Wickenburg, Arizona – Maricopa County

June 27, 2024

Wickenburg, Arizona

A Historic Western Gem


Comprehensive community development attracts growth and commercial success

For the communities of rural Arizona, growth requires the combination and execution of multiple methods working together.

No single strategy can develop a town. Leaders in Maricopa County know this very well, but one town in the county embodies this rule better than any other.

The Town of Wickenburg, Arizona, known for its historic relevance during the gold rush era, has maintained a strong rate of community expansion over the years through its adaptable development strategies.

Practically speaking, this typically involves securing funds for infrastructure, fostering partnerships with regional economic development agencies, and promoting the town as a destination for tourism and new businesses.

However, Wickenburg stands out because it doesn’t overlook the need for grassroots actions either. Here, community involvement and support are paramount.

Local initiatives like small business workshops, access to capital programs, and business incubators are often deployed to stimulate economic activity.

The town also focuses on establishing strong educational and workforce development programs to equip residents with the skills needed for in-demand jobs.

Collaborations with educational institutions and workforce agencies are often leveraged to bring valuable training programs to the community, addressing specific local needs and creating employment opportunities.

Additionally, preserving the town’s unique historical charm is vital. Wickenburg often hosts events celebrating the community’s Western heritage, fostering a sense of pride and community cohesion.

This attracts visitors, so promoting tourism through marketing campaigns and improving local amenities are also ways the town boosts the local economy.

Successful expansion for Wickenburg has ultimately resulted in a thriving, engaged population, a robust local economy, and well-maintained infrastructure.

It’s a town where tradition and progress coexist, offering residents a high quality of life and a vibrant community spirit.

This balanced approach ensures sustainable growth and a prosperous future for the community.

A Glimpse into the Wickenburg Western Culture

Wickenburg is a small town with a population of under 10,000, bearing an endearing blend of rural tranquility and historic Western culture.

Just 20-30 minutes from the nearest metropolitan area, Surprise, Wickenburg prides itself on its rich heritage, earning the title of the “Team Roping Capital of the World.”

With a median age of 64.5 years, the town is steeped in pleasant antiquity, boasting numerous historic buildings and a vibrant cultural scene.

With large events like the Gold Rush Days and West Fest to offer, bringing in tens of thousands of visitors to the town has become a yearly standard for residents and leadership alike.

The 76th annual Gold Rush Days, a rodeo and Western-themed celebration, has always attracted large crowds, celebrating the town’s rich history.

West Fest, a new event featuring Western reenactments akin to a Renaissance fair, further underscores Wickenburg’s commitment to preserving and promoting its cultural heritage.

Overall, Wickenburg has shifted toward large events like these to promote the town and stimulate economic expansion, which puts a considerable strain on its infrastructure.

So, to support its growth, Wickenburg is constantly investing in essential infrastructure projects throughout the year to better support the influx of visitors and any increases in new residents after the fact.

This year the focus is on water and wastewater management. The town is expanding its water and wastewater capacities from 800,000 gallons per day to 1.2 million gallons per day.

This significant increase aims to improve the town’s utility services, just one example of sustainable development and better resource management even as the town progresses.


Commercial and Workforce Development at the Foundation

Because of its lively atmosphere, Wickenburg is witnessing a resurgence in commercial activity, with a 60% increase in development since the pre-COVID era.

The town’s leadership has proactively made efforts to attract new businesses while supporting existing ones through partnerships and initiatives.

“We’ve been partnering with other entities to provide small business entrepreneurship opportunities. So, we have access to capital classes that are free of charge to our small business entrepreneurs,” says Economic Development Director and Deputy City Manager Tim Suan.

The town has been refining its entrepreneurial spirit through initiatives like this and the large event style it’s best known for.

A prime example is the Moonshot Rural Pitch Tour, a Shark Tank-style competition for budding entrepreneurs., which provides resources, networking opportunities, and potential funding to help local businesses thrive.

However, as a rural community, Wickenburg faces unique challenges, one of the most pressing being economic accessibility.

So, to address this, The Maricopa County Human Services Department has launched the “Workforce to You” pilot program in collaboration with the Maricopa County Community College District.

“Through this pilot program, we’re focused on bringing workforce training opportunities to our rural communities… we’re able to find training providers to mobilize their training and deliver them in person here in our communities,” explains Human Services Director for Maricopa County Jacqueline Edwards.

The town’s commitment to workforce development is evident through this partnership, which provides a direct solution to its accessibility issue.

The first program officially launches in June, allowing participants to earn credentials in medical billing and coding.

This program addresses the local demand for healthcare professionals, with training sessions designed to equip residents with the necessary skills and credentials for employment.

Furthermore, Wickenburg’s efforts in workforce development are bolstered by the presence of a workforce development coordinator who resides in the town.

This coordinator assists residents with job search efforts, provides training workshops, and facilitates hiring events, and to an incredible effect.

