New to the valley?

MOVING TO PHOENIX?

If you recently moved to the greater Phoenix area, or are just thinking about moving here, we have a team that would like to help. Phoenix is the fast-growing city and county in the country so there are literally hundreds of people moving here every day. Our team wants to help you navigate all the complexities that come with moving to a brand new city, but also welcome you into our church family. 

If you fill out the form below and let us know a little bit about you and your situation, one of our volunteers will contact you and help in any way they can. If possible, we would love to meet up with you on a Sunday so we can show you around and introduce you to the church as well. We look forward to meeting you. 

Here is some basic info about the Greater Phoenix area we thought would be helpful. 

Phoenix Area & Maricopa County

  • The entire county is run by one massive design plan with streets laid out on a grid system so that there is very little traffic and it’s very easy to get around. The 101 and 202 are the main freeway to get around the city and it will be completed as a full circle in time. This is very different than having different cities and counties with varying interests. This makes the area very pro-growth with fully integrated transportation, utilities etc. across the entire county.
  • Maricopa County is 500 square miles – 1.6 million people in Phoenix – 4.3 million people in the metro area. It’s a vast area which is why multi-site churches are popular.#5 largest American city
  • #1 Fastest growing city and county
  • #8 most biblically illiterate. 
  • Some state income tax but not as high as California. 
  • Libertarian  – swings conservative and liberal on various issues politically.
  • Growth areas tend to be in the SE toward Gilbert and Chandler, and in the NE toward Peoria, Desert Ridge, and up toward Anthem.
  • Cost of living is much lower than most West Coast Cities. Housing is about half of southern California, Seattle, Portland etc. 
  • No daylight savings time. yay!
  • 60% white, 40% Hispanic across the county
  • Sunny 90% of the time 330 days a year, about 3 months of 100+ degree highs (June, July, August)
  • Colleges include Arizona State in Tempe which is America’s largest university (60,000+ students), University of Arizona in Tucson 2 hours away, Grand Canyon University in Glendale which is Christian and 22,00 students at a reasonable price point for a private school, Northern Arizona University 2 hours away in Flagstaff, and Phoenix Seminary along with a branch of Gateway Seminary.  
  • Vacation spots include Flagstaff with a ski resort 2 hours away, Show Low and Pinetop in the White Mountains 2 hours away with a ski resort 1 more hour up the mountain, Grand Canyon 4 hours away, San Diego and Orange County and Disneyland 6 hours away. There are also lakes such as Lake Pleasant and Lake Saguaro and Bartlett Lake. You can boat on these lakes and the water is cold from snow melt.

Getting to Know Areas 

Tempe
9 miles south of Phoenix, oldest part of town, home to ASU, some Mormon families and temples, 162,000 people. It still has some horse properties.

Scottsdale
12 miles NE of Phoenix, has Old Town with a lot of coffee shops and restaurants, the nicest part of town, good shopping, 230,000 people, housing costs are higher, great K-12 schools. This is a premiere place to live with great schools, housing, shopping, and a higher cost of living. In Scottsdale, which is a large area, are pocket areas like Paradise Valley which is affluent. Scottsdale is more central in every way.

North
Cave Creek and Carefree – this is a growing area, has some affluent areas around Pinnacle Peak, has newer housing going in, good schools, and some areas that are very cowboy with horses and saloons. The real estate is cheaper than Scottsdale and you can get a larger lost home. It is also 6-8 degrees cooler since it’s got a big of elevation.

SE Valley
This is a vast area that is growing, has numerous large evangelical churches, and includes numerous cities:

Chandler
22 miles SE of Phoenix, great for families, lower housing costs, 250,000 people, fast growing area, lots of Mormons. Lots of new housing going in.

Mesa
20 miles SE of Phoenix, lots of families, 440,000 people, 77% white 23% Hispanic, lots of Mormons, recently voted most conservative city in America. Lots of new housing going in. NE Mesa has nice large homes for families less expensive than Scottsdale. 

Gilbert
22 miles SE of Phoenix, fast growing, “Best Places to Live” award, highly educated with 35% having a degree, 82% white, very safe, affluent, cheap housing, Gilbert Christian School is there. Fairly high Mormon population. Lots of new housing going in. It has great up and coming destination dining in the “Heritage District” and “Agritopia”.

Fountain Hills
This is a beautiful area up in the NE mountains. The problem is that it’s remote – being alongside tribal land it’s hard to get in and out of the area but it has great views and a small town feel.

Glendale
Everything above is on the east side, and Glendale is on the west side. It’s about 9 miles from Phoenix, around 250,000 people and a growing still into Peoria. It has nice and rough areas. This is where the Super Bowl was and where Grand Canyon University is. 

Peoria
In the NW this is a nice family area with reasonable housing and good schools that are more like the SE Valley. This is also home to Spring Training, and has some good large churches.

West
To the west of Phoenix are cities such as Tolleson, Avondale, Goodyear, and Buckeye. There is still a lot of open land here as this part of the city really took a hit during the 2007 crash. It has inexpensive homes, and a lot of blue collar folks who commute in on the busiest stretch of highway. This area is growing with families seeking inexpensive housing.

Schools

Arizona is an “open enrollment” school choice state. This means you have options and the parents have the primary decision making power of their kids education: 

1). You can find out what your “assigned” school is. Your assigned school is the one that has to allow you to attend and you don’t need a formal process of application. It can be tough to find out what your assigned school is so you can try and plug in your address at www.azcharters.org and click the bottom left blue link, or you can call the school district and ask them. 

2). If you want to attend a public or charter school that is not your assigned school, you can apply for any school you like but it’s a two-fold process. One, you have to fill out an “open enrollment” form at the District, and also a second application at the school you want. Some schools have a waiting list and so it can take a few weeks to get this all done. It’s a lot of paperwork but opens a wide ranger of good school options.

The different school districts start at different times. So, for example in the SE Chandler started the third week in July, Gilbert started about a week later, the Christian schools started the first or second week of August, and up in Scottsdale the Christian Academy started late August. For a family with multiple children, getting them all in the same district so they are on the same vacation and break schedule is helpful.  

When it comes to schools, there are a lot of options. Traditional academies often have uniforms and run a more classic program of a focus on reading and writing. Charter schools tend to also have uniforms and higher academic expectations. The larger public schools have to compete for students and so they often have great programming and options that the smaller academies and charter schools cannot provide. Lots of families will apply to more than one district to keep their options open and hold spots until right around the time school starts. The key seems to be to apply early, as early as December, for the following school year. Otherwise, wait lists develop.

For private Christian schools there are also some nice incentives. There are tax benefits for paying tuition. Also, Arizona has a plan where people can designate the first $2000 of their tax money to a Christian school to cover the child from another family, but you cannot do this for your own family.