Photo credits: 1 David Durst; 2 Raquel Hendrickson; 3 Michelle Chance; 4 Vincent Manfredi; 5 submitted; 6 Jonathan Williams; 7 Raquel Hendrickson; 8 file; 9 file; 10 file.

Most-read stories related to business and economic development:

  1. Props 416/417 approved by county voters

Voters approved a countywide transportation project scheduled to begin next year. Unofficial results from November’s election showed Prop 416, Pinal County’s Regional Transportation Authority, passed with 57 percent approval. Prop 417, the half-cent sales tax that would support the transportation projects, also passed, albeit by a slim margin of less than 1 percent. Phase 1 of the RTA includes the widening of State Route 347 from four lanes to six lanes up to the county line as well as an east-west corridor.

  1. APEX and City Hall win in court, so far

Controversial legal battles brought forth by a political action committee and a Maricopa resident this summer challenged a conditional use permit approved by the city for the elite racetrack APEX Motor Club. The petitions aimed to stop construction of the track proposed on a parcel at the northwest corner of State Route 238 and Ralston Road. Courts threw out the resident’s suit for “lack of standing” and denied the PAC’s appeal in September.

  1. Maricopa job fair brings 45 employers to applicants

Hundreds of applicants arrived dressed for interviews this summer during a job fair hosted by Arizona@Work Pinal County. The event was held at the Maricopa Unified School District Administration Building and featured 45 employers.

  1. Firestone replacing Fletcher’s after acquisition

Fletcher’s Tire & Auto Service in Maricopa was one of 31 stores in Phoenix and Southern Arizona that became Firestone Complete Auto Care earlier this year. The local store moved into Maricopa Fiesta plaza in 2005 and began converting to Fletcher’s in April.

  1. Plans for Maricopa hospital on ice

Although Dignity Health announced it would build a hospital here in 2012, Maricopa is still without one five years later. The company bought nearly 19 acres on the northeast corner of John Wayne Parkway and Smith-Enke roads with the intention of building a 34,800-square-foot emergency facility and hospital by 2016. The land has sat untouched since.

  1. Developer pitches apartments to council

Affordable, multifamily housing could solve Maricopa’s rental gap, according to apartment developer Englewood Group, which intends to develop apartments in the city. Construction of the proposed complex is still years out, however, as re-zoning could take until the summer of 2019. The city conducted a housing-needs assessment earlier this year, revealing a need for diverse housing options.

  1. Breakfast diner under construction, seeks employees

An opening date for the 4,041-square-foot Denny’s diner is still unknown, but as workers continue to construct the building, the company has advertised opportunities for job applicants. The restaurant is located near the southeast corner of John Wayne Parkway and Smith-Enke Road. Construction began in September.

  1. Peñascos closes after 11 years

The quiet closure of a family-owned restaurant in Maricopa sparked surprise reactions among residents in September. The building’s landlord said the “tenants abandoned” the building, but Penascos owner Rosalinda O’Hare disputed that. O’Hare said a variety of factors contributed to her decision to close the doors to her business, which opened more than a decade earlier.

  1. First gas station not on John Wayne Parkway approved for development

What will be the third Circle K in Maricopa received recommendation for a development review permit from the Planning & Zoning Commission in September. The 5,881-square-foot convenience store and gas station is planned on 1.8 acres at the southeast corner of Honeycutt and Porter roads.

  1. Residents await Edison Pointe

The 130,000-square-foot retail development broke ground at the end of July along State Route 347 and Edison Road, shortly before losing one of its larger prospects, Petco. It’s estimated Edison Pointe will create at least 100 jobs for Maricopans with confirmed businesses Ross, Goodwill, WingStop, Planet Fitness, Brakes Plus, Burger King, Dunkin Donuts and a nail salon. Stores are scheduled to open in early 2018.

This story appears in the January issue of InMaricopa.

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  1. Does it occur to anyone else just how pathetic these 10 “top economic development” stories are?? When are we going to get professionals involved in moving our city forward with REAL economic development expertise? Amateur hour must end.