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G. Parks, Recreation & Open Space Element

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Sections of this Element:

  1. Introduction
  2. Needs Analysis and Standards
  3. Open Space Plan
  4. Parks & Trails
  5. Public Art

Accomplishments (since 2006):

  • Development of Pacana Park, a 28 acre active recreation facility with fishing lake
  • City adopted the 2008 Parks, Trails, and Open Space Master Plan
  • Copper Sky Multi-generational Center, Regional Park, and Aquatic Center Grand Opening
  • Growing number of large-scale community events
  • Maturing communities with improved parks, some enhanced to City standards
  • Over 3.5 miles of Multi-Use Trails constructed within washes and utility easements
  • Lexington Park constructed within the Heritage District

The Parks, Recreation and Open Space Element has been prepared to support the establishment of standards and levels of service criteria that lead to the creation of a full-service parks, recreation and open space system in Maricopa.

Citizen preferences place high priority on developing and having adequate access to parks, recreation, leisure activities, community and cultural events and performing arts to serve the diverse community. The City has been playing ‘catch-up’ in meeting the needs for large scale open spaces and regional recreation amenities. To respond to citizens’ priorities, the City has established a Community Services Department (formerly the Parks, Recreation and Library Department) to play a lead role in developing and steering Maricopa’s parks, recreation and open space system, among other things.

2040 Vision: Provide areas of open space and facilities for parks, recreation and leisure that serve the population and its interests through flexible planning and responsiveness to the community.

A successful parks, recreation and open space system has been credited for the success of many cities in achieving a high quality of life for residents that includes health benefits and transportation alternatives to automotive dependence. When given options, residents are typically happier and healthier, have a greater sense of community, and support local commerce and neighborhood-scale retail and services. These options encourage diverse and sustainable land use patterns supported by alternative transportation networks and create corridors of opportunity. Such communities are sought out by large employers seeking a skilled and engaged workforce who wish to reside in a high quality of life in a full- service community.

This Element identifies a comprehensive network of park, open space, trails, and recreational amenities according to the needs and standards for Maricopa. The Goals and Objectives, when coupled with the policies contained in the 2040 Vision, Parks, Trails and Open Space Master Plan (PTOS), and the City Council’s strategic plan, provide the framework and direction necessary to accomplish the Vision. The City will align its land use policies, development requirements, impact fees and other tools in implementing the citizen-driven goals and objectives. Complementary policy documents essential to this element are, and not limited to, the following:

  • 2040 Vision (2015)
  • Parks, Trails, and Open Space Master Plan (2008)
  • Area Transportation Plan (2015)
  • Library Master Plan (Draft 2008)
  • Subdivision Ordinance (2006) & Zoning Code (2014)
  • Pinal County Open Space and Trails Master Plan
  • Click for Interactive (GIS) Map

Interactive (GIS) Map

Interactive (GIS) Map


1. Introduction

a. Community Services Department

The City of Maricopa Community Services Department is committed to providing services and amenities to enhance the quality of life of Maricopa residents. The Department has established programs, provided leadership and participated in planning and development review activities to ensure Maricopa’s growth includes adequate open space and recreational facilities.

b. Achievements from Previous Planning Efforts

Copper Sky Entry PhotoIn 2014, citizens surveyed identified “parks, recreation, and libraries” among the top five most complimented services provided by the City.

The 2006 General Plan included a needs assessment for parks and community amenities. Prioritized among the needs was, as it was then described, “[a] district park is a community’s flagship park.” It is with great pride the community now enjoys the Copper Sky Multigenerational Center and Regional Park as the City’s flagship park and community center serving thousands of residents every week. The plentiful recreational opportunities at the Center include an aquatic center, state-of-the-art fitness equipment, softball and baseball fields, interactive playgrounds, multi-purpose sports fields, batting cages, basketball courts, sand volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, a five-acre fishing lake, picnic equipment, dog park and more.

The Copper Sky grounds serve as the major event center for the City, offering plentiful space for large crowds drawn to the unique events that have become part of the City’s proud traditions. The Salsa Festival and Independence Day celebrations are part of the pulse of the City. The expansive recreational development offers a public amenity that enhances the quality of life of all of Maricopa’s residents and neighboring communities.

