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On Friday, Dec. 5, Metropolitan Pima Alliance will present an award to Rancho Sahuarita at its annual Common Ground Award Ceremony, recognizing the community as the first-ever Project of the Decade.

MPA, a nonprofit advocate of responsible land development, created the Project of the Decade award as part of the ten-year anniversary of its Common Ground Awards Ceremony. The award is given in recognition of the challenges overcome during Rancho Sahuarita’s creation, and of the impact it has made on Sahuarita and surrounding areas.

“Many MPA members know the history of Rancho Sahuarita and the vision that was created at the onset with the lake in the desert,” says Amber Smith, MPA Executive Director. “There were many skeptics, financial challenges and a lack of political will. But Rancho Sahuarita has anchored the town of Sahuarita and provided for its growth and development over the past ten years, while creating a genuine ‘live-work-play’ environment.”

Rancho Sahuarita was developed by Bob Sharpe in the early 2000s, and has consistently been a top-selling community since the first home closed in 2002. Over a decade later, more than 5,000 families call Rancho Sahuarita “home,” and the community includes schools, shopping, and more recreational amenities than any other development in Southern Arizona. In 2008, Rancho Sahuarita was the best-selling community in Arizona, and was recognized as the fifth best-selling community in the nation. Also, in 2008, Rancho Sahuarita was featured on the ABC program “Nightline,” in a segment entitled “The Last American Boomtown.”

According to Sharpe, the vision of Rancho Sahuarita began as a place that was different from most traditional communities. “We imagined Rancho Sahuarita as a place where people can enjoy the things in life that really matter: family, friends, and fun,” he says. Early advertising emphasized the ease of enjoying a full, active lifestyle through the community’s abundant recreation opportunities for kids and adults.

In addition to amenities like Club Rancho Sahuarita and the splash park (the largest private water park in Southern Arizona), part of the small-town feel that Rancho Sahuarita is celebrated for is attributable to collaboration between community partners.

Most important, perhaps, are Rancho Sahuarita’s builder partners. Ten award-winning builders have a presence in the community, and Richmond American and KB Home are actively building homes in Rancho Sahuarita’s northern region.

With over 5,000 lots remaining to be built out, additional commercial and mixed-use development planned, and a Community Facilities District approved last May, Rancho Sahuarita’s future looks bright. The next phase of infrastructure for an additional 500 lots will begin construction in 2015.

“Although we have been very fortunate to accomplish so much in such a short time, the most exciting part of this project for me is that we are only half-way done,” says Sharpe.

The Project of the Decade award belongs to the entire Rancho Sahuarita community, and to celebrate, residents are invited to attend the annual Winterfest celebration in the Town Center on Saturday, Dec. 13. Winterfest is a great example of the collaborative spirit Rancho Sahuarita is being recognized for by the Project of the Decade award, and a special Project of the Decade entry will be included in the parade of lights.

Winterfest Celebration
Saturday, December 13
5 – 9 p.m.
Sahuarita Town Center

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