Sun City opened Jan. 1, 1960 and its enormous popularity quickly prompted the Del Webb Corp. to expand its initial development plans.
Within one year, the community’s boundaries would stretch from Grand Avenue all the way south to Peoria Avenue.
A crowd of more than 40,000 visited Sun City Jan. 29, 1961 to view the unveiling of six new model homes located at 105th and Peoria avenues, an apartment complex and the community’s second recreation center.
Located on the southeast corner of 107th and Peoria avenues, Town Hall Recreation Center — now Fairway, 10600 W. Peoria Ave. — was much larger and more elaborate than the community’s first center — now Oakmont Center, 10725 W. Oakmont Drive.
The new facility in 1961 featured an 800-seat auditorium with a large stage and dressing rooms, as well as a variety of arts and crafts rooms. Even more impressive was an outdoor Greek theater located adjacent to the recreation center and next to the golf course.
The outdoor amphitheater would be the site of the community’s annual Easter Sunrise Service and Memorial Day Service for several years before moving to the Sun Bowl, 10220 N. 107th Ave., later in the decade. Arizona Gov. Paul Fannin spoke at the Memorial Day service in 1961.
Fairway Center underwent a major renovation project that was completed in 2011. The redevelopment, completed in two phases, involved tearing down the original structure and building an entirely new facility from scratch.
The “new” Fairway Center that exists today includes a state-of-the-art fitness facility, indoor walking track, a combination walking and lap pool and added facilities for new clubs.