U.S. Economic Development Administration Awards $400,000 from the Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) Program | Tech Parks Arizona
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U.S. Economic Development Administration Awards $400,000 from the Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) Program

In a collaboration between Tech Parks Arizona, the University of Arizona Experiment Station (AES), and the City of Maricopa, the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) awarded $400,000 as part of the CARES Act to complete a feasibility study of the 2,100-acre Maricopa Agricultural Center (MAC) site. This site is owned by the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) on behalf of the UArizona.  The feasibility study will identify potential future uses of the site consistent with the county’s and state’s economic needs, including such uses as university Aerial Image of Administrative Offices and Labs, Maricopa Agricultural Centereducational, research, Extension, and community programs, or a university research park. The City of Maricopa, UArizona, and Tech Parks Arizona are matching the award with combined contributions of $100,000.

The project begins with representatives from the City of Maricopa, Tech Parks Arizona, and UArizona collectively evaluating the highest and best regional use for the MAC site. The study will serve as a decision-making tool to help establish a vision for the future, determine the viability of creating thousands of new economy jobs using a community of innovation model in conjunction with the AES. 

As part of its land grant mission, UArizona operates a network of 11 state-owned AES sites. MAC is located on ~2,100 acres of Pinal County contiguous to the City of Maricopa. MAC has been home to internationally recognized UArizona research, Extension, and educational programs focused on agricultural sciences, food safety, water and environmental quality, and emerging technologies.  A USDA-ARS federal laboratory, the U.S. Arid-Land Agricultural Research Center (ALARC), leases land at the facility from the Arizona Board of Regents. 

With complementary missions, the City of Maricopa, Tech Parks Arizona, and UArizona are positioned as cornerstones for a contemporary new economy model committed to continuing and advancing UArizona program mission delivery. This goal reflects the changing economic landscape in Arizona and the Pinal County region, including the City of Maricopa, the local tribes and metro Phoenix. Tech Parks Arizona and the City of Maricopa are essential to attract more employers to the region, launch new businesses, and accelerate workforce development through UArizona and partnering education institutions.  Plans and studies developed through this project are intended to provide the state and the regional planning commissions with data and tools to support their efforts towards Aerial Image of UArizona’s Phenotyping Project – World’s Largest Field Robotregional recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and grow into our new economy. Once completed, it is anticipated that the plan will lead to sustainable and resilient growth of the region.

“The vision is to evolve this AES campus into a community of innovation / tech park that will serve as interactive ground for industry, academia, and government,” said Carol Stewart, Vice President of Tech Parks Arizona at the University of Arizona. “Strong business and community support combined with a substantial asset and established programs of a world-class R1 university provide an ideal environment for accelerating economic prosperity regionally.”

This project aligns with EDA’s mission to lead the federal economic development agenda by working directly with communities to catalyze locally developed strategies that build capacity for economic development based on local business conditions and needs.

CARES Act funds were appropriated under the Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) Program to economic development projects with $1.5 billion for economic development assistance programs to help stimulate the economy and recover from the impacts of the pandemic.

“Over the course of its history, MAC infrastructure has been a critical resource for researchers working to develop integrated solutions to the problems faced by Arizona producers and consumers, with expertise in precision agriculture, irrigation and water-use strategies, integrated pest management, food safety, plant disease, and soil health,” said Malcolm Green, Director of the Maricopa Agricultural Center. “This project builds on our legacy and mission to continue to support our state’s existing and emerging economies.”Google Image of 2,100-acre Maricopa Agricultural Center Site

“It's an exciting time to be in Maricopa,” said Nathan Steele, Director of Economic Development and Legislative Affairs for the City of Maricopa. “Lately we’ve been seeing what years of planning and infrastructure projects can ultimately produce with some of the much-needed new retail and entertainment venues coming to the city. This project is part of that necessary planning to bring even more employment to the community in the form of R&D and technology jobs. We’re fortunate to receive the funding from EDA to help us streamline these plans.” 


About the City of Maricopa

As the 8th fastest growing city in the Nation, Maricopa is putting itself on the map by consistently challenging the status quo. In less than 20 years since officially becoming a city, Maricopa’s population has risen from 1,000 residents to more than 70,000. Families and new businesses are attracted to Maricopa for the opportunities the city currently provides as well as the potential for what’s ahead. City leaders maintain the pace by seeking out and investing in innovative designs, programs, and partnerships that will support the present growth while creating a sustainable community. This collaboration with the UArizona, EDA, and Tech Parks Arizona is a prime example.

About Tech Parks Arizona

Tech Parks Arizona creates the “Interactive Ground” that supports, attracts and retains technology companies and talent in alignment with the research, mission and goals of the University of Arizona. Tech Parks Arizona directs the UA Tech Park, the UA Tech Park at The Bridges and the University of Arizona Center for Innovation, placing the highest priority on recruiting companies desiring a high quality of corporate services and connectivity to the University of Arizona. Tech Parks Arizona has a proven-track record of attracting companies to align with the UArizona’s research specialties. Tech Parks Arizona specializes in purpose-built environments that suit individual user needs and provide customized business support services to organizations developing communities of innovation.  Tech Parks Arizona contributes $2B annually to the economy of the State of Arizona.

About Arizona Experiment Station and Maricopa Agricultural Center

The Hatch Act of 1887, enacted by the U.S. Congress, established the agricultural experiment station system to support agricultural research at state land grant institutions.  UArizona is the state’s land grant university. The Arizona Experiment Station was founded as part of the federal agricultural experiment station system in 1889 and is directly managed by UArizona’s Division of Agriculture, Life and Veterinary Sciences, and Cooperative Extension.  The AES provides supporting infrastructure for world-class delivery in UArizona education, knowledge generation and economic growth in Arizona for the world. Maricopa Agricultural Center (MAC) is a part of the 2,100-acre AES site located in Pinal County.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA invests in communities and supports regional collaboration in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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