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Arizona City is a census-designated place (CDP) in central Pinal County, Arizona, United States. It is located near the junction of Interstate 8 and Interstate 10 at the midpoint between Phoenix and Tucson, approximately 60 miles (97 km) from the downtown of both cities. The population was 10,475 at the 2010 census. Arizona City is a rural, primarily residential community that features a semi-private golf club and a 48-acre (19 ha) man made lake. These attributes make the community a popular snowbird destination, with the population increasing by as much as 5,000 people in the winter months to reach the census figure of 10,475.
The area around what is now known as Arizona City was used as a resting area for Juan Bautista de Anza's expedition party after they emerged from Apache land in 1775. The area is considered an official part of the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail. This historic trail begins in Sonora, Mexico and ends at the Presidio in San Francisco, California.
The census-designated place was founded in 1959 when Jack McRae, president of the Arizona City Development Corporation, purchased and developed 2.5 acres (1 ha) of land in the Santa Cruz Valley in the area that would eventually grow to become the 6.2 square-mile modern day townsite. The location was selected because of the abundance of deep water from the Santa Cruz River found in the valley. At the time, the water was considered some of the purest in Arizona; every 14 days samples were sent to the state Health Department and would come back consistently rated 100% pure. As the community grew, a United States Post Office was established on April 1, 1962 and Arizona City began appearing on Rand McNally road atlases in 1963. It is uncertain how the name of the community was chosen.
From time to time, most recently in 2007, attempts have been made to incorporate as a municipality, but they have so far always been defeated at the ballot box, except for the first effort in the early 1980s, which succeeded at the ballot box but was overturned in court because there were not enough residents at that time to incorporate.
The area in and around Arizona City contained several of the 272 concrete Corona Satellite Calibration Targets, which were used to calibrate cameras on the satellites in the Corona Satellite Program that lasted from 1959 to 1972. These satellites were used for espionage on the Soviet Union (USSR) and the People's Republic of China during the Cold War. Many of these have since been removed, but one still exists at the corner of West Alsdorf Road and South Sunland Gin Road in the center of the community.
Arizona City is located at 32°45′6″N 111°40′45″W (32.751641, −111.679283). According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 6.2 square miles (16 km2), of which, 6.1 square miles (16 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (1.29%) is water. The townsite is approximately 1,509 feet (460 m) above sea level.
Arizona City itself is mostly flat, lying in the Santa Cruz Valley in the center of three low mountain ranges; the Sawtooth Mountains to the south, the Picacho Mountains to the east, and the Casa Grande Mountains to the north. Picacho Peak, a prominent peak with a summit elevation of 3,374 feet (1,028 m), is located approximately 20 miles (32 km) to the southeast adjacent to Interstate 10. The townsite is surrounded by three Native American reservations; the Tohono O'odham Indian Reservation to the south, the Ak-Chin Indian Community to the west and the Gila River Indian Community to the northwest.
Interstate 8 and transcontinental Interstate 10 intersect 3 miles (4.8 km) north of Arizona City, providing freeway access to major Arizona cities such as Phoenix, Tucson, and Yuma, as well as San Diego and Los Angeles in California. The main east-west street through the townsite is West Battaglia Drive, which has an intersection with the main north-south street, South Sunland Gin Road, at the north end of Arizona City at the community's only traffic signal.
Arizona City has a hot desert climate (Köppen climate classification BWh), normal for the Sonoran Desert. The community experiences long, extremely hot summers and mild winters. The area averages only 10.54 inches (268 mm) of annual rainfall. Winter months are defined by frequent sunshine and consist of mild daytime highs between 65 °F (18 °C) and 75 °F (18 °C and 24 °C). At nighttime, the temperature drops rapidly, with lows averaging between 30 °F (−1 °C) and 40 °F (−1 °C and 4 °C). Nighttime lows at or below the freezing mark are not uncommon. During the winter, an occasional cold front will pass through the area sometimes containing a brief shower. The lowest temperature ever recorded in Arizona City was 13 °F (−11 °C). During the entirety of the summer and the second half of May, high temperatures are usually between 100 °F (38 °C) and 110 °F (38 °C and 43 °C), with the occasional heat wave spiking daytime high temperatures above 115 °F (46 °C). The highest temperature ever recorded in Arizona City was 119 °F (48 °C). Along with the rest of Arizona, the community is affected by the North American Monsoon during summer, which brings high winds and occasional heavy rain. Due to extensive farmland in the valley, the area is also very prone to dust storms, which can occur any month of the year during windy conditions.
