Friday, December 12, 2008

Sedona mulls mid-year budget; spares arts & historic preservation

[Source: Cyndy Hardy,] -- Sedona is weathering the economic storm better than many Arizona cities; but not without concern and not without tightening its belt. The Sedona City Council approved some reductions Tuesday that mainly affect unspent but budgeted expenditures. For now, city employees and some outside organizations that receive city grants avoided the chopping block. That could change early next year if the economy doesn’t improve.

In the best worst-case scenario, the city expects to tap the city’s approximately $10 million rainy day fund by about $500,000; which is about five percent of the general fund reserves, according to Interim City Manager Alison Zelms.  The council showed little resistance to the possibility considering the long-term economic forecast. “Having a reserve fund just to worship rather that to use is missing the point,” said Councilman Cliff Hamilton. “This is exactly what it’s there for.”

The current cuts affect the city’s general fund.  The City Council trimmed the general fund in October when it reduced the budget for the redevelopment plan by $300,000. At Tuesday’s meeting, the council added cuts for departmental non-salary expenditures that will reduce expenditures without cutting city staff. Most city departments historically spend between three and five percent below their annual budget. The council’s action increased that target to 10 percent below budget, including a 25-percent reduction in training and travel costs. The council froze spending of about $300,000 remaining in the contingency fund; hiring for unfilled positions; and filling new positions approved in this year’s budget including an environmental inspector, a part-time IT position, and two part-time parking attendants.

Since tourism is down, the council deferred $16,500 for a visitor intercept study that may prove more useful in the long run when the economy rebounds.  The City Council rejected a recommendation to cut city grants already budgeted to arts and historic preservation organizations.  “I think the concern is that many of the arts organizations have already budgeted and are anticipating for this money to come in.  To do it now seems a bit unfair,” said Mayor Rob Adams.  But the city may have to reduce its grants programs in the next fiscal year. The council advised them to plan accordingly.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Payson HP Commission looking for new members

[Source: Alexis Bechman, Payson Roundup] -- What’s a conservation commission to do when it can barely preserve itself? The staffers at the office of Tourism and Economic Vitality are scratching their heads trying to think of ways to attract more volunteers for the Historic Preservation and Conservation Commission.  “In order to have a meeting, it would be nice to have the vacancies filled,” said Cathy Boone, project manager for the office of Tourism and Economic Vitality.

The commission, which is scheduled to meet at least four times a year, hasn’t met in more than a year and has several open seats on the board.  The committee was scheduled to meet Monday afternoon, but the meeting was canceled after several members canceled, Boone said. Recruiting qualified members is proving almost as hard as reinventing Main Street.  “We are looking for anyone who has volunteered in the past, lives within town and has an interest in state preservation,” Boone said.  “Someone who knows about the history of the area.”

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Oro Valley heritage advocates recognized for good works

[Source: Lourdes Medrano, Arizona Daily Star] -- Oro Valley today will honor Dick Eggerding and Pat Spoerl as this year's outstanding volunteers.  They each will receive the town's annual Volunteer of the Year Award, given to a man and woman who distinguish themselves for their dedication to volunteer work in the community.  Spoerl and Eggerding have volunteered their time to many causes over the years, sometimes together.  They co-founded the Oro Valley Historical Society with the late Jim Kreigh.   They will receive the award in a 6 p.m. invitation-only reception at the Hilton Tucson El Conquistador Golf and Tennis Resort, where town officials will recognize the work of about 400 volunteers.

Spoerl, a retired U.S. Forest Service archaeologist, is particularly known for her efforts to preserve Oro Valley's cultural resources.  Eggerding, who created the town's "Community of Excellence" logo, was instrumental in bringing public art, concerts and art festivals to the town through the Greater Oro Valley Arts Council, which he co-founded with Bob Weede.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Oro Valley seeks volunteers for HP Commission

[Source: Arizona Daily Star] -- Oro Valley is now accepting applications from residents to fill a two-year term on the town's Historic Preservation Commission.  The volunteer commission works to preserve historic buildings, districts, landmarks, structures, documents, photographs and other artifacts related to the development of the greater Oro Valley area.  The group meets at 6 p.m. the second Monday of every month at Town Hall, 11000 N. La CaƱada Drive.  Applications are available at Town Hall or online at by clicking on "Town Clerk" and "Boards & Commissions/Volunteers."  The deadline is Jan. 5 to apply for the position.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

PHX11 steps back in history

[Source: City of Phoenix] -- PHX11 takes viewers to historic properties that still impact our city today on the next edition of “Everything Phoenix,” hosted by Sydney Blaine.  Starting with the cemetery at Pioneer and Military Memorial Park, viewers will see the final resting place of notable figures in Arizona history and folklore.  Next, tour one of the most extravagant venues of its day, the Orpheum Theatre, which first opened in 1929.  See the results of the Orpheum’s 12-year restoration project and how the historic theatre reopened adjacent to the newly built Phoenix City Hall. PHX11 brings you back to the present with the story of the McCarty Apartments, developed by Leon McCarty to provide quality housing for the city’s minority residents in 1963.  Learn how the legacy will continue with the redevelopment project that will bring new affordable housing for seniors when the McCarty on Monroe Apartments open in 2010.

