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Reader Requested Short Review of Kingman, Arizona
Thirty-three hundred feet above sea level, Kingman (population 30,000) sits in a valley between two mountain ranges at the edge of the Mojave Desert. It has more than doubled in the last 10 to 20 years and is particularly popular with retirees. In fact, 42% of the population is age 45 or better. Kingman also draws tourists because it is a gateway to a number of vacation destinations, including Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon and Lake Mead. Low key and a little nondescript, Kingman is sunny, often windy and a little bit dusty.
The cost of living is 13% below the national average and the median home price is $140,000. The crime rate is below the national average. Thirteen percent of locals hold at least a four year college degree. Politics lean very much to the right. Racial diversity is minimal.
Kingman started out in the 1880s after a Navy engineer was ordered to survey and build a road "out West" along the 35th parallel. This road became a part of the famed Route 66, and Kingman plays up this history by billing itself as the Heart of Historic Route 66 (the Route 66 Museum is a popular tourist attraction).
The downtown has wide streets and 60 structures that are on the National Historic Register. Most retailers are locally owned, and fun Historic Beale Street Antique Row has 14 antique stores. Wal-Mart, Sears and other national merchants are here, too.
Community events are in good supply and include First Friday of the Month art gallery showings and Chillin' on Beale Street, which is a giant block party and car show. Gun shows, garden shows, air shows, rodeos, motorcycle events and poetry readings are common. The Sounds of Kingman is a summer concert series.
Outdoor recreation is what brings many people to this area. Golfing at Valle Vista Country Club and Cerbat Cliffs, whitewater river rafting, hiking, camping and mountain biking are year round activities. Downhill skiing is about 150 miles away at Arizona Snowbowl. Lake Mead is about 80 miles to the northwest. Lake Havasu is 50 miles to the southwest, and Lake Mohave is 50 miles to the west. For bigger city amenities, Las Vegas is just 90 minutes away. If that is too far to go for gambling, Laughlin, Nevada is just 45 minutes away and has river taxis to take visitors from casino to casino.
Kingman Regional Medical Center is accredited by the Joint Commission and has 235 beds. Medicare patients are accepted. For military retirees, Kingman has a VA outpatient clinic but the nearest VA hospital is in Las Vegas.
Kingman Area Regional Transit (KART) offers local bus service Monday through Saturday. There is also a curb to curb para-transit service, but advance reservations are required. Amtrak serves the city.
Services for people age 55+ are provided by both the Kingman Senior Center and the Kathryn Heidenreich Adult Center. Local excursions, exercise classes, flu shots, tax preparation and computer classes are just some of the offerings available.
Kingman's elevation mitigates the summer heat somewhat. Yet temperatures often reach the mid-90s. Winters are mild with temperatures in the 50s and 60s. Nighttime temperatures can drop below freezing, though, and snow occasionally falls. The air quality is below the national average.
Kingman's water supply comes from an aquifer underneath the Hualapai Basin. Controversy is brewing as more and more California farmers have moved to the area and are pumping water out of the aquifer. The county in which Kingman sits has hired an attorney to protect its water rights. Water fights seem to be a part of Kingman's future.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes | Is Arizona Tax-Friendly at Retirement? Yes
Kingman is not overly exciting or sophisticated, and its water situation is a concern. Yet the town's affordable cost of living, outdoor recreation and low crime rate make it a place to consider for retirement.
The Grand Canyon State was originally part of New Mexico. After the land was ceded to the U.S. in 1848, it became a separate territory. It did not enter the union until February 14, 1912. Copper was discovered in the area in 1848, and metals mining continues to be an important part of the economy. Cattle and tourism are two of the states other vital industries.
Although Arizona can be one of the hottest states in the union, air conditioning continues to bring more and more people to the urban areas. The Colorado Plateau spreads through Arizona from the north and is interspersed with remnants of the Rocky Mountains. The land flattens into desert near Phoenix. The Colorado River forms the state's western borders and snakes through the Grand Canyon.
Arizona is stubborn when it comes to time. It observes Mountain Standard Time on a year round basis.
Population - 6,931,030
Persons 65 years old and over - 17%
High school graduates, persons age 25+ - 86%
Bachelor's degree or higher, persons age 25+ - 27%
Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin - 31%
White persons, not Hispanic - 58%
Median household income - $50,225
Median home value - $167,500
Social Security taxed? No
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
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