I hang my hat in Sierra Vista, Arizona. I have lived here in southern Arizona for the majority of my twenty-six years of life. I grew up on a ranch about eleven miles outside of Douglas, Arizona. In eighth grade, I had the opportunity to attend a two-room school where I was the only eight grader. The eighth grade graduation at Apache was all about me, what an experience! With that in mind, one can imagine the culture shock I faced when I moved to Sierra Vista to attend high school; I went from being the only eighth grader to being one of about two thousand students. I am glad to say I survived and enjoyed every bit of it.
Sierra Vista has grown a great amount since I moved here in 1992 therefore a lot has changed. We actually have a mall, though small, it is still a mall. The Mall at Sierra Vista is an enclosed mall with a total of 400,000-square-feet of retail space. The mall includes Dillard’s and Sears, a 10-screen, state-of-the-art Cinemark Movie Theater, a food court and about 50 other stores. The Mall at Sierra Vista is the first major mall to be built in southeastern Arizona outside the Tucson metropolitan area. Next to the mall, we have an Applebee’s, Home Depot and the Marriott Hotel. Along with these businesses, construction of more hotels, a Lowe’s, and IHOP are currently in progress. Job opportunities continue to arise, not only with these new businesses, but also in the construction business as well.
Sierra Vista also provides nearly every adult with the opportunity to further their education with colleges and universities that offer on-site classes as well as online courses. Just to name a few, we have a Cochise Community College campus, a University of Arizona South campus, a University of Phoenix and a Western International University campus.
In business, a well known saying is, “location, location, location,” I have to say that Sierra Vista has been an excellent, if not the best location, it practically has it all. Business is booming, yes, but if you want peace and tranquility, Sierra Vista is surrounded by mountain ranges and the last free-flowing river of the Southwest, the San Pedro River is just a few miles away. There are plenty of opportunities for hiking, bird watching, and even romantic scenic drives. There is even the world’s newest “living” cave, Kartchner Caverns, only 19 miles.
If it is a taste of the “Old Southwest” you want, Tombstone “The Town Too Tough to Die”, is only 16 miles away. I enjoy the fun during “Hell Dorado Days” and have watched a few gunfights over the years. For the history lovers, Bisbee is only 26 miles away with the awesome site of the Lavender Pit, which is so cool to ride on the mine train to explore much of the mine and learn how they mined copper. Douglas, which is home to the beautiful Gadsden Hotel, along with other historical buildings and an entry point to Mexico, is only 60 miles away.
As a high schooler growing up, I did not realize how lucky I was to have many of the opportunities and unique experiences that came with living in Sierra Vista. As an adult raising four children of my own, I realize the importance of good schools, good people, and good communities with plenty of opportunities. These are the reasons I, along with many Sierra Vistans, are raising our families here in Sierra Vista, Arizona.