Located in the Phoenix area, Maricopa was one of the most rapidly growing communities in the country, increasing from 1,500 residents in 2000 to more than 43,000 by 2010. This dramatic growth reflected an unusually hot—and ultimately unsustainable—housing market. As a result, growth tapered off after the housing bubble burst in 2007. As a premier bedroom community, the city featured stable and attractive neighborhoods and a highly educated workforce. However, the amenities typically associated with more established communities lagged and Maricopa boasted few major employers. These factors contributed to significant economic development challenges.
The City of Maricopa and the Maricopa Economic Development Alliance responded by contracting TIP Strategies to create an economic development strategic plan. To craft the plan, TIP drew on discussions with regional experts, extensive stakeholder input, and its experience preparing economic development strategies across the country. From this, several key action steps emerged: developing a small office product to host existing start-ups struggling to find space in the local area; establishing an advanced professional entrepreneurship program; commencing a sustained regional awareness campaign; supporting the growth of the Central Arizona College campus; targeting ancillary healthcare practices in conjunction with the establishment of the Banner Health Center; and leveraging the construction of a new city hall as means for creating a new, mixed-use city center. These recommendations centered on the fact that a holistic approach would be needed to transition Maricopa from a bedroom community to a competitive location for job attraction and retention. The resulting plan provided the City actionable steps for attracting future private sector investment.