Authentic Arizona Wild West history comes to life in the streets of Tombstone
Tucson is one of the fastest growing cities in the United States. It supports its own professional theatre company, dance company, opera and symphony. Downtown Tucson and its impressive glass and steel skyscrapers reflect images of the past. Led by tourist demand, galleries, high end shopping, boutiques and cafes have given the city new life.
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is the states second most popular tourist attraction after the Grand Canyon. Tucson’s Saguaro National Park, elevated six years ago from national monument status to the nation’s 52-nd national park, consists of thousands of acres of candelabrum-shaped cactuses that annually attract more than 700,000 visitors.
Tucson has a genuine feel of the Old West, with its wide-open spaces and dusty ambience. Tucson was established more than 200 years ago as a presidio to protect citizens from warring Indians. Above it all are Tucson’s marvelous mountains- the Santa Ritas, Santa Catalinas and Rincons- serving as subliminal road signs for motorists. On rare rainy days when clouds hang low in the sky and obscure the mountain details, drivers lose all sense of direction.
Within its dry sierras, canyons and mesas, Tucson and its southern Arizona boundaries contain 27 varieties of cactus and a wide assortment of flora, wildlife and bird life. Desert walks are popular, especially at sunrise. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and Zoo was founded nearly 40 years ago, part of the 16,000-acre Tucson Mountain Park 12 miles west of town. Its cages are sand dunes, water holes, dry washes, rock caves, shrubs and trees. Glass panel viewing allows visitors to watch otters and beavers swim underwater. The museum maintains the precise natural habitat of the animals, fish, birds and insects it houses and protects everything from mountain lions to tarantulas and jaelinas to rattlesnakes. Along with the wildlife exhibits, under ground limestone caves can be explored. They’re part of the Earth Sciences Center, which includes meteor and mineral displays.
The state imposes a 5.6% retail sales tax, and Tucson imposes 2%.
Sales tax exemptions: Groceries and prescription drugs.
Social Security benefits and up to $2,500 in federal and Arizona state and local government pensions are exempts.
The tax ratio is figured on 10% of the full cash value, which is typically 80% to 85% the market value. For ever $100,000 in property value owners can expect to pay $1,400-$1,600 in property taxes, depending on location.
The metro area is home to 37 builders offering homes in 152 subdivisions. Homes are available in every style and price range, from affordable to very expensive. Newer homes offer a wife variety of single-story and multistory designs and include gas and electric utilities, garages for up to four cars, rounded interior corners and lots of horse privileges. Styles are overwhelmingly Spanish with earth tones, stucco finishes and tile roofs. The region includes 20 master-planned communities, several of which include golf courses. Nine are age restricted. Among options: SaddleBrooke by Robson Communities is an active-adult community set in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains. Residents enjoy 36 holes of championship golf, lighted tennis courts and scores of additional amenities at its MountainView Country Club (800-733-4050) or http://www.robson.com. The Academy Village is a unique ctive0adult community in the Rincon Valley east of Tucson. Founded by Dr. Henry Koffler, president emeritus of the University of Arizona, its heart is the Arizona Senior Academy, a nonprofit lifelong-learning organization that offers cultural and educational programs. All residents are members of the academy. Townhomes and single-family homes are available, (877-647-0171) or ww.theacademyvillage.com.
Metropolitan Tucson Convention and Visitors Bureau, 100 S. Church Ave. Tucson, AA 85701 (520-624-1817) (800-638-8350) or http://www.visittucson.org. Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, PO Box 991, 465 W. St. Marys Road, Tucson, AZ 85701, (520-792-1212) or http://www.tucsonchamber.org.