Prior to the Copper Sky Multigenerational Center and Regional Park, the City constructed Pacana Park, which served as the City’s regional park from 2006 to 2013. This park is a 28-acre active recreation sports complex and the host venue for much of the City’s inaugural events and celebrations, such as the 4th of July BBQ, Salsa Festival, and Fishing Derby.

Within the Heritage District, a minor accomplishment with a fair amount of impact is the creation of Lexington Park. The space provides a pocket park with turfed recreation space providing a much needed stormwater retention basin for the Redevelopment Area neighborhood.

There have been select locations where the City’s Master Trails System has expanded within the natural washes and major utility easements that are adjacent to private development. Additional details are presented in the Parks, Open Space and Trails Inventory (subsection d). Goals and objectives are included in this element as well as the Circulation & Connectivity element to establish a complete pedestrian and bicycle trail system.

The majority of the City’s growth to date has been under the development standards of Pinal County. Since the 2006 General Plan, the City has adopted its own Subdivision Ordinance (2006) and the Parks, Trails and Open Space Master Plan (2008) which regulate private development with contemporary standards for community amenities. These development standards will have greater influence and enhance the quality of life for residents over time as applied to new communities. The same can be expected for the trails system planned through, or along the edge of new development.

c. Role of Private Development

The majority of Maricopa neighborhoods consist of subdivisions that are master-planned with connectivity in mind within the development, however little has been accomplished to connect these developments to surrounding open spaces, schools, and commercial destinations. Most commonly, neighborhood trails and parks are privately owned and maintained by homeowner’s associations (HOAs). The City’s open space policy requires new development to provide neighborhood open space and parks to serve the development’s residential population. Trails located in private development, which serve the connectivity needs of residents within and outside of the development, are required to provide for a continuous public linkage with surrounding residential, institutional, and commercial developments.

Private development efforts must consider many aspects of community design to promote quality of life sought by City leadership and residents alike. To highlight key considerations: the layout of streets, visibility, crosswalk design, usable open space, Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED), proximity to potential destinations, and environmental comfort when promoting accessibility and safety of pedestrians and cyclists are all considered for users to fully enjoy open space and recreational amenities. Walkable neighborhoods should be designed to encourage leisure, recreation, and to provide alternative active- transportation options for trips that may relieve dependence on automotive transport.

As directed by the 2040 Vision and community input, there is a strong desire to diversify the housing options available to Maricopa residents. To entice quality multi-family development and greater user-ship of public amenities, the City should incentivize higher density and attached housing development, where appropriate, to directly access open space and recreation facilities.

Goal G1.c.1: Trails and open space design requires emphasis on walkability and connectivity across the property complete with connections to adjacent properties.
Objective G1.c.1.1: Analyze PTOS Master Plan spaces to advance goals of existing Safe Routes grant funding and future funding opportunities in other areas such as Senior and ADA compatible design and improvements.
Objective G1.c.1.2: Conduct targeted walkability studies and environmental design audits between likely pedestrian routes (existing or unrealized) in the developed areas of Maricopa.
Objective G1.c.1.3: City to acquire land dedications or easements adjacent to or within communities, appropriately scaled for planned trails.
Objective G1.c.1.4: Future developments should incorporate open space, trails, and recreation as an integral design element, providing direct access and visibility to open space corridors from public ways.
Goal G1.c.2: Incentivize mixed-use and higher density housing in select locations consistent with redevelopment plans, special area plans, and the General Plan Land Use goals.
Objectives G1.c.2.1: Update the City’s Subdivision Ordinance to incentivize multi-family housing and mixed-use development where appropriate and when adjacent to public open space or a public park. Properly zoned properties within 1/8 mile of a public park of 5 acres or larger should be considered ideal candidates for such an incentive.
Objective G1.c.2.2: Plan for Town Square Parks within urban/village cores providing opportunities for parks, civic buildings, schools, and gathering spaces to serve as the heart of the village. Park design should reinforce the special character of the specific community it serves.
Objective G1.c.2.3: Create public and private partnerships, where appropriate, for funding and maintenance agreements of public spaces heavily relied upon by private development.

