About Fountain Hills
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 surrounding area's rich history dates back centuries when it was home to the Hohokam, whose elaborate canal system along the Verde River is believed to have supported between 4,000 and 10,000 people from 1100 to 1450. The tribe disappeared after that period for largely unknown reasons, and the Yavapai later migrated to the region.
The descendants of settlers from the 1860s turned this area into one of Arizona's most extensive land and cattle holdings until the late 1960s when Robert McCulloch Properties purchased it. A plan for constructing a dam near the Granite Reef would have led to the creation of a lake at Fort McDowell Indian Reservation. Robert P. McCulloch planned a community around the lake, which was intended to be called Chapparal City. However, the dam was never built as the residents of Fort McDowell opposed it. But work on the community had already begun, and Fountain Hills was formally established in December of 1970.
The centerpiece of Fountain Hills is our beautiful fountain which is 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 fifteen 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, funnels 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. Today, the famous fountain is the second tallest in the United States, and fourth tallest in the world.
The fountain uses water in Fountain Lake, which is reclaimed water provided by Fountain Hills Sanitary District. The water in the lake is also used to irrigate Fountain Park, and other parks and golf courses in the community.
Fountain Hills is home to over 150 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 13,006 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 and covers 24 square miles.
Incorporated in 1989, Fountain Hills is home to nearly 24,000 residents. Over the past twenty-four years Fountain Hills has grown from 10,190 residents to a Town of 23,820 in 2020, according to the U.S. Census. The Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) estimates that the population of Fountain Hills will continue to grow to a build-out population of between 25,000 and 30,000. (Demographics) Residents in Fountain Hills enjoy an upscale lifestyle. Per capita income is among the highest in the state with a median household income of $87,080, and there is no local property tax. The Town attracts residents who are building large custom homes to take advantage of the scenic vistas surrounding our mountain community.
The Town of Fountain Hills Land Use Analysis and Statistical report 2013 shows that the community consists primarily of 6,668 residential acres (51%); 3,940 acres (30%) of open space, golf-courses and parks; and 3,191 acres (25%) of remaining developable land. Fountain Hills has a total of 298 acres (.2%) that are zoned commercial, 212 acres of which are developed and 86 acres of which are undeveloped. The Town has a total of 40 acres (.3%) that is zoned industrial, 31 acres of which are developed and 8 acres of which are undeveloped.
Based on abundant open space and playground equipment available for public use, Fountain Hills was designated since 2010 as a "Playful City USA".
Goods & Services
Many local as well as national businesses provide excellent goods and services for residents and visitors.
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 three excelling schools: McDowell Mountain Elementary School for Kindergarten through second grade, Fountain Hills Middle School for grades three to eight, and Fountain Hills High School for grades nine to twelve. The District has small class sizes at an average of 18:1, a Vibrant Special Education Program, Fountain Hills Virtual Academy, and a Career and Technical Education Program.
School accolades and achievements include:
- A+ rating from the Arizona Educational Foundation (McDowell Mountain Elementary School and Fountain Hills High School)
- Ranked #32 in Arizona in 2021 by the U.S. News & World Report (Fountain Hills High School)
- Ranked in the top 5% of schools in the US in 2017 by the U.S. News & World Report (Fountain Hills High School)
- 2017 Girls Soccer State Champions
- 2017 Boys Basketball State Champions
- 2017 Beach Volleyball State Champions
- 2017 Girls Track & Field State Champions
- 2017 Volleyball State Champions
- 2018 Beach Volleyball State Champions
- 2019 Beach Volleyball State Runner-Up
The Town is home to the Fountain Hills Medical Center, which provides 24-hour emergency room services, and Honor Health Urgent Care and Primary Care. Additionally, the town is near the Mayo Clinic and Honor Health Scottsdale Shea Medical Center.
Awards & Recognition
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 twenty-two Valley communities, including the 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.
In 2021 and 2022, the Town of Fountain Hills Community Services Department was a National Finalist for the Grand Plaque Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management, and in 2022, the department was awarded the prestigious Grand Plaque in the 2022 National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management at the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) annual conference being held in Phoenix. The department was honored in the Class Five category for populations of 30,000 or fewer.