Photo via City of Maricopa
By Elias Weiss | InMaricopa
The Ak-Chin Indian Community cried trespassing on Thursday, halting Maricopa’s construction crew just as they were about to forge the link between John Wayne Parkway and Interstate 10. In response, Maricopa Mayor Nancy Smith isn’t backing down — she’s daring the tribe to play by the rules.
Smith’s ultimatum: Either give a green light to the permits granted by Pinal County and the Arizona Department of Transportation for the critical John Wayne Parkway and Sonoran Desert Parkway intersection work, or get axed from the project.
Meanwhile, the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Sacaton has thrown its weight behind Ak-Chin’s claims, issuing cease-and-desist orders. The federal agency accused the city of flouting a Sept. 1 plea to halt construction until it granted the legal right-of-way necessary to conduct work near Ak-Chin’s casino and entertainment complex.
But in a letter from Smith to Ak-Chin leaders last night, the mayor said the tribe’s noncompliance “poses a serious safety concern” as the purpose-made parkway project — now more than a decade in the works — nears completion.