copper Sky represents some things the city has been wanting for, for a long time. The first hotel has been an unmet need for some time. Study after study shows how important walkable communities are. This will really be a way for us to do that.”

Shirley Moenich (far left) said seniors are in the middle of shifting activities to Copper Sky. Photo by Jim Headley

 

Maricopa Seniors have been meeting in a backroom at Santa Cruz Elementary School for a year and earlier the Copa Center for several years.

Next month that comes to an end, and many seniors are still searching for answers. The Copa Seniors are moving out of Santa Cruz June 12.

Every Tuesday many of the Copa Seniors meet to play games. On May 21, they gathered at Copper Sky for Canasta.

“When we got the school, they said we were an adult group, so anybody who is an adult could come and play,” said Shirley Moenich. “What our status is now, I don’t know.”

She said the Copa Seniors are making a transition from Santa Cruz over to Copper Sky for many of their functions. The group is already meeting every Tuesday afternoon at 1 to play games at Copper Sky.

If you’re a senior, you’re welcome to drop in any Tuesday at 1 p.m. and play games.

“Someone is volunteering to supply all of our games, so we’re going to have that in a rolling cart. We will have that available at Copper Sky. Whatever days we end up with, we want to make sure there is someone here from our group that can say hello to new people, get them organized and let them know what we are doing,” Moenich said.

The origins of the Copa Seniors getting together to play games goes back to about 2013.

“I moved here before the town was here practically, in 1997, when Harrah’s opened. We had no subdivisions then at all. I have been here a long time, but I worked so I wasn’t able to join in on this group at first,” Moenich said.

She said as Maricopa keeps growing, the Copa Seniors are trying to get the word out to other seniors to come out of their homes and meet each other.

“And come to something where they can get some social life,” she said. “They need to find out what days we are here and what games we have going. If they have their own game that they want to bring, just come on in. They are welcome to come in anytime we are open – Tuesdays at 1 p.m. at Copper Sky right now.”

Moenich said with the move coming up June 12, many senior groups using Santa Cruz are trying to solve the many issues facing them. One of the largest problems is finding enough storage for their needed items.

“As far as the social game playing group, we won’t have a problem with storage because it will be solved,” Moenich said.

by -
A La Quinta is planned for Copper Sky commercial property.

Tuesday evening the Maricopa City Council has an extremely light agenda for their regular 7 p.m. meeting.

Only two items are listed on Tuesday’s meeting agenda and both items are on the consent agenda.

Matters to be voted on include a resolution endorsing the Pinal County Interstate 11 Coalition’s support for the Federal Highway Administration and the Arizona Department of Transportation’s Interstate 11 Tier 1 environmental impact statement and preliminary section evaluation.

The environmental impact study will take three years and studies a 280-mile corridor across the state for the proposed construction of I-11.

The other matter on their consent agenda is an amendment to a purchase and sale agreement with Maricopa Auberge for the construction of the La Quinta Hotel in the Copper Sky area.

The new agreement amends the sale of the property to Maricopa Auberge to 87,120 square feet of property south of the southeast corner of John Wayne Parkway and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The new agreement will also amend the purchase price to $411,970, which represents $5 per square foot.

by -

Though construction is already underway, ground was officially broken for outdoor pickleball courts at Copper Sky  Tuesday. Maricopa City Councilmember Marvin Brown, from left, joins Vice Mayor Henry Wade, pickleball ambassador Rocky Myers, Mayor Christian Price and Councilmember Nancy Smith to turn dirt. The facility will have six pickle ball courts.

Crews start construction of pickleball courts at Copper Sky. Photo by Jim Headley

Almost a year ago, pickleball aficionados in Maricopa learned they would at last realize their dream of having dedicated courts for their sport.

The City of Maricopa set aside more than $400,000 for six pickleball courts. This week, crews began construction next to the skate park at Copper Sky.

Ironically, Rocky Myers, the face of the drive for more pickleball, was not in town when the announcement was made in May. It took him and his fellow players by surprise.

“I was flabbergasted,” he said. “You could have picked me up off the pavement.”

