Reviews & Comments
Gilbert, AZThoughts from a Midwest Transplant
The reason I chose to write a review is because, while a few were indeed quite concise & accurate (looking at you, J.T.), some were astonishingly biased and/or isolated critiques that painted this small city with a broad brush. I, therefore, thought I would offer my perspective.
My review needs to be qualified as insight coming from a "transplant" rather than a native-born Arizonian. My bride & I have no kids, and we relocated in 2011 from the Midwest. I will only offer a review to what I have repeatedly experienced -- climate, housing/crime, roads, culture, shopping & entertainment, commute and friendliness -- and will leave out categories with little-to-no personal exposure.
With that in mind, for those readers with children, my exposure to the educational system as a resident without kids is quite limited to the same sources that any person can obtain online: beter-than-average elementary and high school (Gilbert High). Like everything else, parenting and family standards will dictate how far your own child excels more so than any teacher. Having read a couple reviews, all I can say is blaming a professional instructor all the time only makes a parent appear weak and disengaged. But I'll leave that category to your own further research.
CLIMATE: Coming from the Midwest, and having lived through 8 metro Phoenix summers, I have to give high marks to the climate. Now, I have to make it clear that everyone responds to heat differently, and many of us come with prior experience in other regions of the country. For us, we've found that we much rather deal with a few months of a 100+ degree dry heat than a few months of below-zero temps, ice & slush, shoveling snow, scraping windshields, salty roads, and the slip 'n' fall threats to loved ones. I look at it in context: as long as one is not digging ditches during the months of June - Sept, one merely needs to limit any outdoor chores to 10:00 AM, then take advantage of shaded areas or A/C for the remainder of the day. It's 2019, and every facility in GIlbert has it. As I said, this category is one that can only be based on each person's tolerance to heat.
HOUSING / CRIME: While Gilbert has plenty of socio-economic strata to meet one's individual housing standards, it ranks above the national average in real estate value. Part of that is due to the low crime rate that Gilbert continues to enjoy in many published national rankings (ranked #6 in the 10 Safest Cities in America, May 2019). This is not to say there is no crime in Gilbert. Only that the crime in GIlbert is well below the national average, and the murder rate in Gilbert is very, very low. Theft does occur, but it's on a smaller scale, and the locals sometimes act irresponsibly by leaving garage doors open or vehicles unlocked. Reviewers who complained about too many police vehicles seen on the road are likely reviews from the local youth. But I get it. Still, if you want to get crazy and break some laws in Gilbert, AZ, you may want to reconsider. The odds are not in your favor, and that's the way the parents who pay good money for their property like it. Such is life!
For housing, there are both HOA and non-HOA communities, depending on your degree of tolerance for "conformity" and structure, and prices range from mid-200's for modest 3-BR homes on very small lots, all the way up to 7-figure custom behemoths. The average is in the mid-300's. The roads in Gilbert are outstanding, multi-laned and well maintained, and the traffic lights are timed to the 45-mph speed limit on main thoroughfares.
SHOPPING & ENTERTAINMENT: We live 5 minutes from downtown Gilbert, so access to an array of critically-acclaimed eating venues is convenient. Outside of downtown Gilbert, there are strip centers on every major intersection, and restaurants of various cuisines reside there. You're likely within 15 minutes of any well-rated ethnic restaurant. Plus, neighboring suburbs (Chandler, Tempe, Mesa, Queen Creek) have a plethura of night spots from which to choose. There is also an abundance of large grocery stores as well as shopping areas and outdoor malls in Gilbert. They will likely satisfy any standards you may personally possess.
CULTURE: Gilbert is a mostly-conservative, predominantly Caucasian town of 200K. (More diversity can be found in Tempe and Central Phoenix.) The bride & I have found that people are kind to one another. Not to spend too much time on religion, but there is a fair mix of religions practiced in Gilbert. Yes, this city has a fair amount of Mormons. But, as a non-Mormon, I can honesly say that my experience with them (several on my block) has been nothing but outstanding & positive. They are truly family-oriented, and they go out of their way to be kind, helpful and friendly. Such a rapport will hinge on your own personality- whether or not you take the neighborly initiative to be friendly to them like you would anyone else. The kids here are like kids anywhere else-- they want to look and act hip & edgy. Some come from more disciplined households, while other's rules are more lax. Pretty much the same as Anytown, USA.
