City of Maricopa lays the foundation for a smart future
By all accounts, the City of Maricopa is just a teenager, celebrating 15 years as an incorporated city in 2018. But its roots date back to the late 1800s, when the area was called Maricopa Wells and was one of the most important relay stations along the San Antonio-San Diego Mail Line and the later, more famous, Butterfield Overland Mail Route. It was one of the best-known spots in Arizona during this period of time because it had a reliable source of water and offered an abundant supply of food. The farmers who lived and farmed nearby sold supplies to travelers and migrants.
Although little remains of the once bustling Maricopa Wells, it played an important part in setting the foundation for progress and development of the Southwest.
Right now, Maricopa boasts an amazing quality of life with an energetic business community and a very proud and very engaged citizenry. Together we are building on our community’s strong foundation and proud heritage that is enabling us to move toward a future of our own design for the City.
What does that future look like? Maricopa, like many cities across the country, is in an era of unprecedented opportunity. We are seeing home prices stabilizing and in some areas, increasing. Large national retailers are finding a welcoming community as they open new locations here in Maricopa. And we’re continuing to develop our cultural offerings, strengthening our K-12 education and creating partnerships with community colleges. We are seeing enhanced support for businesses and entrepreneurs to live and work right here in Maricopa.
Over several months in late 2014, nearly 150 community members representing all facets of the City, participated in several Community Forums with the ultimate goal of envisioning what the future looks like for Maricopa. Working collectively and in teams, these community members defined the elements of what would become the City’s comprehensive strategic plan, entitled 2040 Vision.
The 2040 Vision document will guide City leaders over the next two decades as we grow our City. Key priorities of that vision plan are:
• Well-Planned Quality Growth and Development
• Economic Development
• Community Resources and Quality of Life Amenities
• Safe and Livable Community
• Community Pride, Spirit, and Relationships
• Fiscal Policies and Management
Top among our City’s goals is to earn the designation of “Smart City.” Cities throughout the world are experiencing the benefits of applying Smart City concepts and initiatives. So what is a Smart City? A Smart City brings together technology with government, including economic development and planning, to create a city that is not only attractive for residents and visitors, but to businesses looking for a great place to locate, offering a better place to work for its employees.
As the City begins implementing these strategic priorities and carving out its path to a Smart City designation, we have to answer some critical questions, including “What really is most important?” and “Where should our City’s precious resources be invested in order to accomplish our vision?”
The application of the Smart City concept is specific to every city. To those of us that are committed to it, we must study the concept, identify the possibilities it offers for Maricopa, and continue to work our plan for integrating it into the community’s engagement of our citizens and our culture, structure, and performance.
The City’s dedicated elected officials, manager and economic development and planning staffs are firmly committed to this careful planning, prudent decision-making, and community teamwork and disciplined actions.
We know Maricopa’s residents are proud of our City’s rich heritage. We know our residents expect a high quality of life and a prosperous future. And we know they want our City to be a Smart City, that is a great place to live, work and play.
Christian Price is the mayor of the City of Maricopa.