No Pollyanna, however, he’s keeping his expectations grounded. He has been keeping a watchful eye on the process as the City prepares to follow through on the promise of the budget.

The plans are not everything he would like to see, like the ability to host state-level tournaments.

“I’m real excited to get the courts, but it’s disappointing,” he said. “We need at least 10 courts for a tournament.”

As planned, there is room for only six courts between the skate park and the tennis courts. Each court has a 44-by-20 feet playing area inside a fenced area of 64-by-34 feet, “to execute all possible shots” including around the post, Myers said.

He started his campaign for pickleball courts three years ago as the popularity of the sport become more apparent. Up to this point, the city tried to accommodate players by restriping basketball/volleyball courts inside the multigenerational complex and allowing players to use tennis courts, which Myers said was not ideal because of the different net dimensions.

The plans include a 10-foot-wide, covered walkway between courts to create shade for benches and a place to rest. The perimeter is expected to be an eight-foot chain link fence.

Maricopa artists invited to participate

The inaugural Art for the Heart Festival is set for May 4 on the Great Lawn at Copper Sky.

If You Go
What
: Art for the Heart Festival
When: May 4, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: Copper Sky Regional Park, 44345 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
How much: Free to attend; $60 to exhibit
Info: 520-568-8100, ext. 4136 

Hoping to fill the void left by the dissolution of Art on the Veranda and Maricopa Arts Festival, a Maricopa High School program is coordinating the community art show. Graphic Design teacher Maria Pour said they want to have as many Maricopa artists as possible participating.

The coordination is in the hands of SkillsUSA students. That program mandates they be involved in creating and running a project that benefits a nonprofit, and the usual approach is to host a clothing drive or a food drive.

“But we wanted something that relates to us, to graphics and art,” Pour said.

So, the young organizers are putting their skills to use in ways that have “real-world application,” she said. Art for the Heart invites artists from all media to display and sell their works at the festival. Pour said 75 percent of proceeds will go to the American Heart Association, the rest to cover overhead.

A 10-by-10-foot booth space is $60, and artists can bring their own tables. Painting, photography, drawing, sculpture, textiles and more are welcome from artists of all ages.

MHS had participated in Art on the Veranda, and Pour understood the challenges involved hosting a community art event. She has 15 students helping to staff Art for the Heart, from creating the plan to designing the logo or handing out water.

The additional challenge is participation, both by artists and art-lovers. Previous organizers have provided her with names of area artists, and she also seeks to reach out to Ak-Chin and Gila River artists.

Photos by Jim Headley

About 1,000 flag football players participated in the Southwest Showdown NFL Flag Football Tournament in Copper Sky Regional Park. Participants came from across Arizona and the western United States to expand their football skills.

by -
colorrun_12
Photos by Kyle Norby

The City of Maricopa’s annual Copa Color Run brought in participants of all ages to run or walk the color-laden event at Copper Sky Regional Park on Saturday.

 

A unique flag football tournament is coming to Maricopa April 6-7. The Southwest Showdown NFL Flag Football Tournament will take place at Copper Sky.

Greg Johnson, co-owner of Playmakers Youth Sports, the organizers of the Southwest Showdown, said he expects between 80 and 100 youth, flag football teams to attend. With an average of 10 players per team, the event will draw 800 to 1,000 players to the community plus family and friends.

“The Southwest Showdown is an NFL Flag youth national football tournament,” Johnson said. It is a qualifier for the annual national championship tournament in Orlando, Florida.

Johnson said the tournament has taken place across different locations in the Phoenix area over the past four years.

“We have grown from a very small, little, 20-team tournament into what I just described,” Johnson said.

This is the first time the tournament has come to Maricopa.

“The City of Maricopa was looking to do more things out at Copper Sky Park. They invited us out to check it out,” Johnson said. “We were like ‘Wow, what a beautiful facility.’ It is a great place to host a tournament. That is how we ended up connecting.

“Fortunately, our tournament has been able to tour through a couple different cities in the Valley because of the popularity of it. It is great for us to have an opportunity to bring events to an up-and-coming area,” he said.

