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Maricopa City Hall

Photo by Kyle Norby

Be Awesome Youth Coalition’s inaugural Maricopa Teen Hall, presented by InMaricopa, drew teenagers and the parents for discussions about life choices and life skills.

The Saturday event at Maricopa City Hall had question-and-answer sessions with panels comprised of business owners and vocation leaders, law enforcement and health providers. Teens practiced interviewing for jobs, learned about conflict resolution and shot some hoops.

One of those helping the session on the job-interview process was Alexander Salgado, the vice president of finance for the Maricopa High School DECA Club.

“I was able to get a job just from DECA alone and learning from skills, and I want to help out other people by showing them the right way to interview and the steps to take to improve yourself,” he said.

Panelists included Sheriff Mark Lamb, Police Chief Steve Stahl, County Attorney Kent Volkmer, psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Kelsey Brisbin, La Frontera substance abuse therapist Alyssa Tonking, Ray Nieves of 911 Air, Terry Leamon and Toma Fitzgerald of My Maricopa Plumber, Chamerie O’Donnell of Test Track Builders of America, culinary teacher Hannah Norby of Maricopa High School and Jamie Brisbin of State Farm Insurance.

Teens and their parents asked pointed questions about serious concerns they face every day.

“I would say the major issues would be a lot of them don’t have the support that they need to get to where they want to go in life,” said Lisbeth Eriksen, an MHS student in the DECA program. “Like financial issues in order to get into college, and things like being surrounded by negative influences and negative energies that are just going to bring them down in life.”

Deputy Randall Snyder spoke about Internet safety, Linette Caroselli spoke about human trafficking, Julie Mack spoke about suicide prevention, Mary Witkofski spoke about the difference between consent and coercion and DECA advisor Julian Rodriguez spoke about becoming indispensable in your new job.

“I felt it went really well,” said Be Awesome coordinator Priscilla Behnke. “I am overwhelmed with the amount of support we saw from our partners, community leaders, and then the parents and teens who turned out that day. I really hope that people who attended had a meaningful experience and took with them information that will help them in their daily lives. It was really meaningful to see parents and teens talking with presenters and exhibitors.”

“I find these kinds of things interesting, so I decided to come out and volunteer,” Eriksen said.

The event was a partnership of InMaricopa, Councilmember Nancy Smith and Be Awesome.

Sponsors were Fitzgibbons Law Offices, Pinal County Supervisor Anthony Smith, McDonald’s, Pinal 40, Walmart, Vice Mayor Henry Wade, Councilmember Vincent Manfredi, SAMHSA, Water and Ice, Duncan Family Farms, Chris Cahall American Family Insurance, Great Western Bank and Mayor Christian Price.

Stone sheets installed as the facade for City Hall nearly three years ago have been sliding off. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

A problem at Maricopa City Hall has become more and more noticeable in the past few weeks.

The rock face of the building, one of its most distinguishing physical features, has been peeling off in pieces because it was improperly installed. A blood-red surface has been showing through the exterior where the rock has fallen.

Staff members have recounted having to watch their step around the walls. Now a repair project is underway.

“The repairs will be covered under the building warranty so there will be no additional cost to the city,” Assistant to the City Manager Jennifer Brown said.

The project is expected to take 10-12 weeks. A temporary, protected walkway will be up to allow access to the building.

“During this project business at City Hall will be conducted as usual,” said Public Works Director Bill Fay. “We have scheduled the noisy portions of the work during non business hours to ensure the public can have full access to City services.”

The building in the plaza on White and Park Road has been in use since September 2013. Oakland Construction was the primary contractor for the $15 million building.

Workers have removed the words "City Hall" in anticipation of repairing the facade. Submitted photo
Workers have removed the words “City Hall” in anticipation of repairing the facade. Submitted photo

The stone sheets used for its unique exterior were installed without consideration for expansion and retraction. As a result, they became destabilized over time and temperature changes.

The new project will include quarter-inch expansion joints between the stone sheets on the 45,000-square-foot building.

