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Paradise Valley is a small, affluent town in Maricopa County, Arizona. The town is known for its luxury golf courses, shopping, and restaurant scene. According to the 2010 census, the population of the town was 12,820. Despite the town's relatively small area and population compared to other municipalities in the Phoenix metropolitan area, Paradise Valley is home to eight full-service resorts, making it one of Arizona's premier tourist destinations. It is also known for expensive real estate.
It should not be confused with Paradise Valley Village, an official municipal designation, in northeast Phoenix. For instance, Paradise Valley Community College, Paradise Valley High School, Paradise Valley Hospital, Paradise Valley Mall, and Paradise Valley Golf Course are all located several miles to the north of the town, in Phoenix. The town's name along with all the other various entities bearing the same name comes from the expansive area known as Paradise Valley, that spreads from north of the Phoenix mountains to Cave Creek and Carefree on the north and the McDowell Mountains to the east.
Residents attend schools in the Scottsdale Unified School District.
The Paradise Valley Unified School District is one of the largest in the state, though like many other institutions with the name Paradise Valley, it refers to the Phoenix village, and not to the town.
Paradise Valley is the wealthiest suburb of Phoenix. It is known primarily for its many resorts and expensive real estate. However, its history dates back to a more agrarian society.
After the initial European settlement, Paradise Valley was first used for cattle grazing. In the 1880s, when the land was being surveyed so it could be developed into agricultural lots, the name "Paradise Valley" first came into use, being given by surveyors from the Rio Verde Canal Company and its manager at the time, Frank Conkey. According to the official town website, this name may have been chosen due to the abundance of spring wildflowers and palo verde trees. Mainly an agricultural area during the 1800s and the first half of the 1900s, the area began to be settled after World War II, on large, one- to five-acre lots for which it became known.
As the neighboring settlements of Phoenix and Scottsdale began to grow and annex adjoining areas, the residents of what would become Paradise Valley were concerned that the qualities they most valued would be lost if they were consumed by their larger neighbors. These residents formed "Citizens Committee for the Incorporation of The Town of Paradise Valley, Arizona", which collected enough signatures to take to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. The petition was granted by the supervisors, allowing the town of Paradise Valley to be incorporated on May 24, 1961.
Paradise Valley is located at 33°32′41″N 111°57′23″W (33.544596, −111.956451).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 15.5 square miles (40 km2), all of it land.
The central terrain of Paradise Valley is dominated by Mummy Mountain. Other landmarks include Camelback Mountain on the southern border and the Piestewa Peak mountainous area on the western border.
Several historical sitesare within the town, including the Harold C. Price, Sr. House, Norman Lykes House, McCure Mansion/Hormel Mansion, and Barry Goldwater Memorial Park.
Paradise Valley's motto, coined by residents, is "there is a reason we call this valley 'paradise'".
As of the census of 2000, 13,664 people, 5,034 households, and 4,163 families resided in the town. The population density was 881.7 people per square mile (340.4/km²). The 5,499 housing units averaged 354.8 per square mile (137.0/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 95.60% White, 0.73% Black or African American, 0.20% Native American, 2.02% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.40% from other races, and 1.02% from two or more races. About 2.66% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Of the 5,034 households, 33.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 76.1% were married couples living together, 4.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 17.3% were not families; 13.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 6.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.71 and the average family size was 2.98.
In the town, the population was distributed as 24.9% under the age of 18, 4.0% from 18 to 24, 18.8% from 25 to 44, 35.9% from 45 to 64, and 16.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 46 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.1 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $150,228, and for a family was $164,811. Males had a median income of $100,000 versus $52,302 for females. The per capita income for the town was $81,290. About 1.9% of families and 2.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.5% of those under age 18 and 2.8% of those age 65 or over. In 2012, the Forbes magazine named Paradise Valley's zip code, 85253, the 71st-most expensive in the United States. This ranking also makes it the most expensive in the state of Arizona.
The mayor and six town council members are the elected representatives of the Town of Paradise Valley. The council is composed of six members who are elected to serve four-year staggered terms. In 2010, voters approved the direct election of mayor. Scott LeMarr became the first directly elected mayor in 2012. The council still selects its vice mayor from among its members. Michael Collins is the current mayor, serving his second term in office, first elected in 2014. The town manager is Kevin Burke. The chief of police is Pete Wingert.
In 2012, citizens gathered 500 signatures on a petition requesting the council reconsider the issue of direct election of mayor. The council voted in June 2012 to return the question of direct election of mayor to the people. Residents voted to keep the direct election of Mayor.
Most of Paradise Valley is within the Scottsdale Unified School District. A relatively small portion, however, is served by Creighton Elementary School District and Phoenix Union High School District.
Several charter schools also are in the area, including nearby Great Hearts Academies and BASIS Schools, as well as private schools such as Phoenix Country Day School.
According to Paradise Valley's 2014 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the town are:
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