NFL Flag is one of the fastest-growing sports in the nation, according to Johnson. With the current concerns about concussions in football, flag football is a growing alternative to youth football.

“More and more people are pushing families to the flag game,” Johnson said. “What you’re seeing is the evolution of a recreational sport that is popular and becoming more and more competitive. We are tracking teams from multiple states.”

Teams playing in the Arizona tournaments over the past few years have travelled from as far away as Hawaii.

“This is something that I’ve been talking about,” said Nathan Ullyot, Maricopa’s director of Community Services. “The value that we can provided, from an economic development standpoint is to attempt to bring in larger multi-day sports tourism events or tournaments. This is the first one that we set out to recruit, received interest and ultimately booked a multi-day tournament that will bring anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 people into the city over April 6-7.”

Ullyot said the influx of that many people brings an economic impact to restaurants, gas stations and retail businesses.

“While it’s not going to fund our whole operation, what we can bring into the city is a benefit,” Ullyot said. “Our parks staff are phenomenal. They are among the best that I’ve seen.”

“We don’t just bring local flair; we bring economic impact to an area because a lot of teams come in and rent hotels, visit restaurants and all that stuff,” he said. “They will stay for the entire weekend.”

There are two divisions of tournament actions, with 5-on-5 and 7-on-7 teams.

In the 5-on-5 division, teams play in age groups of 6 and under and 14 and under. The 7-on-7 age groups are high school and under.

“The 7-on-7 is something that we’re seeing a lot of interest in. It’s not just a tournament; it’s an event,” Johnson said, adding beside the tournament games there will be food trucks on site, a mobile DJ and related field activities.

“One of our sponsors is Dick’s Sporting Goods, so we have a fastest-kid contest and a swag bag competition,” said Johnson. “Most of these teams have custom uniforms, and we do social media voting on them. There are a lot of interactive activities that we do at the tournament.”

Registration start at $400 per team, though Johnson said there are discounts available for teams from Maricopa. Admission is free.

SouthwestShowdownAZ.com

 

Photos by Jim Headley

A total of 12 teams took to the fields at Copper Sky Park in Maricopa to raise money and assist the family of Israel “Izzy” Calderon, who was seriously injured in a car wreck on State Route 347 a few years ago. The 2019 Israel “Izzy” Calderon third annual benefit softball tournament raises funds for the family. This year was action packed on Saturday, as the first pitch was thrown by former mayor Kelly Anderson shortly before 8 a.m. and action continued through the day and into the evening, ending about 9 p.m.

by -
Mayor Christian Price, parks manager Mike Riggs and sponsor Ace Hardware owner Mike Richey throw out the the first discs in the Maricopa Disc Golf Open at Copper Sky. Photo by Jim Headley

Nearly 200 players from all over the United States came to Maricopa over the weekend for the Maricopa Disc Golf Open.

Anthony Barela of Mesa won the Open Division, throwing 24 under par during the weekend. Austin Hannum of Perry, Oklahoma, was second at 23 under par over the two-day tournament, which was played at Copper Sky and Maricopa Meadows.

Paul Ulibarri of Show Low was third overall at 19 under par and first in the 40+ age division at 13 under par.

Catrina Allen of Pipestone, Minnesota, won the woman’s open title at 5 under par, followed by Callie McMorran of Arlington, Tennessee, at 6 over and Jennifer Allen of Gilbert at 8 over.

Here are the top 5 results of the professional and intermediate categories of the tournament from the Professional Disc Golf Association:

Open (Top 5)

Place Name       Par Rd1 Rd2 Finals Total
1 Anthony Barela       -24 49 49 49 147
2 Austin Hannum       -23 50 51 47 148
3 Paul Ulibarri       -19 51 48 53 152
4 Jeremy Novak       -15 53 53 50 156
5 Jeremy Herr       -13 59 51 48 158

Open Women (Top 5)