Two weeks ago, the building appeared to be "dripping" red where the stone sheets slipped from the facade. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson
Two weeks ago, the building appeared to be “dripping” red where the stone sheets slipped from the facade. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

The Expo is aimed at senior residents, caretakers and family members of the elderly.

Maricopa City Hall will host the city’s first Senior Information Expo and Health Fair on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Expo is designed to offer seniors, caretakers and family members of elderly residents a chance to see a wide variety of resources and information. Participants will be able to visit information booths, attend workshops and presentations, and discover what services the city offers to assist senior members of the community.

“Events like this one are important because they put resources and options directly into the hands of those who need or want the information,” Maricopa City Councilmember Peggy Chapados said. “It’s a ‘one-stop shop’ featuring organizations, materials and information related to topics that senior residents have expressed as important.

Topics will include health and wellness, personal and spousal health care, information on Alzheimer’s disease, Medicare benefits, public safety, legal concerns, identity theft and fraud prevention, local Emergency Medical Services (EMS), what happens when you dial 9-1-1, what to do if you need to be transported by ambulance, how to keep yourself and your home safe and social and recreational activities around the city.

“The event is important because the city has an objective to be an ‘age-friendly’ city,” Age-Friendly Maricopa Coordinator Arnold Jackson said. “By that, I mean we’d like to connect the city’s residents who are 60-plus years of age to other generations and services.”

City officials and Maricopa’s Age-Friendly Committee have partnered with organizations such as the Arizona Department of Health Services, Pinal-Gila Council for Senior Citizens, Banner Health, Cenpatico, Alzheimer’s Association, Pinal County Health, Jackson-White Attorneys and Maricopa Seniors, Inc. to provide community members with as much information as possible.

The Arizona Department of Health Services will provide a keynote presentation on healthy aging and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, while many other organizations will host workshops and presentations to answer any questions community members may have.

If You Go
What: SeniorExpo
When: Jan. 16, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Where: Maricopa City Hall, 39700 W. Civic Center Plaza

“It’s unique in that it’s the first of its kind in the city, and the initial response has been overwhelmingly positive,” Chapados said. “We had over 200 people pre-register and had to close registration due to size limitations. It’s a great problem to have because it affirms the need as well as providing a local place where people can come to get great information.”

The Expo came to be after Maricopa’s Age Friendly Committee received feedback regarding a lack of services. By hosting the various services and products in one area, the committee hopes to demonstrate what is available to community members and answer any questions they may have.

“It’s really all the pooling of different services together into one location that makes it unique,” Jackson said. “The fact that we’re one of nine ‘age friendly’ communities in the state and the only one in Pinal County is also exciting.”

Participants will be able to attend any workshop or presentation they’d like during the four-hour event. City Hall doors will open at 9 a.m., and booths and workshops will be set up throughout the building.

Photo by Adam Wolfe

Maricopa artists had art hung in a hallway on the ground floor at City Hall on Monday, and the public had a good opportunity to view it during the annual Tree Lighting Celebration Tuesday night before the city council meeting. Mayor Christian Price officially lighted the blue-and-silver-themed tree, Maricopa Chorus performed Christmas carols, Santa visited with children and Helen Ford of Helen’s Kitchen served up cookies.

The staid halls of Maricopa City Hall will be enlivened by local art. Photo by Adam Wolfe

Maricopa City Hall will gain some color after the city council’s decision Tuesday.

The council unanimously approved hanging art from local artists in City Hall.

The initial program will display pieces from 11 local artists. Each piece goes through a vetting process before it is displayed, and officials plan to rotate through various exhibits from local artists every two or three months.

“I, for one, would like to see that we get our foot in the door here,” Maricopa Mayor Christian Price said. “As you change this, [I want to] see that we have six months to a year to watch you change this over every two months or each quarter and see how it evolves. I’m excited to witness that.”

Local artists have been putting a program together for months in conjunction with the Maricopa Center for Entrepreneurship, which holds monthly art exhibits. The approval is seen as a victory for local artists and cultural growth as a whole.

