Development Services Department Transforming to Promote Economic Development

by Adam Wolfe, Public Information Officer, Department of Administrative Services, City of Maricopa

The City of Maricopa Development Services Department has been transformed into Economic and Community Development, further increasing the City’s effort to support economic development throughout the community.

“Our message to developers is, ‘not only are we open for business, but there is no better community in Arizona for business,’” City Manager Rick Horst said.

As part of this reorganization, the City will launch several new initiatives, with the goal of improving the permitting experience for customers. One of these initiatives will be a project liaison program, in which a single staff manager will be assigned to all development projects.

This person will coordinate staff processes, eliminating the need for applicants to go to multiple departments and speak with multiple staff regarding various aspects of their project. This program, among others, will streamline the process and ensure that all aspects of community development are addressed during the planning process – from building safety to the economic impact on the community.

“Every project, every new road constructed, every new building built, every new housing community; every project presents economic realities and economic opportunities,” Horst said. “We have to engage earlier in the community development (project) process to leverage these opportunities to create community wealth. This change will put a renewed focus on economic development via the community development process, in lieu of a stand-alone effort.”

The added emphasis on economic development will build on a successful 2019 that saw the City of Maricopa break ground on its first hotel within city limits, open the overpass on State Route 347 and approve 943 housing permits.

Former Assistant to the City Manager Nathan Steele has stepped in as the director of economic and community development. He has previously served in several communities in three different states, most recently as the planning manager for the Town of Yountville, California.

Jennifer Bostian, previously an economic development specialist for the City, has become the economic development manager, tasked with emphasizing community input and product development via the community development process.

“Our future includes continued growth and increased opportunity,” Horst said. “Opportunity is not always realized unless we are prepared, from the foundation up, to seize that opportunity and make it a reality.”