Maricopa, Arizona is the 18th most populated incorporated community in Arizona, and the 2nd most populated community in Pinal County. Maricopa forms part of the Phoenix metropolitan area. According to the census that was taken in 2015, the population of Maricopa was approximately 48,602 people.
Over the years, Maricopa has had three locations. These include Maricopa Junction, Maricopaville, and Maricopa Wells. The former gradually came to be known as Maricopa. It began as an oasis around a group of watering holes some eight miles north of what is currently known as Maricopa. European-American travelers and traders knew the settlement as Maricopa Wells. Several of Arizona's rivers, the Vekol, the Santa Rosa, the Santa Cruz, and the Gila provided this oasis in the desert with an abundant water supply during this period of time.
Maricopa Wells was probably the most important relay stations next to the San Diego and San Antonio Mail Line during the late 1800's, and sometime later became the increasing well-known Butterfield Overland Mail Route. While not much remains of this once thriving community, it played an important part in the development and progress of the Southwest. During this period of time the community was one of the best-known locations in Arizona since it offered an abundant food supply, and a dependable source of water. The peaceful Maricopa and Pima farmers who resided and farmed close by, sold supplies to migrants and travelers.
The period during the 1870's was the most prosperous period of time for Maricopa Wells. It was during this period of time that the trading center at Maricopa Wells provided food and water for those who were traveling north to Phoenix, as well as to those who were traveling east to West. A man named James Moore constructed some reasonably good roads. Maricopa Wells became a constant hubbub of activity.
To the west and south of Maricopa Wells, Maricopaville was established. This followed the building of a railroad line to Phoenix from this terminus. The Southern Pacific Railroad was in the process of constructing a railroad line between Tucson and Yuma in 1879. Another railroad line was to be constructed from Maricopaville, which would wrap around the westernmost edge of South Mountain into Phoenix. Maricopa began to look like a boom town in the days of the California gold rush, with the railroad. Men were working around the clock constructing restaurants, saloons, warehouses, theaters, and hotels. One of the newspapers at the time suggested that with its good location as well as its numerous residents, Maricopaville would be a great selection for the location of the state capital.
However, the railroad never constructed the anticipated railroad line between Phoenix and Maricopaville. Tempe, Arizona also wanted a railroad line and in order to obtain a stop, lobbied the territorial government. The officials agreed. In order to accommodate the Phoenix and Maricopa Railroad line, in the early 1880's, the settlement known as Maricopaville was basically reconstructed three miles to the east at the current location of Maricopa. On the way to Phoenix, the railroad lined was planned to go through Tempe and Kyrene to the north. In 1887, the first railroad train left for Phoenix from Maricopa. Those travelers headed north took the Phoenix and Maricopa Railroad, and the travelers heading east-west had to stop at Maricopa.
The year 2003 brought the official incorporation of Maricopa. From 2000 through 2010, the population of Maricopa increased to 43,842 people from 1,040 people. This represented an increase of 4080%.
Some of the community is within the boundaries of the Ak-Chin Indian Community. This federally recognized but small tribe has established Hannah's Ak-Chin Casino and related resort, which is a multi-entertainment cinema complex, and operates a golf course, which attracts attendees for the greater Phoenix area as well as from Maricopa and is open to the public. Also, the tribe controls the operation of the Ak-Chin industrial park and Regional Airport. A study that was conducted in 2011 reported that its resort and casino made up a considerable portion of the economy of Pinal County, in terms of the revenue generated and the number of jobs.
The Maricopa City Council is comprised of six City Council members and the Mayor. The City Council members are elected to serve four year terms on a rotating basis. The Mayor is elected to serve a four-year term. City Council meetings are held on the third and the first third Tuesdays of each month.
Guiding the Maricopa City Council with their many different activities, are ten citizen advisory groups. They are the Youth Council, the Transportation Advisory Committee, the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System Board, the Planning and Zoning Commission, The Recreation and Library Advisory Committee, the Merit Board, the Industrial Development Authority Board, the Heritage District Advisory Committee, and the Board of Adjustment. City Council action is required to select these.
Nine departments divide Maricopa. These include the Police Department, Human Services Department, Development Services, Community Services, the City Clerk's Office, and the City Manager's Office. Over 250 people are employed by the municipality.