“Eight of the 11 artists in this portfolio were not born in Arizona or Maricopa; they chose to live in Maricopa and Arizona,” said Judith Zaimont, one of the coordinators for the Maricopa Arts Council. “We are looking forward to making our contribution (to the city) on a daily basis.”

The council also awarded $625 to the Maricopa Historical Society for their participation in the “Copa History Hunt.” Brent Murphree accepted the check on the organization’s behalf, and the council took a few moments to thank and honor the former vice mayor.

“I say that Maricopa would not be Maricopa without your contributions to this community,” City Councilmember Henry Wade said. “We certainly appreciate and applaud all of your efforts and everything that you’ve done to make Maricopa [what it is]. Thank you so much.”

The council also unanimously approved the purchase of 38 sets of protective equipment for fire fighters from L.N. Curtis and Sons, and a resolution to find the existence of a “slum or blighted area in the city of Maricopa, and declaring the necessity for redevelopment of such area.”

The Maricopa City Council will meet again on Nov. 3 at 7 p.m.

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Rarely in the spotlight, Paul Jepson quietly keeps the city of Maricopa running as smoothly as possible by building relationships. Photo by Adam Wolfe

Paul Jepson is Maricopa’s intergovernmental affairs director, but it is just one of many titles he has held over the decade he has been working for the city.

Jepson came to Maricopa on 2005, after working as a teacher and administrator at Mesa Public Schools. Jepson, who received a master’s degree in public administration from Arizona State University, was brought in to help the city with issues in education, but his expertise in technology allowed him to handle multiple jobs simultaneously.

Paul Jepson (center) directs state Rep. Vince Leach and County Attorney Lando Voyles before the Maricopa State of the City Address, as Jennifer Brown, assistant to the city manager, looks on. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson
Paul Jepson (center) directs state Rep. Vince Leach and County Attorney Lando Voyles before the Maricopa State of the City Address, as Jennifer Brown, assistant to the city manager, looks on. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

“I applied for a management assistant job through the college, and I was hired as employee No. 13,” Jepson says. “Initially, it was ‘Hey, we’re brand new and working out of trailers. You have a master’s degree and are a teacher so you know about education.’ I also happen to be [knowledgeable] in educational technology, so I was able to help with the webpage as well. That’s probably why I was hired. I was able to fill three hats, and I was willing to do it.”

On a daily basis, Jepson works alongside City Manager Gregory Rose and oversees special projects and the city’s relationships with other governmental agencies, public utilities and educational institutions. He serves as the city liaison with local, state, tribal and federal government entities and works closely with Maricopa’s City Council.

He also serves as a lobbyist for the city, especially in funding and obtaining grants.

“I see Paul as a mini Secretary of State,” Rose says. “He works to ensure that we keep open lines of communication and are aware of issues of concern at all levels of jurisdiction. He has a wealth of knowledge about Arizona and institutional information about what has gone on in Maricopa, and he has done a wonderful job for us.”

Over the last decade, Jepson has played an integral part in planning and securing funding for the State Route 347 grade separation. Though he diminishes his own role saying he was just a coordinator, he still sees the project as his most proud piece of work.

“In 2007 Janet Napolitano said Maricopa needs a grade separation,” Jepson says. “We have fought tooth and nail since to make that project happen. We aren’t quite there yet, but what we have been able to pull off in a down economy by getting the attention of the feds and the state has been amazing.”

Jepson may not believe he played a large role in the project, but his colleagues disagree. Rose was quick to offer praise for the role Jepson played in the process, and says the project would not be where it is without him.

“He has been very involved with the (overpass) project and has been working with the [Maricopa Mayor Christian Price] and former Mayor Kelly (Anderson) and with [the Arizona Department of Transportation] to make sure we can get funding for that project,” Rose says. “I think through making sure we were aware of the people we needed to talk with and presentations that needed to be made, that is just one example of a project that he has been involved with that he has demonstrated how capable he is.”

When you watch Jepson at a City Council meeting or at an event, it becomes clear how hard he works. He is constantly moving, providing documents to officials and ensuring mutually beneficial parties come into contact. However, he still manages to control the chaos with a smile on his face.

