There are residents in Fountain Hills who have researched where to live and have purchased a home in our community specifically because it has dark skies and the advantage of being close to a large city. With the addition of Dark Sky Community designation (thus far, there are only 14 communities in the world with this prestigious recognition), Fountain Hills will receive statewide and national publicity that will generate far-reaching attention in this country and beyond. As a result, some of the millions in this country alone who have an interest in astronomy will likely hear about Fountain Hills for the first time. They will become aware of our community, learn about our dark skies, our fountain, our mountain views, our festivals, our sculptures, our golf courses, and much more. Undoubtedly, some will resolve to move here and that is a big plus mark in our community’s economic column.
Fortunately, Fountain Hills already has tremendous attributes. We are situated in mountain foothills with mountain views in every direction. We have a fountain that gives us worldwide attention. We have a track record of festivals that other communities can only be jealous of. And there is much more. The mottos or tag lines currently used to promote Fountain Hills include “The Height of Desert Living,” and “Get out of the Valley, head for the Hills.” These are very good. But let’s not forget that we have something that virtually no other community in a major metropolitan area has, and that is dark skies. With Dark Sky Community designation, we could add the following, truly unique tag line; “Home to Mountains, Fountains, Festivals, and Dark Skies.” This combination encapsulates the all-important “WHY” you would want to live here.
Astro-tourism is on the rise worldwide. As written in a USA Today article, resorts like “Scottsdale’s Four Seasons at Troon North are pairing stellar dining experiences with packages that look to the sky for stellar guest experiences.” Scottsdale is not now, nor will it be any time soon, a Dark Sky Community. Fountain Hills could have that advantage, and the promotion of astro-tourism in conjunction with Dark Sky Community designation could undoubtedly be another plus mark in the economic column. Already, people from Fountain Hills and beyond are coming to the monthly star parties co-sponsored by the Fountain Hills Library and Fountain Hills Astronomy Club. More info at: www.fhastronomy.org.
CATALYST FOR PUBLIC OBSERVATORY
Dark Sky Community designation will be a catalyst for the possibility of getting a public observatory in Fountain Hills. If Gilbert, Arizona can attract 8,000 visitors per year to its observatory in a city where you can see far fewer stars, Fountain Hills, as a designated Dark Sky Community, would likely draw tourists and residents from throughout the metropolitan area to experience our night skies.
EDUCATION / OUTDOOR LIGHTING COMPLIANCE
Dark Sky Community designation will help call attention to our unique dark skies and by doing so, aid in the education of our community about smart lighting practices. The Fountain Hills Dark Sky Association is dedicated to this education process, which is one of the requirements of being a Dark Sky Community.