Joy of life in the Town of Paradise Valley abounds

A view of Camelback Mountain from the Town of Paradise Valley. (photo by Melissa Fittro)

The irony of living in a place called Paradise Valley, is not lost on those who have been planning, creating and shaping an identification for the affluent enclave in the Valley of the Sun.

Nestled amongst some of Arizona’s premier landscape, sits the Town of Paradise Valley where no industrial parks exist and most there believe they are free from the hustle and bustle of busy thoroughfares in nearby municipalities.

While a community in this area could have been swallowed up by its behemoth neighbors — the city of Phoenix and the city of Scottsdale — the leaders of the Town of Paradise Valley found a way to carve out its own niche of luxury lifestyles.

Populated with a multitude of beautiful homes, natural landscaping and zero power lines or high rise buildings, the town is quite visibly different from neighboring municipalities.

The pride achieved from living in such a special place has resulted in creating a unique brand. Most recently, the town installed mountain-shaped marquee signs above street lights along two of the larger streets in the municipality, Lincoln Drive and Tatum Boulevard.

The town’s residents can be credited as the lifeblood of the town, as many residents donate their time to volunteer for the municipality.

Michael Collins

“This high level of resident volunteerism is quite frankly the only way that our limited government model can work,” Mayor Michael Collins explained in an April 6 written response to emailed questions.

“We depend on residents with expertise and energy to apply those resources toward the benefit of the town and our Paradise Valley community.”

Not only does Mayor Michael Collins and the rest of the elected leaders donate their time to serve, but so do the town judges and the members of the town’s boards and commissions. The town has 87 paid employees and more than 100 volunteers.

The U.S. Census showed of the total number of residents, there was less than 6,000 total households living within the 16.5 square miles of town.

Furthermore, population of the Town of Paradise Valley only increased by less than 300 people between calendar year 2015-16. This is at a time when Maricopa County has been named one of the fastest growing counties in the nation, recording an average of 222 new residents daily, according to the Census Bureau.

“Population growth was never a goal or quite frankly a desire of those who sought to incorporate our town and that feeling has never faded,” Mayor Collins said. “Being a low-density residential community means just that, low density with less than normal growth in population.”

Having a community surrounded by municipalities that are growing fast poses challenges for Paradise Valley but it is worth it, the mayor says.

“There is nothing like coming home to Paradise Valley and the feeling of escaping the densely-populated Valley and its mayhem that surrounds us.”

Making a community

Residents who donate their time to the local municipality can serve on local planning groups such as the Arts Advisory Committee, Board of Adjustment, Historical Advisory Committee and more.

Hope Ozer

Local resident of 33 years, Hope Ozer, has been serving as a volunteer on the Board of Adjustment for over 30 years, estimating serving over 80 hours per month.

“I believe it is vitally important to be active in the community in which I live,” Ms. Ozer said in an April 6 written response to emailed questions.

Ms. Ozer first began attending town council meetings to familiarize herself with the needs and the challenges of the town before being asked by the mayor if she was interested in serving her local government.

“I have always believed that volunteerism is what makes community,” Ms. Ozer explained. “There is opportunity in each and every one of our lives to make time to get outside of ourselves and make a difference. No matter what one’s passion is — or discovers — there is endless need in our greater community to give back.”

The Board of Adjustment chairwoman finds special qualities within the town she has called home for over three decades.

“As we are nestled between two big cities, TPV is unique in that it has both a sensation of being rural while also urban,” said Ms. Ozer. “There is the convenience and of ‘big city’ entertainment and sporting events as well as community volunteer and business opportunities while at the same time we live in peaceful exquisite surroundings. Can’t beat that!”

A view of the new street signs featuring Camelback Mountain. (photo by Melissa Fittro)

Furthering the brand

In recent months town residents may have noticed tan-colored, mountain-shaped signs bolted atop street signs.

The new project has been on-going since last fall and was completed in March, according to Town Engineering Analyst, Jeremy Knapp, who was the project manager on the “Marquee Street ID Signs.”

“The idea was to further the town’s identity or brand along its major arterials, Lincoln and Tatum, so residents and visitors alike are aware they are in someplace special,” Mr. Knapp said in a March 5 emailed response to questions.

The project was first identified by the town council and incorporated into the town’s Capital Improvement Program three years ago, Mr. Knapp explained.

“I love our new marquee street sings on Lincoln and Tatum,” Mayor Collins said.

Jeremy Knapp

“Unlike most street signs, our marquee signs are not illuminated nor do they contain the official municipal seal. They are simple yet elegant, and their Camelback Mountain silhouette reminds residents and visitors alike of why this is such a special place to be.”

The signs were specifically designed and built for the Town of Paradise Valley by local sign vendor, Smithcraft, Mr. Knapp said.

“The town council has a goal to specifically further the town’s brand. One way to do this is to incorporate branding elements as part of capital improvement projects.”

Additionally, town staff is working on a study coined, “visually significant corridors,” which will be incorporated into the Mobility Element of the General Plan.

The focus on the visually significant corridors is to promote the character and image of the town, among a list of other guidelines.

“Leading up to the 2012 town General Plan, a group of 50 or so residents participated in an extensive visioning process that identified those characteristics of Paradise Valley that were so important to safeguard, improve upon, and continue for future generations,” Mayor Collins said.

The identity or brand the town created was firmly articulated in the 2012 General Plan, which was approved by nearly 80 percent of voters.

“Over the past several years we have been busy implementing many elements of the 2012 plan to exemplify this brand and the results are now starting to show.”

The investments in Paradise Valley roadways, rights-of-way, and entrances to the community what continuing to reinforce the brand which sets the town apart from its neighbors.

“It’s not accident that we don’t look or feel like our neighboring communities,” said Mayor Collins.

News Services Editor Melissa Fittro can be reached by e-mail at mfittro@newszap.com or follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MelissaFittro

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