In the November 10, 2008 issue Business Week recognized Gilbert as one of the top places in Arizona to raise children. Obviously, they have their rating system which produced Gilbert as their top pick and makes parents in other towns & cities cry foul. Knowing the valley pretty well I reflected on the different qualities of each town and instead of questioning their choice, I tried to build a list in my mind of why I would support Gilbert a top choice, even if it was not number 1.
What makes Gilbert a top choice
- Schools – School performance was one of the factors weighted heavily in the evaluation of towns of at least 50,000 and a median family income of $40,000 – $100,000. The Gilbert school district is consistently a top performing district in the valley. Living in Arizona, you also have the opportunity to choose a charter school if you wish, which are privately run and publically fund so there is no additional tuition cost.
- Safety – The other factor that was weighted heavily in the analysis. Gilbert so far has been able to achieve low crime rates in many categories and hopefully that trend continues.
Now here are the unique parts of Gilbert that I believe need to be highlighted.
- Parks – Obviously, Freestone Park comes to mind when you talk about Gilbert parks. Gilbert also has a canine friendly park, called Cosmo Dog Park located at the 202 and Ray Road. In west Gilbert, McQueen District Park is home to the 27,000 sq.ft. McQueen Activity Center that includes indoor basketball, air hockey, ping pong tables, billiard tables, multi-purpose and classrooms. For a more detailed list , click on Gilbert Town Parks. The Riparian Preserve is a one of a kind 110 acre wildlife environment that is unique to Gilbert and home to over 200 bird species.
- Transportation – As you can see on the Gilbert town outline, the addition of the new 202 freeway makes Gilbert much more accessible and reduces the commute time for those working in Chandler or Phoenix.
- Shopping – Not high on my list, but my wife has repeatedly stressed to me how important this is. Because it is not a priority I have not taken any pictures since I only frequent malls on mothers day, Christmas and my wife’s birthday. With the opening of the 202 freeway, shopping/retail development has increased dramatically. This is especially true of the area at Williams Field and the 202.
- Variety of Property. Gilbert has more waterfront communities than any other city in Phoenix. It also has waterski lake home communities including Playa del Rey Estates, Santan Lakeside Estates, and Crystal Point. Lakefront communities include Val Vista Lakes, The Islands, Lago Estancia, Stonebridge, and Windrift. Gilbert also has a good variety of horse property with irrigation for those with an equestrian interest. If you’re looking for a luxury custom home in a peaceful setting, Gilbert will not disappoint you.
- Planning – It is frequently mentioned how Gilbert has been one of the fastest growing cities in the nation. One document that assists them in controlling this growth is the Gilbert land use map. Land use maps are common to many valley cities, but Gilbert has had the advantage of being such a relatively new city and being able to follow this as a guideline in its development.
- Entertainment – In this respect, it’s good we have access to other parts of the valley. However, it you’ve never been to the Hale Centre Theatre, you really need to put it on your list.
There are a lot of great places to raise children in Arizona, including Gilbert.