“For what Paul does, he is very overlooked,” Mayor Price says. “He helps us negotiate the mine field that is intergovernmental relations. He does amazing work that no one ever knows about. He does a lot of political smoothing over to make sure our lives are easier.”

Jepson has taken the time to get to know each member of the ever-changing City Council over the last 10 years. He then finds a way to work with each one to ensure the city runs smoothly and its residents are happy.

“I have always worked very closely with the council to make sure they have what they need,” Jepson says. “You always have different personalities, so you get to learn the style and needs of each council member. You find out what they like and what their priorities are. Doing the government relations means that we utilize, at times, the council’s relationships, so I facilitate that.”

Jepson’s dedication to the city of Maricopa is unquestioned. For the last 10 years, Jepson has commuted from North Phoenix to Maricopa each day. He doesn’t do it because he can’t find work elsewhere; he does it because he simply loves the city and the people he works with.

“I have never been afraid to drive to get to what I want to do,” Jepson says. “I have family, I have five grandkids, and I have my mom. So I didn’t want to relocate. I made the decision that I would drive down here, and they could stay put.”

Co-workers say this is just the kind of man Paul Jepson is. He doesn’t seek personal glory or recognition. He simply comes to work, does his job and ensures the city develops the relationships it needs to be successful.

“Paul knows everybody,” Assistant City Manager Jennifer Brown says. “Everywhere I’ve gone he knows every person. It’s a great thing, and they all like him. People always run over to him to say hi or to chit-chat.”

Jepson’s approach is all about the relationships he built personally and for the city. He loves his work, but he knows it wouldn’t be as enjoyable without the people he works with. He enjoys the challenge of working with other cities, and he says he even enjoys working with the federal government. He hopes, when the time comes, he will leave the city of Maricopa better than when he arrived 10 years ago.

“It’s always good to look back on what you’ve done in your life and say, ‘I made something different,’” Jepson says. “I want to look back and see that the city has done better since I came.”

This story appeared in the Fall Edition of InMaricopa the Magazine.

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.

Maricopa's General Plan must mesh with the city's new 2040 Vision planning.

The city of Maricopa will be holding a General Plan Open House over the next two nights for the public to come and address any questions or concerns they have for the city’s future.

The goal of updating the city’s General Plan is to allow it to put the city on the right path to reach its 2040 Vision. In order to get there, the General Plan must be adjusted to fit the vision of the city’s needs.

“The 2040 Vision is the foundation for the review of the plan,” General Plan Project Manager Dana Burkhardt said. “The General Plan needs to be assessed, reviewed and updated. We want to have an informal meeting where members of the public can come discuss their ideas and provide feedback.”

The meetings will feature prompts for members of the public to discuss. Subjects ranging from open space and public use trails to redevelopment and flood control policies are expected to be topics of heavy discussion.

“We’d like to have more tangible goals and objectives,” Burkhardt said. “We’re trying to develop a 10- to 15-year outlook. This doesn’t just lay the ground work for us and our children, but looking ahead to the 2040 Vision, this will benefit our children’s children.”

Surveys, assessments and reviews with each of the city’s boards and committees will be combined with the results from the meetings over the next two nights to come up with an initial draft of the General Plan. Once a draft is made, another meeting will be held for the public to weigh in.

“[The City Council] will all be asked to vote for approval on this plan next year,” City Council member Nancy Smith said in a statement. Now is our opportunity as residents and as voters to provide input in how land is used in the current city limits and the General Plan area not yet within the city limits.”

The meetings will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday night and 5 to 6 p.m. Wednesday night in the City Council chambers inside City Hall at 39700 West Civic Center Plaza in Maricopa.

If any residents are unable to attend but would still like to be part of the discussion, they are asked to contact Burkhardt via email at dana.burkhardt@maricopa-az.gov or the call the Development Services office at 520-316-6886. For additional information on the General Plan, visit Maricopa-AZ.gov/Web/General-Plan.