Place Name     Par Rd1 Rd2 Finals Total
1 Catrina Allen     -5 61 51 54 166
2 Callie McMorran     +6 63 57 57 177
3 Jennifer Allen     +8 61 64 125
4 Azrielle Rogers     +16 65 68 133
5 Hannah Stefanovich     +28 76 69 145

Pro Masters 40+ (Top 5)

Place Name     Par Rd1 Rd2 Finals Total
1 Pete Ulibarri     -13 53 55 50 158
2 Shaun Peavy     -8 55 56 52 163
3 Brad Casarotto     -6 56 55 54 165
3 Sam Russ     -6 54 53 58 165
5 Kevin Hand     -4 58 56 53 167

Pro Masters Women 40+

Place Name     Par Rd1 Rd2 Finals Total
1 Lisa Reisch     +30 74 73 147

Pro Masters 50+

Place Name     Par Rd1 Rd2 Finals Total
1 Zach Walker     +3 61 57 56 174
2 Nick Mucha     +7 63 54 61 178
2 Jav Kowalski     +7 58 59 61 178
5 David Neff     +8 59 58 62 179

Pro Masters 55+ (Top 5)

Place Name     Par Rd1 Rd2 Finals Total
1 Dan Ginnelly     -8 55 57 51 163
2 G. Scott Carle     +8 59 59 61 179
4 Harvey Brandt     +21 66 64 62 192
3 Patrick Barela     +18 71 64 135
5 Brian Wynn     +26 78 65 143

Advanced (Top 5)

Place Name     Par Rd1 Rd2 Finals Total
1 Alex Lombardo     -7 56 56 52 164
2 Travis Wessel     +3 60 58 56 174
3 Colin Hahn     +4 62 58 55 175
4 Huntington Coats     +7 59 59 60 178
5 Shawn Stokes     +9 59 62 59 180

Advanced Women (Top 5)

Place Name Par Rd1 Rd2 Finals Total
1 Sandra Martinez +19 66 61 61 188
3 Kristy Pirkle +34 66 72 65 203
4 Bailey Petty +36 63 74 68 205
2 Kay Powell +25 72 68 140
5 Kimberly Owens +45 81 79 160

Intermediate (Top 5)

Place Name Par Rd1 Rd2 Finals Total
1 Joseph Bradshaw -1 61 55 52 168
2 James Russell -1 53 56 59 168
3 Matt Bennett +5 61 57 56 174
4 Dominic Medrano +6 66 56 53 175
4 Christopher Paetz +6 57 63 55 175

Intermediate Women (Top 5)

Place Name Par Rd1 Rd2 Finals Total
1 Tonya Hunter +35 67 73 64 204
2 Becky Bare +37 67 69 70 206
4 Elaine Houchen +46 70 72 73 215
3 Britnay Marquez +43 79 79 158
5 Cindy Petty +47 86 76 162

by -
Fee changes for the use of Copper Sky received the OK from city council Tuesday.

Tuesday evening the Maricopa City Council unanimously approved a resolution that will change fees at Copper Sky Multigenerational Center at their regularly scheduled meeting.

The new fees will impact the use of day passes while promoting six-month and annual memberships in an effort to make Copper Sky more sustainable and offer more services to citizens.

“While we probably didn’t please absolutely everybody, I think we generally reached a consensus,” Community Services Director Nathan Ullyot said of conversations with city committees. “For the most part, we have some support for these schedules.”

With all the changes in membership costs, the city is adding a scholarship program that gives discounts on memberships and classes based on income levels.

Seniors automatically get a 10-percent discount but can get further discounts based on income levels. If seniors qualify for the scholarships and the regular senior discounts, they could save up to 50 percent off their memberships.

Seniors will no longer have a separate price point.

Some seniors may also qualify for assistance through their health insurance programs.

The scholarship program has two discount levels of 20 and 40 percent off membership costs. The application for a scholarship is simple and only one-page long.

In applying for a scholarship, the city asks for a tax return, a current income statement and proof of residence like a utility bill or driver’s license. Copies of the documents will also be returned or destroyed after application processing, which should take two weeks or less.

Councilmember Nancy Smith said her earlier concerns over the fee changes were centered on the senior rates.