If I had to pick one Con...there's not enough cultural venues here, so I wouldn't recommend this town if you're single. It's more for families of any age group. Gilbert does have a live downtown theater. Plus, neighboring towns within a short drive do host art fairs, sports arenas and more theaters. Still, coming from a larger cosmopolitan city in the Midwest, one can get spoiled being used to numerous museums, concerts, theaters, comedy clubs, night clubs and sporting arenas.
COMMUTE: Gilbert is 40 minutes from downtown Phoenix, 30 minutes from Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix. Depending on where you live in Gilbert, it's about 30 minutes from Scottsdale, and about 25 minutes from Tempe. If you work in Phoenix, the morning commute will be under 45 minutes. It's seasonal, too, as the snowbirds from the North will swell the entire Valley's population by an add'l 30% in winter months, and that may impact your drive from time to time. Nevertheless, you have the lovely San Tan or Superstition Mountains to accompany you on your commute. And there's nothing negative that can be said about that!
In summary, my 8 years of exposure to Gilbert can state that this is a great town with a lot to offer a family of any size. It lacks a diverse cultural dynamic, but you're not too far from areas that have what you seek. Apologies for its length. I was simply trying to be thorough.
Prescott Financial Trouble
I respect your insight & opinion. Both you and Teresa posted a lot to unpack here, so let's get to it...
Let's start with Miller Valley: according to the Prescott News, it appears the property was approved by the board for purchase in Oct. 2017: "Ironline Partners bought the former Dexter Elementary School building last year. Now it has bought the former Miller Valley Elementary School property. Howard says this was a hard process for Board members to go through. Prescott Unified School District Superintendent Joe Howard says they have one more building to sell. Howard explains once that happens, District staff will move to Washington Traditional School on Gurley Street. A contract for a company to buy the District offices on Granite Street has been approved by the Prescott School Board." Some call this an attack on age-old landmarks, while others call it progress. I offer no opinion on this, just perspective. It appears that students are not being denied an education, being relocated elsewhere, which is most important. This building did have history & nostalgia, no doubt, but it is not a landmark listed in the National Registry. I would not be so afraid of progress, as it has brought better facilities, utilities, aesthetics & technology.
As for the shortage of MDs and good restaurants, there seems to be an abundance of available data that suggests otherwise. Since the demographics of Prescott show over 50% of its residents are over age 50, sources also mention adequate medical resources with Yavapai RMC and its 2 locations are awarded nine 5-Star ratings and 4 Quality Awards by Healthgrades. Given there are only 44K Prescott residents, I'd say that's not bad at all. There are more congested areas in the US that have less. As for restaurants, I am not sure what you qualify as "good". Do you speak of "white tablecloth" venues, or more authentic Italian, French or Mediterranean cuisine? So I'll have to leave that alone due to a lack of you qualifying your remark.
Teresa's comments or, rather, her vitriol, seems to be steeped in bias. It is, therefore, difficult to separate fact from partisanship, which is too bad because she does speak with a history of 7 years of residency. Unfortunately, she shows her hand with such disdain & hatred for over 50% of the entire national population that I found her opinions without merit and disqualifying. Protracted tirades over "illegal aliens" and "pussy hat-wearing liberals", and comparing a vast number of her fellow Americans to cockroaches only tells me that she is innately insecure, likely grossly underfunded in her current age status, which is causing such resentment and ugliness to ooze from her existence that it should come as no wonder these "flaky" people who meet & greet her one day with kindness learn of her biases & bigotry, elect to ignore her the next time she is encountered. As a moderate, I would do the exact same thing. Life is too short to be bothered by narrow-minded, mean-spirited people. In short, this woman needs to leave the social & political melting pot of a Prescott and move to a more inexpensive rural region in Montana (if she can handle having a Dem senator named Jon Tester, of course). Knowing that she IS indeed moving should please many citizens of all stripes already in or considering moving to Prescott.