The Master Plan
The vision for a multi-generational community, nestled in a desert setting, framed by mountain views and blue skies, rich in amenities for all ages, was born in the early 1990s, when Del Webb acquired property north of the Phoenix Valley to create a master-planned community.
The development project began in 1992, when Del Webb purchased 5,661 acres on which to build the new community, originally intended to be named The Village at Desert Hills. The following year, however, a brush fire destroyed nearly 1,000 acres of land, and the project was halted.
In 1998, the project hit its first major milestone, as ground on the community, rechristened as Anthem, was broken. The vision of Phil Dion, then-Chairman of the Board for Del Webb, to set a new standard for planned communities and create a community unlike any other began to come to fruition when 361 families bought homes at Anthem Phoenix in its first 17 days of sales.
Through the next two years, signs of progress continued, as the first public elementary school in Anthem, appropriately named Anthem School, opened its doors as part of the Deer Valley Unified School District and Del Webb opened its sales location at the corner of Gavilan Peak Pkwy. and Anthem Way.
The year 2000 saw significant development, as Community Park, featuring a variety of amenities such as sports fields, a playground, skate park, fishing lakes and trails; and the Community Center, with fitness equipment, pool and water park, a Rock Wall, meeting rooms and more, opened to residents. Special events that continue today also launched this year (Music in May, Anthem Days, etc.)
December 2003 saw new medical services enter the community, as the John C. Lincoln Health Center (now Honor Health) opened, bringing urgent care, radiology and family practice to Anthem for the first time. The following fall saw education expansion, as well, as Boulder Creek High School opened its doors, serving students from not only Anthem but also New River, Desert Hills and parts of Phoenix. The school also featured a 26,000-square-foot community library.
Growing Better, not Bigger
In 2008, the affairs of the Council were transitioned to a resident-owner controlled Board of Directors in accordance with governing documents. In the beginning of a transition to be fully “self-managed” (not by a third party), an executive team for the Anthem Community Council including a community executive officer, community operations officer and community finance officer were hired in 2010. The vision to be fully self-managed was complete five years later with the transition of all assessments and financial governance matters completely in-house.
In 2011, the Anthem Veterans Memorial was built in Community Park and dedicated to honor the service and sacrifice of the country’s armed forces. This pillar of pride provides a place of honor and reflection for veterans, their families and friends, and those who wish to pay their respects to others who served and who continue to serve. The Memorial is designed so that the U.S. seal is illuminated by the sun’s rays passing through the five pillars, each representing a different military branch, at 11:11 a.m. each Veterans Day.
The ACC purchased a two-story, 36,000-square-foot built-out office building at 3701 W. Anthem Way in June 2012. Through an involved planning effort and community dialogue, the building was renovated, beginning in 2013, and converted into the Anthem Civic Building. The facility now houses offices for the Anthem Community Council and homeowners’ associations, a Welcome Center, meeting space, Mind/Body Studio and more. The renovated project finished with a grand opening in January 2014 and alleviates competition for space at the Community Center, where meetings and programs were previously held.
Work also began in 2014 on two other development projects, a renovation of the original Adventure Playground at Community Park and the construction of a new park on the community’s west side. The new Adventure Playground reopened in October 2014, as part of the Autumnfest celebration; Opportunity Way Park opened in September 2016.
A new, 202-unit single-family home development, Circle Mountain, will open beginning in 2017 as a partnership between Pulte and Lennar. These homes will fall under the Anthem Parkside HOA; construction is underway on Anthem's west side.
Since its strong beginning and through the continual evolution, Anthem has developed into a vibrant, dynamic, well-maintained community, with much to offer its active and engaged residents. From award-winning parks to quality landscaping, sports programs for all ages to trails, golf courses and more, Anthem is now home to more than 27,000 residents and passionate businesses.
To view more Anthem history and to see related photos, check out the visual timeline lining the wall between the Welcome Center and Community Room at the Anthem Civic Building, 3701 W. Anthem Way (shown above).