As of the census of 2000, there were 4,385 people, 1,770 households, and 1,369 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 718.8 people per square mile (277.6/km²). There were 2,197 housing units at an average density of 360.1 per square mile (139.1/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 85.54% White, 1.14% Black or African American, 2.19% Native American, 0.39% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 8.05% from other races, and 2.62% from two or more races. 16.56% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 1,770 households out of which 27.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 64.9% were married couples living together, 8.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.6% were non-families. 17.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 2.76.
In the CDP, the population was spread out with 23.1% under the age of 18, 6.5% from 18 to 24, 24.9% from 25 to 44, 23.4% from 45 to 64, and 22.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females, there were 100.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.3 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $37,432, and the median income for a family was $41,500. Males had a median income of $33,611 versus $25,614 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $19,037. About 5.3% of families and 6.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.6% of those under age 18 and 6.7% of those age 65 or over.
In 2010, Arizona City had a population of 10,475. The racial and ethnic composition of the population was 57.4% non-Hispanic white, 4.2% black or African American, 3.5% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 0.1% non-Hispanic reporting some other race, 4.5% reporting two or more races and 34.2% Hispanic or Latino.
Historically, Arizona City's only employers have been the farms that surround the area and the few service jobs that exist within the townsite. However, being located in the middle of the Arizona Sun Corridor region, Arizona City's economy may soon be impacted by several large proposed attractions and factories that will potentially add 30,000 new jobs and attract up to 4 million visitors annually.
One of these developments is the Dreamport Villages project, which is a $4 billion destination resort that will be located 3 miles (4.8 km) north of Arizona City. This project will contain an extreme sports venue, water parks, restaurants, retail space, a residential area, and a fully themed amusement park comparable to Walt Disney World. Another approved project is the Attesa Motorsports Park, which will be a 2,360-acre (955 ha) motorsports complex featuring two 2.8-mile (4.5 km) road courses, a driver experience center, and an event center. This project alone is expected to create more than 10,000 permanent jobs and will be located 10 miles (16 km) to the northwest of Arizona City, adjacent to Interstate 8.
Phoenixmart, an under-construction 585-acre (236 ha) master planned development featuring showrooms, office space, warehouses, condominiums, a five-star resort and spa, and single family homes, is another one of these massive projects expected to boost the local economy. The Phoenixmart site is located approximately 10 miles (16 km) northeast of Arizona City and the first phase is expected to open in 2018. Lucid Motors, a Silicon Valley electric car company startup, has confirmed that it will build a $700 million electric car manufacturing plant in the nearby city of Casa Grande that will employ 2,000 workers by 2022.
Shopping in Arizona City is limited. The five main stores in town are a Dollar General, Ace Hardware, a Food Town IGA grocery store, and the locally owned Sunlite Market and Tumbleweed Market. There are a number of small local restaurants, as well as a Domino's Pizza location for in-town dining. Within the community there is also a public library, a smoke shop, a number of churches, and a drive-thru liquor store. Arizona City also has a Moose Lodge location (#1038) and a branch of the United States Post Office. For fuel and other services, residents must travel to nearby Casa Grande or Eloy.
Arizona City Golf Course, opened in 1963, is an 18-hole golf course located within Arizona City that includes a clubhouse, pro shop, and restaurant. An on-premises ages 55 and over RV Resort is also available, and the course is home to Arizona's only water driving range. Paradise Lake, a 48-acre (19 ha) man made residential lake, is located in the southern portion of Arizona City and can be used for sailing and fishing.
Every February, the community is host to the Arizona City Daze, which is a street festival featuring vendor booths selling food and merchandise, a car show, a parade, carnival rides, and live entertainment. This annual event typically takes place on the final weekend of February.
The only education facility located in the community is Arizona City Elementary School, and it is part of the Toltec School District. The nearest high schools are located in Casa Grande and accept students from Arizona Elementary School.
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