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Gilbert is classified as a town within the Greater Phoenix area, an it has an impressive growth rate that's bringing it national attention. Earning it the title of one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S., Gilbert's population has grown exponentially in the past few decades, doubling from 2000 to 2010 alone. Today, it's often named among the safest cities in America, attracting a large number of families thanks to its many schools, family-friendly amenities and sense of community.
The History of Gilbert
Gilbert was named after William "Bobby" Gilbert, who donated his land to the Arizona Eastern Railway to allow construction in 1902. Gilbert's first store opened in 1910 and was turned into a post office by 1912. The official site of the town changed several times over the years while the surrounding area began to flourish as an agricultural community. One of its main agricultural products was alfalfa, earning Gilbert its nickname the "the Hay Capital of the World."
Gilbert was officially incorporated in 1920, and it continued to grow and modernize over the next several decades. Today, the town's agricultural roots are still evident in its large number of crop fields and dairy farms, but its economy and population have diversified quite a bit.
Living in Gilbert
With a family-friendly feel and a strong business community, Gilbert has consistently been named as a top place to live. It's close enough to the capital city of Phoenix to provide easy access to sports venues, events and state landmarks, but it's far enough away to offer the quiet suburban lifestyle that many young families prefer.
Gilbert is a fairly traditional suburb, with neighborhood pockets separated by a variety of commercial and business districts. This makes every-day life convenient, because most homes have basic amenities like grocery stores within easy driving distance. A mix of chain establishments and unique local businesses can be found throughout Gilbert, providing variety in shopping and dining.
The town of Gilbert is home to a large number of public parks, and most of its neighborhoods contain private residents-only parks as well. The Riparian Preserve is a large nature preserve in town focused on providing natural habitat for local birds and fish while creating a space for efficient water treatment. With over four miles of walking and biking trails, the preserve provides areas to explore several different habitats as well as a catch-and-release fishing lake. Another large park in Gilbert is Freestone Park, home to several children's playgrounds, expansive green spaces and a child-sized train that circles the park.
Here are a few neighborhoods you'll want to check out in Gilbert:
The downtown area of Gilbert is the heart of its historic district, mainly along a short span of Gilbert Road. In recent years, it's seen an explosion of growth and has welcomed a large number of new, trendy restaurants and local businesses.
Val Vista Lakes
The Val Vista Lakes community is a unique oasis in the desert, offering lakefront property and a variety of amenities. This family-friendly neighborhood is also home to a large pool that's designed to look like a tropical ocean bay, complete with a sandy beach surrounded by palm trees.
As one of the more recent additions to Gilbert, the Power Ranch neighborhood is a massive master-planned community spanning several square miles and thousands of single-family homes. This area includes several private community parks, man-made lakes, splash pads, swimming pools, sport courts and clubhouses.
Gilbert's agricultural roots inspired Agritopia, which was designed to provide a unique sense of village living. The neighborhood contains a large community farm, citrus groves and several local restaurants.
Schools in Gilbert
The majority of Gilbert's public schools fall within the jurisdiction of the Gilbert Unified School District, which manages early-childhood, elementary, middle and high schools. There are also a large number of charter schools in Gilbert, including Edu-prize, the first charter school in Arizona. If you're planning to send your child to private school, you have both faith-based and secular options to choose from.
Resources for Moving to Gilbert
Here are a few basic resources to help make your move to Gilbert as easy as possible:
- Utilities: The main electricity providers in Gilbert are the Salt River Project (SRP) and Arizona Public Service (APS). The town's utility division provides water and sewer services.
- Garbage and Recycling: Both trash and recyclables are collected weekly, and bulk item pick-up is scheduled periodically throughout the year.
Transportation: Public transit is extremely limited in Gilbert, so personal vehicles are the most popular mode of transportation by far. There are limited bus routes in the area, and there is a park-and-ride facility downtown.
The median home price in Gilbert is higher than the national average, due in part to high demand and a quickly growing population. The housing market is extremely active, with homes selling very quickly. However, there are many housing options to choose from, ranging from multi-family apartment communities to large single-family homes with acreage.