“In the past six months, we’ve been able to assist over 100 residents with job search assistance, and have placed over 30 residents right there in the communities they live in,” Edwards says.

These efforts ensure that residents can find employment opportunities within their community while reducing the need for long commutes and fostering a stronger local economy.

Based on the strong partnerships the town has in place, these efforts will set the stage for the next generation.


WESTMARC Collaborations Plant Seeds for the Future

The town’s development strategy includes a partnership with WESTMARC, the regional economic development agency for the West Valley of Maricopa County.

“We concentrate on the quality-of-life amenities of the West Valley, which includes the workforce. So, we do have a regional workforce development strategy. We call it the West Valley Pipeline, we’re on version 2.0 right now,” explains WESTMARC Regional Workforce Development Director Kevin Dumcum.

Version 2.0 of the strategy is focused more on helping students at the high school level with career exploration so that they have an idea of where they want to go once they graduate.

Strategies like this and targeted programs like the Jobs for Arizona Graduates Program, which teaches students job interviews and resume-building skills, show that Wickenburg and WESTMARC leaders are thinking about things from multiple perspectives.

Lastly, the final and never-to-be-forgotten perspective here is the lifestyle that all of these initiatives come together to support.

Ultimately, the goal of these programs, events, and partnerships is to promote a better quality of life for the residents.

And so, to directly address residential lifestyle quality, one key aspect that the town is addressing is the “missing middle”—affordable housing options for families starting to generate wealth.

By increasing the availability of such housing, Wickenburg aims to retain its workforce and support local employers. The town is increasing its housing stock to accommodate residents who wish to live closer to work or want an alternative to the higher-priced luxury homes.

Partnerships with Maricopa County and other stakeholders are crucial in this endeavor, providing funding and resources for new housing projects.

Additionally, the expansion of the Baghdad mine by Freeport-McMoRan, the town’s largest employer by far, promises to bring economic growth and job opportunities to the area.

So, with so much preparation and groundwork being done, it is clear that the future of Wickenburg, Arizona is as bright as it’s ever been.

Suppose one considers Wickenburg’s commitment to preserving its historic Western charm while embracing growth and development is commendable.

In that case, it becomes clear why many of its leaders have begun to characterize the region for its strong potential to become a hotspot tourist destination for the state of Arizona.

The town’s strategic investments in infrastructure, workforce development, and commercial growth are setting the stage for a prosperous future.

By fostering a strong sense of community and leveraging partnerships with local and regional organizations, Wickenburg is poised to thrive, offering residents a high quality of life and a vibrant, culturally rich environment.

The past is honored and the future looks bright for this historic Western gem, where tradition and progress harmoniously coexist.


The Town of Wickenburg, Arizona

What: A historic Western town that has achieved remarkable community development and economic growth through a multifaceted approach

Where: Maricopa County, Arizona

Website: https://wickenburgaz.gov/


Cox Communications  – www.cox.com/getfiber

Making Good on the Promise of Digital Equity

A curious thing about the adage “change is the only constant in life” is that the saying itself is one thing that always remains true. There’s always a new challenge or opportunity to pursue, always a drive to make things better, and once in a while, the chance to redefine what’s possible. In our business, we thrive on change – because when we improve, lots of other things in life improve with us.

At Cox Communications, we’ve ridden and driven change. The company started 60 years ago, offering cable TV. Today, our nationwide network powers in-home Wi-Fi that can manage multiple high-definition video and audio streams, online gaming, multi-user teleconferencing, remote learning and a growing number of connected home devices. All of these new capabilities and experiences are possible thanks to faster network speeds.

We’re proud to be an integral part of this ongoing technological transformation and the value it creates both for our customers and in the communities we serve. It’s been a remarkable journey, but the work is far from done as the digital divide is real and too many communities are still being left out of the growing digital economy. Our best innovations – multi-gigabit speeds and advanced connected technologies – are not realizing their full potential when they’re only offered in big-city metro areas.

But change is constant, and the digital divide in our country is changing. It’s shrinking, and we could not be more excited about our part in making that happen, making good on our pledge to bring broadband services to underserved and rural communities across the country.

In Arizona, we’re leveraging our own capital and support from grant funds to upgrade and expand Cox broadband services in Wickenburg; projects are underway and, when completed, will bring the power of high-speed broadband connectivity to nearly 6,000 residents.

To date, we’ve expanded our fiber network to reach more than 11,000 previously underserved Arizonans. We have several projects in various stages of progress, including Cox Fiber expansion to residents in Congress and Black Canyon City in partnership with Yavapai County.

Our commitment to Arizona is strong. We’re proud to partner with new communities and fulfill our promise to champion digital equity – bridging the digital divide with a state-of-the art network and affordable internet services for households of all incomes and economic statuses.

It’s change for good – for all of us.

For more information visit www.cox.com/getfiber.

Wickenburg Ranch – https://www.wickenburgranch.com/

You may also like