Book details 25-year history of Surprise’s 'piece of paradise' - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Valley And State

Book details 25-year history of Surprise’s 'piece of paradise'

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Posted: Friday, January 28, 2011 12:45 pm | Updated: 1:37 pm, Tue Apr 17, 2012.

In 2008, Peter Iverson began collecting testimonials from Sun Village residents in the hopes of compiling enough information and photos from 1986 and beyond to tell a story about the Surprise community’s history.

The book was to be released the following year.

To his surprise, Iverson said the project grew beyond belief because of the sheer volume of anecdotes and community information residents hoped to include. Though minor hiccups occurred along the way that delayed publishing, Iverson and other Sun Village representatives said they were astonished upon learning about what the planned retirement community means and provides to active-adult seniors involved in golf, clubs and other activities.

The community is located at 17300 N. Sun Village Parkway, north of Bell Road between Litchfield Road and Bullard Avenue.

Iverson said it wasn’t hard to convince residents to share their experiences and personal stories.

“There was no reluctance at all from anyone,” he said. “They all enjoyed being part of the process.”

The bound, 296-page “Sun Village History: From Desert to Paradise, 25 years 1986 to 2011,” which sells for $22, offers residents a one-stop source to read information detailing every club and activity available in Sun Village. Readers can learn, for example, which residents hold records in various events, as well as when activities like tennis, pickleball, golf, dance clubs and tea parties started.

In the end, Iverson, 82, said the idea of the book is to convey to Sun Village homeowners and the interested public “where we’ve been and come to be.”

“The book has a ‘here’s where we were’ and a ‘here’s where we are’ mentality,” Iverson said. “Everything in here is history.”

Iverson says the interaction homeowners have with one another and their willingness to get involved in activities of all kinds in state-of-the-art facilities is what sets Sun Village apart from other nearby age-restricted communities. But it wasn’t always easy for everyone to be on the same page and feel a sense of community, he said.

The book also details how, between late 1993 and January 1995, the community transitioned from control under the original developer to establish the Sun Village Community Association, which allowed the start-up of a board of directors and hiring of a community manager. In addition, “all was not harmonious” within the nine villages that comprised Sun Village.

Residents voiced concern over possible inequities of monthly assessments, maintenance of common areas, landscaping protocols and other related issues.

Board members had to quickly gain experience to deal with homeowners’ complaints related to finances and concerns about how the community should operate moving forward.

In 2002, the board of directors developed a unification process, thereby merging each of the six villages — Comanche, Hopi, Kiowa, Pima, Pueblo and Shawnee — into one to form a more cohesive basis for self-government in Sun Village.

Iverson said the decision was originally met with mixed reviews but believes attitudes have changed now that there is uniformity among all 1,382 Sun Village homeowners.

Iverson said Sun Village provides residents the opportunity to enjoy retirement life in a manner unparalleled elsewhere.

“Sun Village is a piece of paradise,” he said. “It’s the best-kept secret in Arizona.”

People interested in purchasing the Sun Village 25-year history book can visit the community association office for more information.

Zach Colick can be reached at 623-876-2522 or zcolick@yourwestvalley.com.

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