While at the museum recently, the writer was asked two interesting questions by the same guest.
1. Who created Sun City Home Owners Association?
2. If SCHOA is a homeowners association, how come becoming a member is not a requirement?
The guest was surprised when they were asked about their schedule for the morning, as the answer to
both questions was known, but the answers were both long and complicated.
Because the questions above are asked often, SCHOA officials agreed to allow museum personnel the opportunity to share those answers with a larger audience. Experience teaches that readers will enjoy learning about Sun City’s early history and that the answers to the inquiries above may generate additional questions. Submitting those questions to either SCHOA or to the Del Webb Sun Cities Museum will generate a response for the questioner from one of the museum’s historians or SCHOA officials.
To begin this journey together, the story of “Sun City—The Community That Changed the Nation” will be shared.
Before proceeding, an explanation of Sun City’s name would be helpful, as it is unique in terms of its origin. Del Webb Development Corp. sponsored a nationwide naming contest that attracted entries from across the country. Del Webb himself selected the name Sun City from entries, with the winner receiving a new home built on a plotted home site in Sun City of their choosing.
Sun City as a name for a community that grew to more than 38,000 has an explanation, when Sun City has never been a city. DEVCO officials fully expected that result and gently encouraged it consistently throughout the 18-year development from 1960-1978. When the first residents (“The Pioneers”) arrived in late April 1960, they were surprised there was no local government, no mayor or city council, no department to complain to regarding recreation, messy neighbors, extra charges for having two toilets instead of one, missing fire hydrants and street lights, and other concerns of importance. Conversations at the frequent neighborhood potlucks and at afternoon chats at the community swimming pool led to a consensus of a need to get organized.
That desire for representation marks the starting point for answers to those original questions when neighbors organized meetings at the recreation center auditorium at Oakmont Center, 10725 W. Oakmont Drive, in both October and November 1960. A seminal decision resulted with a call for Sun City’s first election of representatives to be conducted in December at the same location. Nine leaders were chosen, who in turn formed The Sun City Civic Association with voluntary membership and dues set at $2 annually. The defined purpose was to represent the residents in two broad categories — recreational concerns and relationships with utilities, and county, state and federal governments and their agencies.
Governance quickly became more complicated, as in less that 30 days “The Pioneers” returned to Oakmont to vote on accepting a gift from DEVCO in the form of Oakmont Center with its auditorium, craft rooms, swimming pool and other outdoor amenities.
That day, Jan. 20, 1961, was the official birth of both SCHOA and the Recreation Centers of Sun City, as an overwhelming acceptance vote result triggered a split of the recreational and governmental functions of the original organization into two separate entities. However, both, at least for the first year, would share the same nine members for their boards of directors. Both would continue and establish membership criteria with membership in the RCSC and SCHOA remaining voluntary at that point. RCSC and SCHOA initially had different names that were changed more than once over the years for different reasons.
That concludes part one of this series. The unique story continues and gets increasingly more interesting. Watch for part two in July.
Editor’s Note: Ben Roloff is a Sun City resident and a Del Webb Sun Cities Museum historian.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here