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Coordinates: 33°20′30.3″N 111°59′2.5″W / 33.34175°N 111.984028°W / 33.34175; -111.984028

Ahwatukee
—  Urban village of Phoenix, Arizona  —
A typical Ahwatukee neighborhood seen from South Mountain Park
Location of Ahwatukee Foothills highlighted in red.
Country United States
State Arizona
County Maricopa
City Phoenix
Website Ahwatukee Foothills Village Planning Committee

Ahwatukee (formally "Ahwatukee Foothills Village") is an affluent L-shaped neighborhood of Phoenix, Arizona bordered on the north by South Mountain Park and Baseline Road, on the east by Interstate 10 and the cities of Chandler, Guadalupe, and Tempe, and on the south and west by the Gila River Indian Community. It is the southernmost of the city's 15 urban villages. As of 2000, the 35.8 square-mile (92.7 km²) village has a population of 85,000. [3]

Although annexed by the city of Phoenix between 1978 and 1987, before substantial residential growth, many of Ahwatukee's residents do not strongly associate their region with the rest of the city, due in part to its geographic isolation (South Mountain and South Mountain Park separate Ahwatukee from virtually all of the other 14 urban villages of Phoenix, which lie to the north).

The newspaper serving the area, the Ahwatukee Foothills News[4] has been publishing for more than 30 years, and was founded by Clay Schad.

Contents

History

Legend has it that in 1921, Dr. and Mrs. W.V.B. Ames built a house on approximately 2,000 acres (8.1 km²) on the southeast side of South Mountain. They gave the area its original name, Casa de Sueños, which in Spanish means, "House of Dreams." Dr. Ames died within just three months of moving into the house, and after Mrs. Ames' death in 1933 the house and most of the land was willed to St. Luke's Hospital, then bought in 1935 by Miss Helen Brinton, who appeared to have retranslated the name of the house to the Crow word which now serves as the name of the village. The house was demolished in 1979, and parts of it were used to build the Our Lady of Guadalupe church. Marty Gibson was the first to write a book on the history of Ahwatukee, titled, "The History of Ahwatukee."

As it turns out, the Crow translation for "House of Dreams" (ashe ammeewiawe) sounds nothing like Ahwatukee. More likely, she named the town after the Crow words awe chuuke, meaning, more aptly for the city than "house of dreams," "land on the other side of the hill," or "land in the next valley." This is, at first glance, a curious choice on her part because the Crow are a native northern plains tribe originally based in Wyoming, now residing in southeast Montana, and have never been associated with Arizona where the Apache, Hopi, Pima and Navajo are indigenous. However, Brinton, actually having spent much time in the Wyoming (Crow) vicinities and finally making her last home there, would have very likely been strongly influenced by her experience in Wyoming enough to use a Crow-derived name for the beloved land she left behind. This seeming inconsistency only serves to add to the lore of Ahwatukee. [1]

In 1971 part of the land was purchased, subdivided, and developed into a residential community by the Presley Development Company, owned by Elvis Presley's uncle.

Ahwatukee has grown as the city acquired other land parcels to the west, including land owned by International Harvester, which operated a proving ground for earth-moving equipment there from 1947 to 1983. The state of Arizona has bought, sold, or swapped land several times, including transferring state trust land to developers in controversial auctions in which residents and conservationists have lobbied for the space to be converted to parkland.[2] [3]

Neighborhood characteristics

Surrounded to the northwest by South Mountain Park, and blocked to the east by I-10 and to the south by the Gila River Indian Community, Ahwatukee Foothills is geographically isolated from the city which it is part of, Phoenix. Due to its relatively few access points (mainly through a few bridges across Interstate 10), it has been called The World's Largest Cul-de-sac. This changed, however, when the hotly contested South Mountain Freeway was built along the southern edge along what was Pecos Road; this freeway provides a truck bypass around downtown Phoenix and connects Ahwatukee to the west valley cities of Laveen, Avondale and Glendale. This freeway was under review for environmental impact and was challenged because of its high cost, its proximity to schools and homes, its actual value as a useful commuter route, and the controversy surrounding the required demolition of over 250 homes, businesses and churches as well as the leveling of a section of South Mountain itself, which the Gila Indian Community claims has religious value as well as its intrinsic value to the Phoenix community as a whole as it is part of the world's largest city park and one of the Phoenix "Points of Pride".

Although negativity originally surrounded the construction of the new section of the 202 freeway, it has significantly upgraded travel from Ahwatukee to Chandler and Gilbert. Where residents of Ahwatukee had to drive nearly 25 minutes through stop-light infested streets to reach the gleaming Chandler Fashion Center mall, they now enjoy a mere ten minute drive. Commerce along the freeway has also aided those who live in the far western parts of Chandler. These residents no longer need to drive a long distance to go shopping. Because of the freeway, large shops and plazas have opened much closer to home. Along with these upgrades, the freeway has helped to connect the entire valley in one large loop, making it easier for residents to remain on the freeway and reach their destination much faster.

Education

The area's K-8 students are served by the Kyrene School District. The Kyrene Schools in Ahwatukee include Kyrene Cerritos (K-5), Kyrene De La Colina (K-5), Kyrene de la Esperanza (K-5), Kyrene de las Lomas (K-5), Kyrene Estrella (K-5), Kyrene Monte Vista (K-5), Kyrene de los Lagos (K-5), Kyrene del Milenio (K-5), and Kyrene Sierra (K-5) elementary schools, and Centennial (6-8), Akimel A-al (6-8), Altadeña (6-8) middle schools. High school students go to one of two in the area: Desert Vista and Mountain Pointe. Both schools are operated by the Tempe Union High School District, the best, by test scores, school district in AZ[citation needed]. There are also a number of private/charter schools, including Keystone Montessori School, Horizon Community Learning Center Charter School, and Skyline Technical High School.

Climate

Ahwatukee receives approximately 12 inches of rainfall yearly.[4] Temperatures are mild during the winter months and daily highs average around 67 degrees F. In the summer, daily high temperatures average around 105 degrees F.

Lows rarely reach freezing temperatures during the winter months. However, cool air can fall from the upper elevations and settle in the lower terrains, causing variations in temperature.

Snow is extremely rare for the area, but on occasion can be seen on the Sierra Estrella mountain range to the southwest of the village.

Recreation

Ahwatukee with its proximity to the South Mountain Park, a Phoenix city park, has numerous outdoor activity opportunities. Cycling, hiking, baseball, soccer are common activities.

Hiking
Hiking in the Ahwatukee area is a popular activity in and around South Mountain Park. Telegraph Pass, Pima Canyon and Beverly Canyon are all popular trail heads with dozens of other trail areas also available.

Hiking Links

Cycling
Ahwatukee is a destination for road cyclists and mountain bikers. Road cycling clubs and community members utilize Pecos Road and the hills of Ahwatukee near 5th Avenue and Desert Foothills Parkway for training and scenic rides alike. A park and ride location is often used as a starting point for cyclists who live outside of the community.

Mountain bikers utilize the trails of South Mountain Park for riding opportunities. Various trails are available rated from easy to difficult throughout South Mountain Park.

Golf
Four golf courses are located within the community including:

Miscellaneous

Home of J. Murdaa "King of the Tuke" who is known for his underground rap hits which are played at all of the Ahwatukee house parties.

Ahwatukee is also known for its massive methamphetamine surge.

Famous residences include ex-NFL star Dave Krieg and current Arizona Cardinal Larry Fitzgerald. Also rumored to be the home of famous singer Rod Stewart.

References

External links

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