d. Parks, Recreation, Open Space and Trails Inventory

As of October 2015, the inventory of planned and constructed public parks, trails, and open space include:

  • 4 total City Parks (publicly maintained)
    • Copper Sky Multigenerational Center, Regional Park, Aquatic Center (98 acres, active park amenities)
    • Pacana Park (28 acres, active park amenities)
    • Lexington Park (.34 acres)
    • Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Park
  • 110+/- total HOA Parks or open spaces (privately maintained)
  • 3.55+/- miles of disconnected trail improvements
  • Desert Wind Community Park (33.3 acres) – Planned future park dedication as part of the Eagle Shadow Master Planned Community
    Aquatic Center Photo

PoolThe range of park and recreation facilities that are privately maintained within new developments, including golf courses, varies greatly. The inventory of facilities privately developed and maintained should be revised and included when preparing a Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan and Needs Assessment for Maricopa. Public amenities should also be inventoried for Needs Assessment.

Goal G1.d.1: Inventory where land acquisition or easements will be required for planned trails.
Objective G1.d.1.1: Work with HOAs to dedicate land or provide easements where planned trails cross or run adjacent to established communities.
Objective G1.d.1.2: Pursue Public-Private Partnerships as necessary to achieve this goal.

2. Needs Analysis and Standards

Standards for the provision of parks, open space and recreation facilities vary from community to community. The City’s Community Services Department is a member of the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA). The NRPA has worked with the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) to establish a standard set of Level of Service (LOS) criteria. The LOS criteria are established by an independent overview of expert advisers and used nationally as parks and recreation benchmarks. The Community Services Department will continue to apply the most current standards of CARPA to the future planning efforts and Master Plan updates.

In addition to the CARPA standards, participating agencies are sharing data and generating reports on park and recreation amenities through an online database known as PRORAGIS. PRORAGIS provides park and recreation agencies a tool to compare operations and management services with other communities (http://www.nrpa.org).

Many jurisdictions have adopted or modified the NRPA standards for planning and programming purposes in past years. The City of Maricopa utilized the NRPA standards for the 2008 PTOS Master Plan. An update to the PTOS Master Plan should be performed to further define the LOS criteria for the future of the City based on population levels and projected growth patterns.

Goal G2.1: Update the Parks, Trails, and Open Space Master Plan.
Objective G2.1.1: Take full inventory of PTOS amenities with geographic analysis to ensure adequate levels of service is provided equitably throughout the City.
Objective G2.1.2: Update Master Plan to reflect current national LOS standards.
Objective G2.1.3: Obtain and Maintain CARPA Accreditation for the Community Services Department.
Objective G2.1.4: Support the updated PTOS Master Plan goals within the City’s Capital Improvement Projects as well as within the regulations of the Subdivision Ordinance and Zoning Code, as required.
Objective G2.1.5: Align the design standards and connectivity network with the goals and recommendations of the Area Transportation Plan.
Objective G2.1.6: Verify planned trails and open space corridors are to connect with neighboring jurisdictions, especially with the Pinal County plans within the unincorporated area of the planning area. Bicycle and equestrian networks are of interest for ability to assist in regional connectivity.
Objective G2.1.7: Consider opportunities to expand tourism through recreation destinations and sporting events with regional and national interest. Consider proximity to lodging and Copper Sky for benefits of serving large crowds and overnight stays.
Objective G2.1.8: Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) and Safescapes should be considered when establishing design standards and recommendations.
Objective G2.1.9: Support Economic Development goals with quality parks and recreation amenities to attract and retain high-skilled employers and employees seeking a full-service community.
Objective G2.1.10: Assist in the effort to win recognition as a Walk Friendly Community and Bicycle Friendly Community as identified in the Area Transportation Plan.
Objective G2.1.11: Evaluate existing Community Service assets to maximize future programming and expansion of uses.

*Additional Objectives for the PTOS Master Plan Update are throughout this General Plan as they relate to the various elements and topics.


3. Open Space Plan

The Parks, Trails and Open Space Plan included with this element is intended to provide a preliminary indication of the community’s expectations with regard to establishing a system of open spaces that are linked by on and off-street paths and trails, throughout the Planning Area.

