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Its logo is “Naturally Connected.” And the term speaks volumes about Peoria’s emphasis on outdoor recreational amenities for its residents.

With more than 150,000 residents, Peoria is Arizona’s ninth-largest city. But the West Valley community, known for its award-winning housing and top-notch schools, has retained its small-town feel.

Peoria, which covers 162 square miles, prides itself on its quality of life and much of that has to do with its numerous offerings for residents and visitors. Whether it’s sailing at Lake Pleasant Regional Park, reaching for the stars at the Challenger Space Center, enjoying the latest show at the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts or attending events at the award-winning Peoria Sports Complex, Peoria residents consistently rank their community as second to none. Rio Vista Recreational Centeris also offered to residents to promote a healthy lifestyle.

When it comes to housing, Peoria has something for everyone, with homes ranging in price from about $200,000 to $1 million. The city is also noted for Vistancia, an award-winning, master-planned community featuring three distinct lifestyles: the family-friendly Vistancia Village, Trilogy at Vistancia (for those 45 and older), and the upscale Blackstone Country Club community. Still, more housing opportunities will abound because only one-third of the city’s general plan has been implemented.

Peoria boasts the third-largest public-school district in the state. With 38 schools serving more than 37,000 students, Peoria Unified offers wide-ranging career and technical-education options, including nursing, technology and drafting. Neighboring Glendale Community College, which has three campuses, is part of the largest community-college system in the country. It’s a popular choice for students looking to earn occupational certificates or associate’s degrees or those aiming to transfer to a four-year university.

What’s more, the city is on the cusp of becoming a significant player in the Valley’s recent economic boom. Projects recently opened, include the 90,000-square-foot Arrowhead Corporate Center office complex, the 630,000-square-foot Lake Pleasant Town Center retail hub, and Park West, a 55-acre upscale center with 50 specialty retailers, two parks and nine restaurants.

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