“I felt so strongly about this concern, that I wanted you to have lots of people to talk to,” she told Ullyot. She thanked Ullyot for presenting the information in many settings, including city committees. Smith also said senior advocate Joan Koczor was a vital part of getting the word out and starting strong communication between residents and City Hall.

Members will also save with discounts on sports programs, like aquatics classes or enrichment classes, as part of their membership. They also receive free event parking and fun-zone passes. Members also receive 10 guest passes per year.

Rates will be categorized at three levels for Copper Sky – member, resident and non-resident.

Copper Sky has about 6,800 members with approximately 2,000 senior members.

The Council also heard a presentation by Denyse Airheart, Maricopa’s director of Economic Development, on plans for an 18-acre development around Copper Sky that will include La Quinta Hotel, 620 units of multifamily housing, a 172-unit Morning Star Assisted Living Center and 53,000 square feet of new retail space.

Airheart unveiled the $146-million plan at the Jan. 9 special meeting between the Maricopa Economic Development Alliance (MEDA) and Maricopa City Council.

Photo by Dean Crandall

The City of Maricopa wants to make Copper Sky Multigenerational Center 75 percent self-sufficient. Currently, it is at 65 percent sustainability.

Nathan Ullyot, Maricopa’s director of Community Services, explained a proposed fee change for Copper Sky to the media Tuesday. Ullyot said there has been a lot of discussion, mostly on social media, about the city’s proposed fee changes that will be presented to the city council later this month.

“What is getting missed in all this is the opportunity that we are providing for everybody. There is a lot of focus around senior pricing,” Ullyot said. “There are some really nice changes for families or folks who decide to get a membership to Copper Sky.”

Ullyot said the new fee schedule will allow flexibility for members and provide the city a more sustainable facility.

With all the changes in membership costs, Ullyot said the city is adding a scholarship program that gives discounts on memberships and classes based on income levels.

Seniors automatically get a 10-percent discount, according to Ullyot. He said they can get further discounts based on scholarships that are also available.

“Folks who are at need or in need can have a scholarship opportunity to Copper Sky and receive a 20 or 40 percent discount,” he said, adding the scholarships are based on federal poverty level guidelines.

He said if seniors qualify for the scholarships and the regular senior discounts, they could save up to 50 percent off their memberships.

Seniors will no longer have a separate price point.

“This was done when they opened, and they haven’t changed it. There was no policy to guide that. This policy changes that. The seniors get an automatic 10 percent along with veterans. They can combine that with a scholarship,” he said.

Some seniors may also qualify for assistance through their health insurance programs.

The scholarship program has two discount levels of 20 and 40 percent off membership costs. He said the application for a scholarship is simple and only one-page long.

In applying for a scholarship, the city asks for a tax return, a current income statement and proof of residence like a utility bill or driver’s license. Copies of the documents will also be returned or destroyed after application processing, which should take two weeks or less.

“We are also looking at making sure our Copper Sky programs have an improved value,” he said. “The reality is our annual members will see no increase. There will be no change in their membership. The big changes will be for those going month to month. We are trying to push them to go to six months or annual. There is also an increase to our day passes.”

Members will also save with discounts on sports programs, like aquatics classes or enrichment classes, as part of their membership. They also receive free event parking and fun-zone passes, according to Ullyot. Members also receive 10 guest passes per year.

Rates will be categorized at three levels for Copper Sky – member, resident and non-resident.

Ullyot said Copper Sky has maintained its budget numbers in recent years but increasing costs, like the increase in minimum wage, is impacting the center’s bottom line.

“We have maintained for the last four years. This has been on the minds of the council going forward. How do we hit a better sustainability model? … For a family we want to be the best fit financially and quality-wise,” Ullyot said.

Copper Sky has about 6,800 members with approximately 2,000 senior members.

Ullyot said some seniors are upset about the new fee structures.

“We’re getting some heat from folks who aren’t (members) or some folks who took advantage of day passes,” Ullyot said. “They are losing some of that flexibility. We’re trying to drive them towards membership. We didn’t explain some of the senior impact upfront. After we talked about it – it makes a lot of sense. If people can afford, they do. If they can’t then there is help.”

