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On Thursday, Feb. 7, for the better part of the day, City Council WIG-ged out at City Hall. But in this case it’s a good thing, because WIG stands for Wildly Imaginative Goals.

The event was the 2019 City Council Strategic Planning Retreat, which is a bit of a misnomer in my opinion. How so?

City Council — all seven members were there, along with department directors and some staff, the city manager, city attorney, a reporter, and me.

Strategic — extremely, considering this was City Manager Horst’s first one since joining the Maricopa team in June 2018.

Planning — what I observed was more like “we’ve talked about plans for some time, let’s continue, but let’s also focus on and prioritize action steps to get things done.”

Retreat — anything but. The day was all about the 2040 Vision components and elements using strategic advancement.

The council chambers buzzed with excitement, innovation, creative thinking, engaging dialogue, solutions, visionaries and possibilities. Kudos to City Council on the discussions and outcomes. Your individual and collective input will help move — no, propel — our city forward.

Council heard and talked about lots of innovative recommendations, and gave honest feedback based on history and lessons learned, but also approached each idea or challenge with strategic vision of what Maricopa can and will become. The mayor and council provided direction to the city manager and staff that will mean bringing back options and specific action plans to implement or execute. Change will happen, but it will be change that strengthens Maricopa.

I have attended strategic planning sessions for over 10 years. Many as a resident and six as a member of council. There have been lots of good ideas, great dialogue and positive input over the years, but this one was by far the most productive and effective. Well done staff, well done Rick Horst, well done city council!

Highlights included:

  • Addressing and fixing flood plain issues which challenge our development potential
  • Growing Maricopa’s economy
  • Continuing to look at who or what are not here (yet) and leveraging partnerships and resources to get what we need and want now
  • Taking care of seniors and veterans by providing dedicated space for them
  • Enhancing programs and activities that showcase Copper Sky, including the impact that our first hotel and other retail, residential and commercial projects will bring
  • Developing a business park with expansion capabilities, offering the next step in bringing jobs and business opportunities to Maricopa
  • Long-range planning that will transform various areas throughout Maricopa into parks, recreation space, improved housing / residential areas, business centers, retail developments, etc.
  • Smart growth with a plan, which includes revising some current policies, processes and Codes while keeping us responsive and competitive, yet distinctive
  • Focusing on the present, embracing and learning from the past, and creating a future that is sustainable, affordable and the result of collaboration and cooperation
  • Strengthening partnerships, promoting collaboration, and maximizing the synergy of SMEs (subject matter experts) that work together to accomplish anything and everything

Continuing to focus on quality of life but also quality of place – making Maricopa a preferred and sought-out destination to live, work, play and learn.

This only begins to mention things shared at the 2019 Strategic Planning Retreat. Look for further developments as they evolve. There are lots more things to come, and it will surely be great to see, but even better to be part of. City council, thank you, and let’s get busy!

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