As directed by the 2040 Vision, the City is to create or revise dated Special Area Plans or Master Plans to achieve Maricopa’s Vision. The PTOS Master Plan has served to provide much needed early direction for the City. However, much has been achieved and a new focus should look forward. Benchmark standards should revise its level of service standards to the current nationally accepted standards and modify them to meet the specific needs of the community. A revised inventory of PTOS assets is necessary for a comprehensive analysis of progress and projected needs.

As before, the Community Services Department is considered to be lead expert and administrator of the PTOS Master Plan update. The Master Plan will need to refer to the 2040 Vision and the General Plan to ensure consistency and support of the mutual direction these long-range policy documents provide. A robust public outreach and public involvement plan should be in place to echo the public sentiments and priorities for the future of Parks, Trails, Open Space, Libraries and related resources. In recent years, the City has benefited from quality community engagement offering a wealth of feedback to access.

a. General Open Space

This category includes all open spaces that are available to the general public for recreational use. To ensure open space is planned for and adequately maintained into the future, the City maintains Open Space Standards through the Subdivision Ordinance and Zoning Code. The allocation of open space is based on both density and scale of residential developments. Open space serves a number of uses for stormwater retention, parks, play fields, greenways, trails, buffer between uses, and landscape. Conditions of open space can be grass lawns, natural desert, lush landscapes, or a mix of these elements. As open space becomes programmed and amenitized for recreation and social gatherings it is counted additionally as parks and trails in a variety of categories listed below.

Maricopa has a number of wash corridors serving as passive open space and they provide opportunities for greenbelts that traverse the City and planning area. Washes are linear and weave through the community to provide connectivity within and to abutting jurisdictions once equipped with multi-use trails. Washes within the desert provide not only drainage for the area but also recreational opportunities and additional mobility. These washes, in addition to utility and canal corridors, provide the backbone for open space connectivity and linkages necessary to serve existing and future residents of the City. Although there are few washes with improved trails today, the master trails plan calls for the washes to have a multi-use trail on either side of the washes: Vekol, Santa Rosa, and Santa Cruz. The Santa Rosa Wash is mostly developed on both sides, and there were opportunities missed early in the City’s development to have portions of the trails improved as part of the abutting subdivision improvements.

Goal G3.a.1: Plan and construct multi-use trails along Santa Rosa Wash to serve existing neighborhoods.
Objective G3.a.1.1: Acquire necessary easements and rights of way to construct a continuous multi-use trail system along the Santa Rosa Wash from the Gila River Indian Community to the Ak-Chin Indian Community.
Objective G3.a.1.2: A Master Park and Trail design shall incorporate PTOS direction and the Master Transportation Plan policy and design standards.
Objective G3.a.1.3: Consider a complete loop trail design with access to the west along Bowlin Road to provide a connection to Copper Sky Regional Park.
Objective G3.a.1.4: Incorporate a wayfinding signage plan to direct trail users.

Along with serving the residents, the washes provide wildlife corridors as well without compromising safety of vehicles since the roadways bridge over the washes. Open space works well with land conservation efforts and protecting natural habitats. Future wash and drainage channel improvements should incorporate an ecological approach, and design facilities to function and appear natural.

Open space will continue to be monitored and compared to peer cities and NRPA standards to track Maricopa’s standing in this essential asset for both its practical benefits and beautification of the City’s landscape.

“The vision for the Santa Rosa Wash is verdant corridor that residents can walk or bike through via access from their neighborhoods or parking lots at arterial roads. The site would include recreation activities such as picnicking, open multi-use turf, dog parks, basketball courts, and children’s playgrounds located along the way. The wash will continue to serve as a storm water conveyance but will be transformed into a community multi-use area. The wash is a critical corridor for multi-use paths and trails and is vital in providing a connected off-street pedestrian and bicycle network.”

