Fountain Hills, Arizonais a master-planned community built in 1970. Prior to that time, the nearly 13,000 acres of land that the town now sits on was part of the largest cattle ranch in the state of Arizona. The land was purchased in the 1960's by Robert McCulloch of McCulloch Properties and designed by Charles Wood, Jr., the designer of Disneyland in Anaheim, California. The town neighbors Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, a federally recognized Native American reservation; the Salt River Pima – Maricopa Indian Community, and Scottsdale.
Residences in Fountain Hills range from small condominium complexes to large custom-built homes. Senior communities and recreational housing are also available. The natural amenities of the area are what have drawn people at an annual growth rate of 10.1 percent to Fountain Hills. Incredible views of the surrounding McDowell Mountainsand the natural desert terrain provide for a host of outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, boating and golf. In fact, there are seven golf courses in and around Fountain Hills, offering some of the more picturesque views and challenging courses in the state.By 1980, Fountain Hills had a population of 10,190, according to U.S. Census figures. Between 1990 and 2010, the town was Arizona's eighth fastest growing city, with 22,544 residents, according to 2011 population estimates. The Maricopa (County) Association of Governmentsprojects that Fountain Hills will continue to grow to a population of 30,000-35,000 in the coming decade.
Fountains and artwork are a staple of the town, with more than 100 pieces of public art and sculpturelocated outdoors and inside public buildings throughout Fountain Hills. The town's big draw since its inception in 1970 has been the world famous fountain, a manmade fountain that sprays water 560 feet into the air for fifteen minutes every hour. When it was built, it was the tallest fountain of its kind in the world — and managed to hold that record for more than a decade. Today the fountain is surrounded by Fountain Parkand is a centerpiece of the community and an attraction that thousands of tourists come to see every year.
Shopping and DiningThere are ample dining opportunitiesin Fountain Hills with a seemingly endless variety of cuisines. Alchemy Restaurant and Wine Bar at the CopperWynd Resorthas been getting great reviews for its New American Cuisine that utilizes fresh and local ingredients in an artful atmosphere. The restaurant is AAA Four Diamond-rated and features floor-to-ceiling glass with panels that slide open to reveal breathtaking views of sunsets and sweeping vistas of the Sonoran Desert. The Euro Pizza Caféat the Plaza Fountainside offers simpler fare and is even a popular breakfast spot, with eggs and pancakes on the menu. Lunch and dinner includes an array of pizza, calzones, sandwiches, and chicken dishes. Much of what is available is on the upscale end of things, particularly if you dine at the restaurants at one of the local golf courses. The SunRidge Grill at the SunRidge Valley Golf Cluboffers an eclectic menu with a Southwestern flair and is open for breakfast and lunch, as well as private special occasion dinners. The Grill at the We-Ko-Pa Golf Clubfeatures breakfast and lunch, and appetizers until 5 p.m.
Fountain Hills is home to a wide variety of shopping options ranging from chain stores to boutique businesses located along local promenades. What you can't find in Fountain Hills can easily be found after a short drive to one of the larger malls in Scottsdale or Phoenix.
The 25,000 square-foot Plaza Fountainsideincludes upscale shops, an art gallery, jewelry store and restaurants. Four Peaks Plaza on Shea Boulevard is anchored by a department store and an assortment of chain store businesses. Eagle Mountain Marketplace features a supermarket, a bank and several shops. Fountain Hills Plaza is anchored by a Bashas' Grocery Store, and includes a bank, hardware store, auto repair shop, and restaurants.
Locals also love to take in the annual fairs and festivals where local craftspeople and others sell their goods. The annual Fountain Hills Great Fairis held the last full weekend in February and features a juried art show that usually attracts 500+ artists from across the United States and visitors from around the globe. The Fountain Festival of Arts and Craftsis a huge pre-holiday event that features more than 500 artists, as well as an assortment of gourmet food vendors. Visitors to this 25-year strong event typically peruse and buy art as well as the bulk of their holiday shopping.
Parks and RecreationAn assortment of adult and children's activities are organized through Fountain Hill's Community Servicesdepartment. From Toddler Tumbling to Teen Time, and from Adult Softball to Beginning Spanish, and classes like Instant Guitar for Hopelessly Busy People, a changing mixture of activities offers something for everyone.
The nearby McDowell Mountain Regional Parkis a great place for hiking, biking and horseback riding. The 21,099 acre park has vistas as high as 3,000 feet and over 50 miles of multiuse trails. Visitors often spot wildlife ranging from deer to birds and coyote.
Fountain Hills is driving distance from a series of lakes, making it a perfect launching point for boaters and lovers of watersports. Fountain Lake, the centerpiece of the town, is a great place for picnicking, walking and feeding the local ducks, but no boating, fishing or swimming is allowed. However, only 18 miles from town, Saguaro Lakehas a full-service marina, a paddle boat tour and a restaurantthat serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Nearby is Saguaro Lake Ranch, where locals and guests can take advantage of horseback riding, kayaking, inner-tubing and overnight accommodations. A little further down the road is Canyon Lake, where water skiing and jet skiing fans find their paradise. The tiny coves around the lake are famous for bass and trout. Boat rentals are available.
LivingOne of the reasons that Fountain Hills gets high marks as a community is because it is considered low population density, meaning that things are spread out wide enough that there is not much, if any, congestion whether commuting or going somewhere to play. Also, based on this abundance of open space, Fountain Hills earned the Playful City USA designation in 2010 and 2011.
In 2006, Phoenix Magazine dubbed Fountain Hills "the best place to live in the Valley of the Sun" calling it "a welcome oasis on the outskirts of a Metropolis". The sentiment was echoed in 2009 by the national publication Business Week, which named Fountain Hills as the "Best Affordable Suburb" in all of Arizona. The Town of Fountain Hills also has a Strategic Planning Advisory Commissionthat meets monthly and engages citizens in any proposed changes that could take place in the town. It was this method of engaging with the public that Business Week found to be unique, and was noted as one of the reasons people enjoy living in the Phoenix suburb.
Fountain Hills is led by a seven-member Town Council, headed by a Mayor and Vice-Mayor. The town does not have a formal police department. Law enforcement is contracted through the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office. The Fountain Hills Municipal Courtdispenses justice in local issues.
Schools, Health and TransportationThe Fountain Hills Unified School Districtserves about 2,500 students each year via programs at four schools. The district covers approximately 19 square miles and takes students from the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation. McDowell Mountain Elementary School handles students Pre-K through Third Grade. Four Peaks Elementary handles grades 4-5. Fountain Hills Middle School handles grades 6-8 and Fountain Hills High School takes students grades 9-12.
Physicians and specialists have made their home in Fountain Hills, giving a wide variety of family medicine choices to the community. There are also three Urgent Care Centers in city limits to handle the occasional need for same-day or emergency visit. The StatClinix Urgent Careand the Take Care Medical Clinicare two such facilities. There is also a strong selection of dentists in town, including family friendly offices like Loving Family Dental.
Rush hour commuters preferring public transit are serviced by two Valley Metro bus routes that originate in Fountain Hills at 5:55 a.m. and 6:13 a.m. After making 15 stops throughout Fountain Hills, Scottsdale and the metro Phoenix area, the buses arrive in downtown Phoenix between 7:32 a.m. and 7:51 a.m. The return trip buses arrive back in Fountain Hills at 5:47 and 6:24 p.m., respectively. Valley Metro is also big on organizing carpools and van-pools.
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Updated: 23rd August, 2019 6:29 AM.