The Town of Fountain Hills
The Town of Fountain Hills is a master planned community established in 1970 by McCulloch Properties (now MCO Properties, Inc.). Prior to 1970 the area was a cattle ranch and was part of one of the largest land and cattle holdings in Arizona. The land was purchased by Robert McCulloch in the late 1960s and the community designed by Charles Wood, Jr. (designer of Disneyland in southern California).
One of the community’s most valuable assets is its natural beauty. Incredible views and natural desert terrain provide for a wide range of outdoor activities including hiking, biking, boating and golf. In fact, Fountain Hills contains some of the more challenging and picturesque golf courses in the State of Arizona.
The centerpiece of Fountain Hills is our beautiful fountain; one of the world’s tallest man-made fountains. It serves as a focal point for the community and attracts thousands of visitors each year.
The fountain was built in 1970 by Robert McCulloch the year before reconstruction of the London Bridge in Lake Havasu City, another of McCulloch’s projects. The fountain sprays water for about 15 minutes every hour at the top of the hour. The plume rises from a concrete water lily sculpture in the center of a large man-made lake.
The fountain, driven by three 600 horsepower (450kW) turbine pumps, sprays water at a rate of 7,000 gallons per minute though an 18-inch nozzle. With all three pumps and under ideal conditions, the fountain reaches 560 feet (170m) in height, though in normal operation only two of the pumps are used, with a fountain height of around 300 feet (91m). When built, it was the world’s tallest fountain and held that record for over a decade.
Fountain Hills is home to nearly 70 pieces of publicly displayed artwork throughout its downtown and at public buildings. Art is a significant part of the Town’s heritage. The eight fountains along the Avenue of the Fountains were the beginning of the public art collection.
Bronze sculptures and fountains with Community Profile themes ranging from the whimsical to the serious dot the streets and adorn the public buildings, plazas and parks. The collection also contains a wide variety of other art types and media, including paintings, stone, photography and metals. Residents and visitors are invited to wander the streets or take the “Art Walk” guided tour.
Located on 12,996 acres of land, Fountain Hills is surrounded by the 3,500-foot McDowell Mountains and Scottsdale on the west, the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation on the east, the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community on the south and the McDowell Mountain Regional Park on the north.
The elevation is 1,520 feet at the fountain, 3,000 feet on Golden Eagle Boulevard, and is 500 feet above Phoenix.
Over the past seventeen years Fountain Hills has grown from 10,190 residents to a town of 25,995 in 2008. The Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) estimates that the population of Fountain Hills will continue to grow to a build-out population of between 30,000 and 35,000. Although the rate of growth has slowed due to the lack of available land on which to build, the Town continues to attract residents who are building large custom homes to take advantage of the scenic vistas surrounding our mountain community.
The Town offers a wide range of living accommodations; from small condominium complexes to large custom homes. Fountain Hills also offers recreational, cultural and retirement programs that address the needs and lifestyles of active families as well as older adults.
Fountain Hills Unified School District #98 has four schools. McDowell Mountain Elementary School for Kindergarten-2nd grade, Four Peaks Elementary School for grades 3-5, Fountain Hills Middle School for grades 6-8, and Fountain Hills High School for grades 9-12. There is a Charter School, which has all grades up until high school. The community consists primarily of residential and open space (9,664 acres or 74%). Of the remaining land, 3,273 acres are developable, 334 acres are zoned commercial or industrial (approximately 3%) and 1,466 acres are right of way/streets (11%).
In 2006 Fountain Hills was named by Phoenix Magazine as the best place to live in the Valley of the Sun and was cited as “a welcome oasis on the outskirts of a metropolis.” The magazine measured the quality of life in 22 Valley communities, including a statistical analysis of each community’s population, income, home price, crime rate, miles to Sky Harbor Airport, and square feet of retail. The criteria used by the magazine in this ranking are similar to the priorities established in the Town’s Strategic Plan. The volunteer spirit and high level of involvement of the citizens and business representatives were highlighted.
Fountain Hills has also earned a top accolade from the magazine, Business Week. In its February, 2009 online edition, Fountain Hills was named the “Best Affordable Suburb” in all of Arizona. They evaluated suburbs on a variety of factors but weighted affordability most heavily. They also considered lifestyle (short commutes, clean air, low crime, good weather, and green space), the quality of schools, and the strength of the local economy. None of the places evaluated had populations of more than 60,000 or less than 5,000. Only one suburb per state was selected.
Based upon Certificates of Occupancy issued for new homes in 2008, it is estimated that Fountain Hills’ population grew in 2008 to 25,995. This gives Fountain Hills an average of 1279.3 people per square mile, or 2.0 people per acre.
Fountain Hills’ land is currently developed at an average density of 1.6 dwelling units per acre for single family homes and 3 units per acre for multi-family housing.
Fountain Hills’ low population density is a major reason it is such a desirable place to live. Unlike other regions of the Valley one can dine, play, and commute, without congestion.
Mark Gridley, Realtor
TecKnow Real Estate Agent