-PTOS Master Plan

Goal G3.a.2: Design future wash improvements as an integral open space element to surrounding development.
Objective G3.a.2.1: The Design of communities and neighborhoods abutting or including washes shall integrate the wash corridors as a functional design component and include amenities and trails to accommodate pedestrians, runners, cyclists, (and equestrians when designated as such) as a means to access schools, neighborhoods, and commercial uses.
Objective G3.a.2.2: Designs of the washes are to include diverse amenities, recreation, and destinations throughout the corridor.
Objective G3.a.2.3: The washes are to continue to serve as valuable wildlife habitat and corridors for native plant and animal species.
Objective G3.a.2.4: Washes should be designed to provide direct and frequent access from trails to abutting neighborhoods and roadways.
Objective G3.a.2.5: Update codes and ordinances governing wash and drainage channel improvements to implement the goals of this Plan.

b. Public Health and Recreational Activity Opportunities

There is a growing awareness that public health is impacted by a community’s level of access to open space conducive to active recreation. Additionally, Maricopa residents rely on personal motorized transportation for a majority of trips. Studies find that more time driving leads to less time for exercise, civic engagement, as well as to negative health outcomes of sedentary behavior such as obesity and cardiovascular disease.

Public health should be a consideration when performing the needs assessment for Maricopa residents. When health considerations are involved in traditionally non-health sectors and all policies, it has proven to improve the health outcomes for City residents across the country. The City should explore the incorporation of Health Impact Assessments (HIA) as a policy development tool and to establish health related performance measures for future land use and development decisions.

2040 Vision: Parks and Recreation services support citizen health, environmental cohesiveness and community pride.


4. Parks & Trails

The 2008 PTOS Master Plan provides detailed evaluation for Maricopa’s unique circumstance and is the City’s guiding parks, trails, and open space long-range planning policy. The plan includes definitions of the types of facilities, and optimal facilities and services based on public sentiment, population, and other unique factors to Maricopa. The Master Plan outlines policy for Open Space, Park and Recreation Facilities, Paths and Trails, and Implementation Plan for Maricopa and the greater planning area. Pursuant to Goal 2.a.1 of this element, the PTOS Master Plan is anticipated for update to account for the changes that have occurred since 2008 such as Park and Recreation improvements, rapid growth, public sentiment, and changes in land use patterns.

In lieu of an updated PTOS Master Plan, current 2008 PTOS Level of Service (LOS) standards are utilized and outlined below. Future adopted LOS standards should take precedence and serve as the City standard.

Table 9—PTOS Master Plan Service Standards

Type of Park Acres Geographic
Service Area
LOS Population Served
Grand Park 200+ 3 mile radius 50,000+
Community Park 20-79 3 mile radius 10,000 - 50,000
Neighborhood Park 10 ½ mile radius 5,000
Village Park 80-200 3 mile radius 50,000+
Special Use Parks Variable Variable Variable
Neighborhood (HOA) Parks .33 - 2 ¼ mile radius 250-500

a. Neighborhood & HOA Parks

Maricopa has a large number of private HOA parks and open space within existing neighborhoods. This has offered a variety of recreation opportunities within walking distance of most residents. Diligent enforcement of existing open space and subdivision ordinances are critical to ensuring residents continue to have adequate access to these neighborhood level services. This will enable the City of Maricopa to concentrate on the large scale Community, Village and Grand Parks.

The smaller Neighborhood Parks are also referred to as Pocket Parks, Tot Lots, and Mini Parks. Pocket parks are typically planned in new residential communities maintained by an HOA, or a retrofit strategy where an aging neighborhood has unmet open space and recreation needs. Additional benefits include centralized water retention solutions to reduce flood hazards and to provide a park closer to home safer for children who may otherwise have to cross busy roads. Parks are typically beneficial to quality of life and property values for a community, and thus a potential tool for revitalization. At the time of this General Plan adoption, the only Neighborhood Park constructed, owned, and maintained by the City is the 13,000 square foot Lexington Park constructed in the Heritage District. The neighborhood served by this park is located in a redevelopment area and was previously underserved by park and drainage facilities. The City also owns and operates the VFW Park, which serves members and patrons of the VFW and the abutting neighborhood.

