Somerton is located in the fertile Yuma Valley in southwestern Yuma County, about 12 miles south of Yuma and at an elevation of 103 feet, approximately 12 miles from the U.S./Mexican border and 180 miles east of San Diego, California. The City is located on both sides of U.S. Highway 95 (Main Street) and Somerton Avenue runs north and south through the city. The area is bounded by Cocopah Indian Reservations (East and West). Somerton was established in 1898 and incorporated in 1918 and its population has doubled during the last ten years now reaching 15,500.
Somerton has a long history of overcoming physical and economic adversity. Early settlers had to prevail over the Colorado River floods in order to realize the tremendous potential of the area's agricultural lands. This potential was the driving force for the establishment of the Somerton school district in 1902, and the paving of Main Street in 1917. The downtown business district survived a huge fire in 1926 and was able to continue to be a major economic influence in Yuma County until the early 1960s. Somerton with a rich heritage and culture has a downtown redevelopment plan that offers a package of incentives for businesses that locate in the downtown area or existing ones that need to upgrade their premises.
Principal Economic Activities
Agriculture, medical services, and tourism are the primary economic activities in the local economy. Retail activity continues to grow along with its population. Somerton's small-town-feel as part of its historic downtown and culture is unique, and visitors from all over the Yuma Region enjoy coming to the many special events offered throughout the year. The city's location, between two major population areas, connected through US 95, Yuma to the north and San Luis, AZ and San Luis R.C., Mexico, to the south, makes Somerton an ideal location for special events and entertainment venues.
Somerton is the native region of the Cocopah Nation which is a large employer with seven different entertainment, lodging and cultural attractions: The Cocopah Casino, The Cocopah Resort & Conference Center, The Cocopah Rio Colorado Golf Course, The Cocopah Museum, Cocopah RV and Golf Resort, Cocopah Speedway and Wild River Family Entertainment Center. Somerton is a community that honors its cultural diversity and heritage, more than 30,000 people flock to Somerton for the annual Tamale Festival every year in December.
The city of Somerton offers many recreational and educational activities to its residents and visitors through its Parks and Recreation Program and Community Services: The Community Center which includes the Heritage Pool, gymnasium and Youth Center, Valle del Desierto Senior Center, Cultural Center, Joe Cardenas Ball Park, Joe Munos Park and Ball Field, and other parks with playgrounds and ramadas. It is the Mission of the Somerton Parks and Recreation Department to enhance the quality of recreational activities offered and the attractiveness of parks and facilities to provide a better quality of life to its residents.
- Somerton owns its water rights.
- Somerton has B+ performing schools.
- Somerton has several large and successful events:
Home to the Somerton Tamale Festival where over 30,000 people swarm Somerton for the annual Tamale Festival every year on the third Saturday of December. The Somerton Tamale Festival was created by The EL Diablito Arizona State University (ASU) Alumni Chapter which are ASU graduates who have returned to work and live in the Yuma/Somerton/San Luis area. The organization fills an important need by providing scholarships for local students who will attend ASU. Other events:
- Corn Fest - the first Saturday of November
- Pet Palooza
- Somerton Greater Days
- Somerton is a "green city" with 9 solar projects and the first city in the region to develop a citywide recycling program
- Somerton is the native region of the Cocopah Nation which is a large employer with seven different entertainment, lodging and cultural attractions: The Cocopah Casino, The Cocopah Resort & Conference Center, The Cocopah Rio Colorado Golf Course, The Cocopah Museum, Cocopah RV and Golf Resort, Cocopah Speedway and Wild River Family Entertainment Center.
- The Cocopah Rio Colorado Golf Course in Somerton also has 12 undeveloped acres surrounding the golf course which is being considered for the development of a second RV Resort inside city limits.
- Somerton currently has a light industrial zoned park with 20 one-acre fully served lots. There are currently 27 xBD acres available, as well as an 8-acre parcel. DHG is the park developer and will build-to-suit or sell lots direct. The park is ideally located along Highway 95 with direct access to Interstate.
- Somerton has approved a downtown redevelopment plan that offers a package of incentives for businesses that locate in the downtown area or existing ones to upgrade their premises.
- Somerton has a private airport.
- Somerton is only a 10-minute drive to one of the most active marine bases in the nation.
- Somerton has completed two major transportation master plans.
- Somerton owns its recycling plant.
- Somerton owns both its water and wastewater treatment plants with enough capacity to service community growth for the next decade.
- Somerton has a traditional main street with benches, tables and bus stops. Our town plaza is a place where people still meet and greet, as in times past and locals are often greeted by name at local restaurants. We have a small town charm. A new Main Street redesign is underway - design project is expected to be completed by end of March 2016.
- Somerton has an "All Hazards" fire department providing every service offered by large cities e.g. paramedic engine, paramedic ambulance and hazmat team that also provide services to our surrounding cities.
- Somerton is only a 15-minute drive from an International Border Crossing with Mexico.
- Somerton is home to DATEPAC WEST which is part of the largest Medjool date packing and marketing facility in the United States.
- Somerton is home to the Filter Factory Company that sells products worldwide through a network of distributors. Some of the end-users of the Filter Factory products are DuPont, Chevron, Texaco, Shell, Carolina Circuits, Fuij-Hunt, General Electric, Amgen and Koch Nitrogen.
- Somerton is only a 1-hour drive away from the wonderful ocean fishing village of Golfo de Santa Clara famous for sports fishing, watercraft enthusiasts, surfers and fresh-seafood lovers.
- Somerton is only a 25-minute drive from the renowned recreational sand dunes where thousands of recreational enthusiasts visit every year and several Hollywood movies have been filmed.
- Somerton enjoys at a minimum 345 days of sunshine a year.