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State of the City

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


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.


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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.


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.



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.