Goal G4.a.1: Improve parks and recreation access in underserved areas.
Objective G4.a.1.1: Establish a policy for converting small-scale properties to pocket parks in the instance of property donation or City acquisition. Target abandoned properties in neighborhoods underserved by park space and stormwater retention.
Objective G4.a.1.2: Conduct geographic analysis to identify any potentially underserved areas regarding park, recreation, and open space based on LOS standards.
Objective G4.a.1.3: Analyze improved park access in the Redevelopment Area Plan update with special emphasis on the impact of the SR-347 overpass. Scrutiny for connectivity and integration of parks and amenities are critical in the success of the project and the surrounding areas impacted.
Objective G4.a.1.4: Promote social and cultural ties to the community through public gathering spaces, neighborhood theming, and well-connected communities.
Goal G4.a.2: Establish Parks, Trails, and Open Space amenity standards to meet the expectations of Maricopa residents.
Objective G4.a.2.1: Evaluate need and consider best practices to incorporate ADA accessible and special needs playground equipment for inclusion in public and private park facilities
Objective G4.a.2.2: Update the minimum code requirements for open space and amenities to meet LOS identified in the PTOS Master Plan.
Goal G4.a.3: Parks and public buildings should function symbiotically.
Objective G4.a.3.1: Seek to provide affordable meeting space within parks and public buildings as project opportunities arise.
Objective G4.a.3.2: Parks should serve as spill-over space for functional expansion for special events or unique settings.

b. Community, Village and Grand Parks (i.e. Copper Sky Multigenerational Center and Park)

Community, Village and Grand Parks provide the broadest open space recreational opportunities and are the community’s flagship parks for sponsoring community wide events. They are a destination park for a large segment of the City. These parks should be centrally located so all residents of Maricopa, to the extent possible, can enjoy geographic equity. The PTOS Master Plan identifies approximate locations for each Community Park throughout the planning area with the intent to serve the greatest number of people with the least amount of travel time. The locations are not intended to identify actual parcels, but a general vicinity for future park locations. The conceptual locations are largely placed along drainage corridors or within floodplains. This would allow floodplain land within Maricopa to be used with greatest efficiency while still maintaining natural drainage patterns. More importantly, this enables pedestrian and bicycle linkages to Community Parks throughout Maricopa’s open space network by way of the multi-use trail system.

Community, Village and Grand Parks should be accessible to many neighborhoods and their LOS service area, providing parking, safe bicycle and pedestrian access as well as intensive recreation opportunities. These parks usually include all of the uses contained in neighborhood Parks, as well as additional acreage for athletic fields, courts, and special use facilities such as urban lakes, skate parks, large group picnic facilities, recreation centers, etc. These larger parks may also include fire/police stations, libraries and commercial development. They provide opportunity for regional and national sport tournaments, and can be an important resource to attract economic development and tourism.

c. Special Use Parks

Special use parks are a critical element of the open space network. These parks preserve the history and essence of what makes the City of Maricopa unique. As the City grows, the preservation of this history and character will connect new residents with the longtime residents of the areas. The PTOS Master Plan recommends preserving unique farming structures, historical structures, and archeological sites, such as the Water Tower, as special use parks. The Redevelopment Area Plan also reinforces the need for unique park sites and amenities that celebrate the history and culture of the City within the Heritage District, and offer a venue for events, farmers markets, and gatherings. Refer to the Heritage District Redevelopment Area discussion.

Goal G4.c.1: Utilize Special Use Parks to establish and reinforce the character and identity of the Heritage District and Maricopa’s farming heritage.
Objective G4.c.1.1: Analyze feasibility to implement provisions of the Redevelopment Area Plan and PTOS Master Plan to create a Railroad Heritage Park and Farmstead Heritage Parks.
Objective G4.c.1.2: Update the Redevelopment Area Plan to study feasibility for parks, recreation, and trail linkage opportunities in the Heritage District in conjunction with the SR-347 Overpass design and improvements.

A Special Use Park is also a park dedicated to a specific or single purpose recreational activities such as golf, nature centers/preserves, equestrian staging areas, amphitheaters, performing arts, or sports complexes, in addition to recreation centers that provide a variety of special events and activities. Their purpose is to enhance the multi-use year-round recreational opportunities for residents of Maricopa.

Planning Area Special Parks

Throughout Maricopa’s planning area there are a number of open spaces and significant cultural resources that offer a great benefit to area residents and visitors. The City works to support and enhance these open space and recreation amenities through participation and available resources.