Ullyot said a lot of seniors want a space solely dedicated to them, but that is difficult because Copper Sky just doesn’t have the room. He said they are planning to increase services for seniors.

“I don’t think we’ve done enough for seniors in Copper Sky. We are working to identify a couple days a week where we can do some senior fellowship programs. Provide coffee and doughnuts and things like that. We are looking for feedback from seniors on things they want to do,” he said.

Another thing that will change at Copper Sky will be rental fees that are equivalent to a sports complex level, not a community park level.

“When it comes to turf and fields Copper Sky is maintained at a sports complex level. Which is going to mean more mowing, overseeing timelines and things like that. It is designed to attract outside tournaments to come into town,” Ullyot said.

Fields at Picana Park will remain at their current price point while Copper Sky fields will increase in rental costs to support “that level of care.”

Ullyot said in the past rental fees at Copper Sky didn’t always cover costs incurred by the city for the event to take place, such as wages for lifeguards.

“We actually lost money. We didn’t charge enough for the amount of lifeguards it takes and the space that was being given. It was very difficult with a private rental, so it wasn’t cost effective,” he said.

The city’s annual free fishing day is Jan. 12 with registration at 8 a.m. and fishing starting at 9 a.m. at Copper Sky Lake. Fishing licenses are not required for those registered in the event, but fishing is readily available at both town ponds throughout the year.

What kind of fish will you encounter at Copper Sky and Pacana Park?

Bass are the most sought-after fish among U.S. anglers, according to U.S. Fish & Wildlife, but they are getting harder to find in community waters. According to Arizona Game & Fish Department, largemouth bass in particular cost four times as much as trout and nearly six times as much as catfish to stock. AGFD tries to stock bass at least once a year, usually in spring.

Bluegill, like black bass, are members of the sunfish family. They are often stocked in spring. Popular as pan fish for humans, they are also sought by largemouth bass and catfish looking for a nice dinner, so they tend to hide around underwater forms.

Catfish are omnivorous bottom-feeders and one of the most instantly recognizable fish. Anglers also consider them a fun sport fish. They will be stocked in Maricopa again in late March, according to AGFD.

Trout are also a popular game fish across the country and the focus of Arizona hatcheries. They again will be stocked in Maricopa waters in January and February.

White Amur, named for the Amur River in Asia, are commonly called grass carp outside of the United States. The Amurs do well in standing bodies of water like ponds and lakes. They can be difficult to catch and can be fighters once they’re on the line.

The city’s fishing waters are typically open from sunrise to 11 p.m., and anglers can fish for free year-round. Anglers age 10 and over must have a license to fish.


This item appears in the January issue of InMaricopa.

A gang of St. Nicks participated in the annual  Santa Run at Copper Sky Dec. 22. Joshua Hoeh was the winner of the 5K race, but all had a good time of the event presented by the City of Maricopa.

The new disc golf course at Copper Sky is expected to be ready in time for a tournament planned for late January.

A new disc golf course is coming to the Copper Sky Recreation Complex.

It is expected to open by Jan. 26, in time to host the Maricopa Open, which starts that day. The course is complete except for four of the holes, according to Mike Riggs, deputy director of Community Services.

“The nets are in and most of the tee pads are poured,” Riggs said. “There is a need. It is a popular sport. We had a partnership with Ace Hardware to help cost-share on the project.”

The idea of a new 18-hole course began a year ago. With Maricopa Ace Hardware helping the city on the project, cost to Maricopa taxpayers is under $10,000. Mike Richey, owner of Maricopa Ace Hardware, told InMaricopa that he paid $5,000 to Eric McCabe, 2010 Pro Disc Golf world champion, for planning and design of the course, and the city purchased the hardware.

Riggs said this project is very inexpensive, “especially for the amount of response it’s getting.”

The new course is especially designed to host larger tournaments as its “Blue Course” is 7,190 feet long and circles the distance of the sprawling 98-acre park.

