Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!
Green Valley, Arizona
Outside of Tucson in Southern Arizona, Green Valley Boasts a Bounty of Recreational Opportunities, Safe Neighborhoods and a Mature Demographic
Green Valley, Arizona (population 22,000) is an unincorporated community about 25 miles south of Tuscon and 25 miles west of the Santa Rita Mountains in southern Arizona. Nearly everyone here is from from somewhere else, and most everyone is an empty nester, baby boomer or retiree. In fact, just 22% of Green Valley residents are age 45 to 64 while 73% are age 65 or better.
The cost of living is 17% below the national average, and the median home price is $310,000, reflecting a 7% increase since last year. The crime rate is below the national average, and political views tilt to the left. Forty three percent of residents hold at least a four year college degree. Racial diversity is minimal.
The desert sun, the sense of community and the emphasis on recreation are the primary reasons that people retire here. Green Valley Recreation (GVR), which has 22,000 members, is a non-profit organization that manages a full range of recreation services and amenities, including 16 or more recreation/social facilities, dozens of clubs, hobby shops, classes, trips, concerts and volunteer groups.
Nearly everyone who lives in Green Valley is a member of GVR. The initial membership fee is $2,900, and the annual fee is $510. There are some other fees as well.
The majority of housing is age-restricted (55+), and much of it is relatively new construction. In many ways, Green Valley really feels like a big meandering, retirement subdivision (with more than 100 separate HOAs). HOA fees range from $0 per month to about $350 per month, depending on the home type and area. Neighborhoods are tidy and curve along winding lanes with neat, sand-colored stucco houses, palm trees and well-maintained Xeriscaped yards.
In addition to what GVR has to offer, residents enjoy nearly a dozen private and public golf courses, numerous shopping malls, year round musical and theater events at the Community Performing Arts Center, festivals, fairs and a farmers' market. Wal-Mart is five minutes away in Sahuarita. The Joyner-Green Valley Branch Library is part of the Pima County Public Library system and provides computers with internet wi-fi access.
Golf carts are a popular mode of transportation around town, but SunTran provides public bus service and a dial-a-ride service. Tucson International Airport is located off Interstate 19, about 23 miles to the north.
Santa Cruz Valley Regional Hospital has 50 acute-care beds and a 12-bed emergency room. The facility accepts Medicare patients and is accredited by DNV Healthcare.
The surrounding landscape is pretty and very green indeed, with the jagged Santa Rita Mountains looming in the distance. Outside of town, nearby Madera Canyon is one of the top spots in the nation for bird watching. Patagonia Lake, Arivaca Lake and Pena Blanca Lake are small lakes within an hour's drive.
Green Valley's climate is hot and dry, but the 2,900 foot elevation helps mitigate the summer heat somewhat. Still, temperatures reach the high-90s and sometimes low-100s, with winter temperatures in the 40s, 50s and 60s. On average, the area receives 14 inches of rain each year. The sun shines 285 days of the year.
It is worth noting that Green Valley sits on an aquifer, which is why the region is green much of the year. This aquifer supplies water for residents, large farming outfits and mining interests, and the groundwater levels are dropping. To offset this water loss, the Central Arizona Project (CAP) is an ongoing project designed to bring 1.5 million acre-feet of Colorado River water per year to Pima County, where Green Valley is located, and to neighboring counties through a 336-mile long system of aqueducts, tunnels, pumping plants and pipelines. It should continue to supply water to Green Valley for years to come.
It is also worth mentioning that some locals think that two nearby mines, Sierrita Mine and Asarco Mission Mine, are polluting the local groundwater. As a result, Green Valley regularly tests its water for contamination. Hudbay Minerals, a Canadian mining company, has recently found copper deposits on the western side of the Santa Rita Mountains. If the company decides to mine the copper, some of the operations could be visible from Green Valley.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes | Is Arizona Tax-Friendly at Retirement? Yes
The dry climate, green scenery, friendly neighbors, reasonable cost of living and wide array of amenities make this desert oasis 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 home to places with names like Nothing, a ghost town in western Arizona, and the Horspitality Resort.
The state is stubborn when it comes to time. It observes Mountain Standard Time on a year round basis.
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