Palo Verde Regional Park, Pinal County

Pinal County has implemented a Capital Improvement Plan to design and develop a 23,000 acre regional park and open space preserve in Maricopa’s western most planning area, between SR-238 (to the north) and Interstate 8 (to the south). The park includes portions of the Palo Verde Mountains, access to the Table Top Wilderness area and Sonoran Desert National Monument, and other significant natural open spaces and trails. This land was designated as a future regional park on the 2006 Maricopa General Plan Future Land Use Map and will provide a valuable open space and park resource for Maricopa and the greater planning area, once complete.

Pinal County, with input from the City of Maricopa and residents, began the specific master planning process in 2015. Maricopa and the planning area are tremendous beneficiaries of this Regional Park. Considerable attention to the planning process and thoughtful input is critical to creating a usable park and a regional attraction.

Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail

In 1775 Jaun Batista de Anza led 240 men, women, and children on an epic journey to establish the first non- Native settlement at San Francisco Bay. Today, the 1,200-mile Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail connects history, culture, and outdoor recreation from Nogales, Arizona, to the San Francisco Bay Area. The National Historic Trail is located in the northwest most corner of the Maricopa Planning Area, crossing from the north boundary to the west boundary, north of the SR-238. This location is anticipated for a future historic monument and trailhead celebrating this unique cultural artifact and is a part of Maricopa’s PTOS Master Plan. Pinal County has identified an alignment that follows the SR-238 corridor, as shown on the Park and Open Space Map.

Goal G4.c.2: Pursue potential partnerships and collaboration with Pinal County for open space, trails, and amenity planning.
Objective G4.c.2.1: Evaluate opportunities for open space, amenities, and connectivity to Pinal County Parks and Trail features in the PTOS Master Plan Update, including the Juan Batista De Anza National Historic Trail, Sonoran National Monument, Palo Verde Regional Park, Thunderbird Equestrian Arena, and West Pinal Park.

d. Paths and Trails – Paved and Unpaved

Paved Paths with Wide Shoulder are also known as Shared-use Trails or Multi- use trails in the City’s Master Plan documents. These multi-modal trails are the predominant type of trails within the City’s master trails system. They are used throughout the planning area to connect neighborhoods with landmarks, shopping and services, and parks and open space areas and are made of dual surface materials to accommodate a diverse group of users. For the paved portion of the path the preferred surface material is concrete, however asphalt is acceptable. This paved facility is used by bicyclists, pedestrians, joggers, strollers, wheelchair users, in-line skaters, other non-motorized users, and anyone wanting a smooth and consistent surface. The unpaved shoulder adjacent to the paved path should be a minimum of 4’ wide and is designed to accommodate users who prefer a softer surface.

Paths should be signed for various users, are primarily ADA accessible and may also be used by small maintenance and emergency response vehicles. Standards may vary according to Right-of-Way (ROW) width, existing or anticipated level of use, geographical and environmental constraints, and land uses. The typical minimum Paved Path width is 10’. The paved path master trail system includes regional and local connections. The system is designed to provide a variety of loops that connect neighborhoods to all types of destinations and unpaved trails and offer opportunities for trail dependent community events.

Unpaved paths are often designed to accommodate equestrian and pedestrian users. Signs, crossings, vegetation, rest and staging areas developed in conjunction with these paths may be primarily designed to accommodate equestrians. Unpaved paths may also be within utility and canal easements in order to allow utility access while achieving neighborhood connectivity. The PTOS Master Plan identifies the different types of unpaved trails anticipated for Maricopa and includes: Back Country Trails, Rural Neighborhood Trails, and Community Trails.