“It is a growing sport, so there are a tremendous amount of people in town who play disc golf all of the time,” Riggs said. “Another angle was to go to the tournament level to bring people in.”

The 18 holes are separated by varying distances to challenge beginners and expert level players. The course covers grassy and granite areas and has water obstacles.

“I believe they are trying to hold a tournament on Jan. 26 and 27. The balance of the tee boxes will be in before that time,” Riggs said.

“We are excited to offer this to the inventory of things we offer our community,” said Community Services Director Nathan Ullyot. “That’s what it comes down to. It is both a passive and a direct programming opportunity.”



This is a corrected version of a story that published Dec. 10. The designer of the course is Eric McCabe. We regret the error.

Photo by Dean Crandall

 

As Copper Sky looks for more revenue streams, a proposal to change rates and fees is before the public. Maricopa City Council approved the policy in November and is scheduled to vote on the fee changes Jan. 15.

Community Services Director Nathan Ullyot called them “significant changes.”

The shifts in the proposal are meant to herd members toward an annual membership, which will be less expensive, especially for couples. The proposal does not include monthly rates but increases the six-month membership fees for couples and families and increases for daily punch passes.

“We’re really looking to add value to your Copper Sky membership,” Ullyot said.

A point of contention has been the change for senior citizens. Under the current rates, single seniors and senior couples pay 40 percent less than the adult fees. But senior rates are excluded in the proposal. The new fee schedule puts them level with military veterans, which is a 10-percent discount.

City Councilmember Nancy Smith, expressing concern for retirees on limited incomes during the November meeting, encouraged seniors to offer feedback about the proposal. Joan Koczor of the Age-Friendly Maricopa Advisory Committee also reached out to constituents on her senior-activity newsletter urging seniors to get involved.

Copper Sky Resident Memberships

Monthly                              1 Adult                 2 Adults               Family
Current                                      $35                        $55                        $65
Proposed                                   N/A                       N/A                       N/A

Six months                        1 Adult                 2 Adults               Family
Current                                   $180                       $280                       $420
Proposed                                $210                       $336                        $420
($35/mo)              ($56/mo)               ($70/mo)

Yearly                                 1 Adult                 2 Adults               Family
Current                                  $338                       $540                       $676
Proposed                               $336                       $504                       $672
($28/mo)              ($42/mo)               ($56/mo)

However, unlike the current schedule, a department proposal would allow scholarships for membership fees. The scholarship is based on federal income guidelines. Those who provide proof of income at 100 percent the poverty level (one person $12,140) could get another 30-percent discount along with the standard senior discount of 10 percent. Those at 200 percent the poverty level can receive 15 percent off.

Proposed Discounts
Veterans/Seniors            10%
Youth/Students               50%
Group                                 1-10%
Corporate                          1-50%

According to city numbers, more than 1,400 of the 1,800 senior memberships are paid for through programs like Silver Sneakers, Optum and Silver and Fit. Some insurance companies are changing their funding of those programs or even switching programs.

Ullyot will discuss some of the proposed solutions for senior memberships with the Age-Friendly Committee at its Dec. 17 meeting.

The proposed fee schedule was post Oct. 31, and residents are asked to respond within 60 days of that date.

Punch Passes and Daily Rates

20 punches                        Adult     Youth   Senior
Current                                   $50        $38        $40
Proposed                                $150      $75        $120

Day Pass                              Adult     Youth   Senior
Current                                    $5           $3           $4
Proposed                                 $10         $5           $8



This story appears in the December issue of InMaricopa.

Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

In a drizzle that turned into a lengthy downpour, Maricopa Mud Run got in two rounds, including the competitive race that saw Steve Campbell winning for the second straight year and Shell Abbott leading the women’s division.

Competitors who signed up for later rounds have the option of returning to the course Nov. 3, race organizer Matthew Reiter said.

While the obstacles at Copper Sky were built to be challenging, the weather conditions made the mud around the obstacles dangerously slick.

