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New monument to welcome those entering Maricopa from north
 Grace Harrah  / 

MARICOPA — Incorporated in 2003, Maricopa is set to finally have a gateway monument signifying the entrance to the city for visitors and residents traveling from the north.

According to a press release sent out on Wednesday by the city, the monument will be at the entrance of the city on State Route 347. Currently, drivers coming from the Valley trek through desert before suddenly entering the city without much fanfare.

The design was a team effort between city staff, exploring different concepts in representing the city.

The overall goal of the project is to beautify the landscaping of SR 347 and John Wayne Parkway. The Arizona Department of Transportation and the city are working together in regards to the installation of various landscaping improvements through the corridor.

According to Nathan Steele, assistant to the city manager, the idea took off from a mock city council meeting held with the youth of Maricopa. During the meeting, it was said that a monument symbolizing the city is needed.

“I think it’s a part of a sense of pride to say that I’ve made it home,” Steele said. “It’s critical for our community to grow.”

The gateway monument will include a center median on SR 347, a sign on the west side of the highway and a stone structure on the east side of the highway. The city also plans to install new natural landscaping on the shoulders and median to complement the monument.

AV3 Design Studio has been contracted to do the designing and is currently creating the construction documents.

“Since our beginnings in 2003, Maricopa has desired to have an entry feature, a monument that announces to residents and visitors alike that they have arrived in Maricopa,” said City Manager Ricky Horst. “This long-awaited monument is now close to being a reality.”

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New fitness class at Copa Craze gets people into kickboxing
 Grace Harrah  / 

MARICOPA -- Copa Craze has been in business in Maricopa since 2012, providing healthy options for those craving protein packed smoothies or various flavored teas.

In order to help bring people in and get a more complete experience, the shop also incorporates fitness classes such as yoga, hiking club and Zumba. The newest addition, cardio kickboxing, started on Saturday.

The one-hour classes will be available at 9 a.m. every Saturday at Copa Craze, focusing on the movements of cardio kickboxing.

“One of the things that we love doing at Copa Craze is we have a belief of being 80 percent nutrition and 20 percent fitness,” said owner Danyle Nguyen. “A lot of people are more attracted to the fitness side of it. So we provide a relationship between instructors and the general public.”

The first class is free and $5 after that. The money goes directly to the instructor, which does not give profit to the business. Nguyen said that through incorporating classes, Copa Craze is ultimately giving people more options for a healthy lifestyle.

The business tries to focus on the idea that healthy lifestyle comes with a 100% change in mindset.

“We’re trying to hit all three stages of the nutrition, physical and mindset all together,” Nguyen said.

Nguyen, originally from Oregon, noticed that kickboxing was an activity that was missing in the city of Maricopa.

“We have more of an array of different types of workouts of all different types in Oregon. When I moved here, they were more selective, not just with food choices but also on the fitness side of it,” Nguyen said.

The fitness instructor, Dezra Mendez, received her Interactive Fitness Trainers of America kickboxing certification at the end of April. She has a background in dancing, and this is her first time teaching her own cardio kickboxing classes.

Mendez believes that group classes better motivate students because it is a collaborative effort.

“I am super excited about it because it’s going to be something new. Maricopa loves new,” Nguyen said.

“It’s another sport for the residents to get involved in. It gives a chance to really launch the healthy lifestyle that the community is trying so hard to build.”

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Rezoning plans approved as Maricopa moves forward for business development
 Grace Harrah  / 

MARICOPA — The City Council approved a motion to rezone two parcels in hopes of helping to reach a goal of developing businesses and the City Center.

Rezoning was approved for the 20 acres at the southeast corner or Bowling Road and John Wayne Parkway adjacent to Copper Sky Recreation Complex as well as 4.75 acres in City Center south of City Hall.

A general plan amendment presented Tuesday night proposed changing commercial and employment land use to mixed use near Copper Sky.

“The general plan amendment will not negatively impact the health, safety and general welfare of the area and will promote growth in an orderly manner,” said Adam Shipley, a planning and zoning analyst for the city.

The council approved the 20.2-acre rezoning for the area.

A concerned resident spoke to the council about her desire for the area to be park space. However, it was pointed out that the space was never intended to be park space.

“We’re not taking any public lands out of park settings with these changes,” said City Manager Rick Horst.

The rezoning of the 4.75 acres in City Center was also approved during the meeting. Plans for the space include the new library as the first step as well as development of a town center concept that includes local shops, restaurants, pedestrian walkways, civic space and diverse housing.

Previously the parcel was owned by the Neeley family and used as farmland.

According to the presentation, the rezoning will help in reaching the goal to develop City Center, an area that could support work-live-play-learn environments.

“It’s nice to see the city growing in a smart and manageable fashion. It’s going to be nice to be able to have a library and be able to retool the current library for use by organizations that need space as well,” said Vice Mayor Henry Wade. “So it’s ending doubts about whether or not Maricopa was progressing in a positive way. We’re definitely moving forward in a very nice way.”