Goal G4.d.1: Expand the Master Planned Trails System to promote greater connectivity throughout the City.
Objective G4.d.1.1: Seek out and pursue federal, state, and local grants to assist with funding.
Objective G4.d.1.2: Prioritize the paving and improvements of planned trails that are currently unimproved yet have the greatest accessibility to established neighborhoods.
Objective G4.d.1.3: Prioritize the paving of planned trails that will connect residential land uses with other developments, such as schools, retail, services and employment, which can reduce dependence on motorized transport.
Objective G4.d.1.4: Prioritize the paving of planned trails that will connect the developed communities north and south of Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway and the Union Pacific Railroad to relieve the City from the physical barrier to unite the north and south portions of the City.
Objective G4.d.1.5: Coordinate work plans and Capital Improvement Project (CIP) line items to achieve the goal and objectives above.
Objective G4.d.1.6: Overlay with projected future roadway improvements for years 2020 and 2030 are located within the current Transportation Master Plan. Consider intersections with trails and adjacent improvements in coordination with these timeframes.
Objective G4.d.1.7: Adopt trail signage, lighting, and wayfinding standards and programs to encourage broa

* refer to Circulation & Connectivity Element for additional trails discussion

e. Bicycle & Pedestrian Network

To maximize the function of roadside sidewalks and bicycle lanes (also refer to Circulation & Connectivity Element), multi-use trails must also be enhanced. The Trails Master Plan should consider future enhancements for corridors with the potential for a high volume of bicycle traffic with additional markings and traffic controls. A phased approach will prepare the City to be responsive to cyclist needs if and when presented with the demand.

With regard to Parks, Recreation, and Open Space, the bike lanes should be designed to intersect with multi- use trails in a safe manner while promoting greater connectivity and a robust circulation network for cyclists. The PTOS Master Plan provides guidance in creating entry nodes and access points, as well as trailheads, multi-modal trail crossings at intersections, and other standards for unique circumstances.

Goal G4.e.1: Plan for details to integrate bicycle lanes with multi-use trails.
Objective 4.e.1.1: Adopt design details for the intersection of bicycle lanes and multi-use trails to ensure safe and efficient intersections and trail entry locations.
Goal G4.e.2: Explore expanding the Wayfinding system envisioned within the 2015 Area Transportation Plan.
Objective 4.e.2.1: Include guidance to connect trails to local and collector streets to maximize the entire network.
Objective 4.e.2.2: Include guidance to direct pedestrians and cyclists to landmarks and parks and recreational spaces.
Objective 4.e.2.3: Explore local and regional branding opportunities for the Wayfinding system to recognize appropriate assets and future opportunities within the system.

5. Public Art

Art and architecture set themes and distinction for villages and corridors in many cities and towns. Maricopa residents expect no different from their own city and desire public art and distinct architecture to establish character and interest within spaces and incorporated into buildings or structures. Arts and culture, when appropriately embedded into the context of a setting to provoke identity, inspires social and public assembly referred to as placemaking.

A theme is taking hold around the Copper Sky Multigenerational Center building that borrows from its design elements and color pallet. Public art should serve the same purpose. The SR- 347 overpass serves as a prime opportunity to showcase artistic talent and promote the design theme of the Heritage District and the adjacent properties as they redevelop.

2040 Vision: Opportunities for recreation, cultural enrichment, and social interaction make the City more attractive to its citizens. Adopt policies to provide desired and attractive amenities to drive quality growth and development.

Goal G5.1: Create a committee to guide and promote the Arts & Culture in Maricopa and provoke identifiable spaces and places through the use of arts and culture (placemaking).
Objective G5.1.1: Develop a comprehensive program for encouraging art in Maricopa that includes a policy for displaying art in City facilities.
Objective G5.1.2: Seek funding sources to offset expenses associated with public arts initiatives and project construction.
Objective G5.1.3: Oversee the adoption of a wayfinding policy and guide to assist pedestrians and cyclists navigate to activity centers, parks, trailheads, and trail circuits.
Objective G5.1.4: Target entryways, gateways, streetscapes, and other features to delineate various neighborhoods or districts.
Objective G5.1.5: Identify possible partnerships to facilitate programs and locate venues to accommodate art education and exhibits, music institutions, and opportunities for performing arts
Objective G5.1.6: Work with staff and City Council to create the Committee’s oversight responsibilities and structure.
Objective G5.1.7: Evaluate the opportunities, needs, and sentiment for a public Performing Arts Center.
Objective G5.1.8: Incorporate the Committee into a strategy to attract resorts, hotels, convention facilities, and other venues to accommodate a variety of events, art education and exhibits, music institutions and opportunities for performing arts.