The first round with the top competitors had the best weather of the day, allowing Campbell to repeat last year’s feat. H said he runs the race to be part of the community. A teacher at Leading Edge Academy, Campbell moved to last year just before the Mud Run.

“It’s just meeting people and getting to know them,” he said. “These kids have come in second, and we’ve become good friends.”


This story has been updated to reflect a new date for the remainder of the Mud Run.


 

 

 

 

 

 

About 18 acres of land is waiting to be commercially developed at Copper Sky.

Maricopa could have a hotel in place by 2020 if a newly signed agreement with Commercial Properties Inc. (CPI) goes according to plan.

Cecil Yates, property management director for CPI, told the Maricopa City Council he already had three hotel users interested. CPI was selected in May to develop 18.3 acres at Copper Sky for mixed-use commercial, including a hotel.

A master planning and marketing agreement approved by council Tuesday is in place for three years, with three one-year extension options. It gives CPI 30 days to present a master plan for what is currently called Copper Sky Commercial Property.

Besides a hotel, planned uses of the property include retail, offices and restaurants.

Economic Development Director Denyse Airheart said the project has the “potential to be a destination.”

The agreement’s goal is to have a hotel of up to 100 units in place July 1, 2020. Yates said the timing possibilities are a year to 18 months from the time building designs are approved.

“They want to stick shovels in the ground as soon as possible,” Yates said.

Once CPI has a hotel commitment, it must notify the City whether it intends to purchase or lease the property for the hotel.

Jalen Lee (PCSO photo)

Detectives investigating an assault on a minor at Copper Sky nabbed the accused offender with a long rap sheet last week.

Maricopa Police arrested 21-year-old Jalen Lee Aug. 2 on suspicion of aggravated assault against a minor under 15 years of age. He’s also suspected of armed robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and other charges in 2016.

Lee’s most recent arrest came nearly one month after the alleged assault took place at Copper Sky Park July 5.

At that time, officers responded to reports of a fight at Copper Sky where a minor told them he was approached by two men he didn’t know, according to a Maricopa Police Department report.

One man reportedly asked the victim how old he was. When the minor told him, the other male, later identified as Lee, allegedly said, “I don’t give a f—” and struck the victim in the face.

“(The victim) stated he fell to the ground and was hit by the same unknown person multiple times,” the report alleges.

The two men then fled the scene, but not before several people witnessed the altercation, according to the report.

An older friend who was with the victim at the time of the alleged assault but had run away at the sight of the two men approaching spoke with MPD later that night. The friend told police he has a “beef” with Lee and identified Lee as the person who hit the victim, according to the report.

Detectives identified Lee as their primary suspect and generated a photo lineup using Lee’s Arizona driver’s license.

At the victim’s residence on Aug. 1, his mother told detectives she had learned new information in the weeks that had passed since the assault that would help in identifying the suspect. She said her son’s friend, who spoke with police in July, sent her a picture of Lee from Snapchat and identified him as the person who hit the victim, the report stated.

“(The victim’s friend) confessed to (the mother) that he had a ‘beef’ with (Lee), not (the victim),” according to the report.

The mother posted the Snapchat photo reportedly of Lee to Facebook and asked the public’s assistance in identifying him.

The report alleges several people came forward with Lee’s name, identifying him as the man in the photo.

The victim also identified the man in the photo as the person who assaulted him. Police said Lee’s driver’s license photo matched the man in the Snapchat image.

Police arrested and interviewed Lee the following day. Lee reportedly denied involvement in the assault and “claims officers have the wrong person,” according to the report. Lee is being held in the Pinal County Jail on a $50,000 bond on a slew of charges, most of them unrelated to the Copper Sky assault.

Lee is suspected of aggravated robbery (class 3 felony); armed robbery (class 2 felony); aggravated assault against a minor under 15 years of age (class 2 felony); aggravated assault using a deadly weapon or instrument (class 3 felony); and DUI.

by -
Photo by Michelle Chance

Nearly 70 Maricopa children participated in the World’s Largest Swim Lesson at Copper Sky Thursday. The annual global event promotes water safety awareness every year and continued in pools across the world June 21.