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Vista (Spanish for "Mountain View") is a thriving community of 40,000
people that serves as the regional center for southeastern Arizona.
Located approximately 75 miles southeast of Tucson, the city is
surrounded by the unique beauty of the Huachuca, Dragoon, and Mule
Mountains, and is bordered on the east by the San Pedro River--one
of the Nature Conservancy's 10 Last Great Places. At an elevation
of 4,600 feet, Sierra Vista not only boasts magnificent mountain
views, but also a temperate year-round climate, abundant sunshine,
and clean, fresh air.
The history of Sierra Vista began with the establishment of Fort
Huachuca in 1877. As a camp, and later as a fort, the post
was the home base of the famed "Buffalo Soldiers" of the 9th and
10th Cavalry. The missions of the post at that time were to secure
the southern borders of the expanding United States and to protect
settlers from Indian attack. Several major commands now operate
on Fort Huachuca, including the U.S. Army Information Systems Command,
the Army intelligence Center and School, and the Electronic Proving
Initially, the areas around Fort Huachuca were virtually unpopulated
except for a few small ranches spread along the San Pedro River
and close to the mountains. A small community, however, gradually
began to grow east of the fort. In 1956, this community was incorporated
as Sierra Vista; Fort Huachuca was annexed by the city in 1971.
Since its incorporation, Sierra Vista has steadily grown to encompass
more than 130 square miles and nearly 40,000 people.
The City of Sierra Vista is a council-manager municipality; the
City Council sets public policy while a professional city manager
implements policy and oversees the day-to-day operation of the city.
Both the Police
and Fire Departments have earned awards for outstanding service.
The Parks and Leisure Services Department operates numerous parks,
athletic fields, and an Olympic-size swimming pool, and 2 modern
community centers is the home of active seniors and other community
programs. A beautiful new 31,000 square foot public library is well-equipped
to service the community's information needs.
The Sierra Vista Regional Health Center and the Raymond
W. Bliss Army Health Center serve the community's health
care needs along with two modern care centers. Medical personnel
of all major specialties are available in the area.
The local school district enjoys an excellent reputation in the
academic community. The local
public school system includes a high school, two middle
schools, and six elementary schools. Higher education is also available
through the University of Arizona South Campus, Cochise Community
College, the University of Phoenix, Western International University,
and Chapman University.
Sierra Vista is the commercial center for Cochise County and parts
of northern Mexico. To meet the area's growing needs, a 400,000
square foot mall opened in late 19999. Major retailers such as J.C.
Penney, K-Mart, Wal-Mart, Target, and Sears are already represented
in smaller shopping plazas, as are branches of several major Arizona
banks. In addition, there are four well-stocked supermarkets/pharmacies
and dozens of smaller specialty shops. Fine dining is also available
throughout the area.
A new ten-screen movie theater and two three-screen movie theaters
offer the latest in cinematic entertainment. A variety of television
channels are available through Cox Communications, the area's cable
provider, and local AM and FM radio stations broadcast a variety
of formats. Two newspapers--a daily and a weekly--cover the area's
Activities and Attractions
Sierra Vista offers a variety of cultural and family oriented activities
throughout the year. The Winter Arts Festival and Arts Discovery
Series present an ongoing program of plays, concerts, musicals,
dances, readings, and recitals. Annual events include the Arizona
Junior Rodeo, the Thunder
Mountain Marathon, the Buffalo Soldier Celebration, the
Fourth of July Celebration, the Southwest Wings Birding Festival,
the Art in the Park arts and crafts festival, the Family Festival,
Cinco de Mayo Festival and the Business & Services Expo, and
the largest holiday parade in Arizona to name a few.
Recreational facilities include two championship golf courses, first-class
bowling lanes, public and private tennis courts, a firearms range,
and several sports clubs. Major service clubs, veterans groups,
and fraternal organizations are active in the city, and there are
more than 30 places of worship.
Nicknamed the "Hummingbird Capital of the United States," bird watchers
from all over the world flock to the nearby Ramsey
Canyon Preserve and other local canyons to observe and photograph
hundreds of different species. Other Outdoor sightseeing and recreational
opportunities abound at the San
Pedro Riparian Conservation Area, the Coronado National Monument
in the Huachuca Mountains, Cochise stronghold in the Dragoon Mountains,
Chiricahua National Monument, and Madera Canyon and the newly opened
spectacular Kartchner Caverns State Park.