The program will air on PHX11 at the following times: 6 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 1; 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 1; 2:30 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 2; 8:30 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 2; 8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 2; 10 p.m. Monday, Nov. 3; 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 4; 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov.4; 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 4; 2 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 5; 5:30 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 5; 4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov.5; and 10 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 5.  For additional program replay times, click here.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Phoenix's Montgomery House stabilization work begins

Stabilization work has begun on the historic Montgomery House, 7th Avenue and Mohave, in the original Phoenix townsite. Dave Norton, project manager, reports that:
  • The original stucco is being tested for lime/cement content in order to come up with a stucco mix design per historic briefs recommendations. Once the stucco mix is determined, stucco repair will begin.
  • The chimney is being repointed and repaired. Thereafter it will be stuccoed per the original construction.
  • Several adobe bricks have been made from existing material on the site. Once the bricks have cured, adobe repairs will take place.
The project is being undertaken by the Arizona Preservation Foundation and D.L. Norton General Contracting in partnership with the City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Office, State Historic Preservation Office, Arizona Lottery, and private contributors. To support the effort, please contact Lisa Henderson, APF President, at 602-771-1134 or via e-mail.

Historic designation probable for Phoenix nominees

[Source: Sadie Jo Smokey, Arizona Republic] -- This week, the Arizona Historic Sites Review Committee will consider two Phoenix nominees for National Registry of Historic Places recognition. The benefit is prestige and a rate cut on the owner's property taxes. La Hacienda Neighborhoods Historic District, with 45 homes near Seventh Street and Thomas Road, and Bragg's Pie Building, 1301 W. Grand Ave., are expected to be approved. A third property, the Lovinggood/Inskeep/Getman House in Sunnyslope, will likely be deemed ineligible for recognition. The home was moved to its present location in 1999, effectively cutting its ties to the history of its original location.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: State Historic Preservation Office.]

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Historical Society now owns Wickenburg gravesites

Three years after resident Nicki Hamilton protested the condition of the Henry Wickenburg gravesite, some progress has been made. The town put the hillside cemetery up for auction on Oct. 16, and the Wickenburg Historical Preservation Society was the successful bidder. The deed requires the Society to apply for listing to both State and National Historical Registers, to install security fencing and signage, to restore what is now a dirt walkway, and to perform periodic maintenance. An APS power pole must first be moved from the property because it hinders legal access to the site. That alone will cost close to $8,000. With future support from the Vi Wellik foundation uncertain at this time, the project will need the assistance of many.

Plantings will be added, the walkway should be paved, and some of the graves are worn and need repair. Maintenance volunteers are sought, and an American flag from the period would be appropriate, if it can be located. (Henry Wickenburg died in 1905.) The hill where Wickenburg and some of his friends are buried is located off of Howard Court and Adams Street near Boetto Park. Anyone interested in preserving this important part of Wickenburg history is invited to send a tax-deductible contribution, which may be eligible for a matching grant, to the WHPS, P.O. Box 1341, Wickenburg, AZ 85358. Mark the check for the “Henry Wickenburg Cemetery Project”.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tucson's second-oldest building undergoes repairs, improvements

[Source: Teya Vitu, Tucson Citizen] -- The wood viga and saguaro lath ceilings at the historic La Casa Cordova, 173 N. Meyer Ave., will be visible for the first time in more than 30 years when the second-oldest known building in Tucson reopens to the public, likely in December. La Casa Cordova, built some time before the first Tucson map was drawn in 1862, was closed in June to replace electrical systems, upgrade drainage and make the adobe structure more accessible to the disabled, said Meredith Hayes, spokeswoman for the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block, which manages the house. Since Labor Day, a 10- to 14-foot-wide brick walkway has been installed in the courtyard so those in wheelchairs will no longer have to roll through dirt to get to the seven rooms in the L-shaped structure. The bricks cover about one-fourth of the dirt courtyard, and a new rock water catch basin fills one corner in the courtyard.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Val Canez, Tucson Citizen.]

Monday, October 20, 2008

Snowflake Council rehashes historic preservation ordinance

[Source: Donna Rescorla, The Independent] -- Snowflake's proposed historic preservation ordinance was under discussion again at the Oct. 14 council meeting. Town Manager Paul Watson presented a summary of the questions answered by councilors after the previous meeting. Asked whether the town should have an overlay district or just designate specific homes and businesses, all agreed they should have a district but some thought it should only be along Main Street rather than the area that has already been designated a historic district. That district is in the original town site. Most councilors thought property owners in the district should just receive recommendations if they want to change the look of the building or demolish it rather than having them adhere to certain restrictions. "Are we opposing having restrictions at all?" Councilor Charlie Hendrickson asked. "This would have no teeth or little. We need to have stronger control on those buildings that are designated as historic homes." Hendrickson listed the Flake Mansion, Smith Home, Freeman Home and Stinson Museum, saying the town helped pay for renovations on these buildings and continues to pay for their operation and maintenance. Councilor Dean Porter said if the ordinance had no restrictions, they could stipulate that historic homes would have to have any changes approved. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Friday, October 17, 2008

Commentary: Our State Parks are in trouble

[Source: Don Farmer, Arizona Heritage Alliance Board] -- Our Arizona State Parks are in trouble. It seems the current down economy and resulting state budget meltdown has led our elected legislature to strip out most of the State Parks funding and redirect it to more “important” needs. The direct result of this action is the drastic reduction of the services and programs our State Parks provide us. You do not have to be a State Park visitor to be impacted by this loss. The Arizona State Parks Agency manages 27 parks and natural areas located around the state. They also oversee our State Trails system; manage the Outdoor-Related Grants Program, the State Historic Preservation Office, and the Off-Highway Vehicle Program. The folks at Arizona State Parks have been managing all of these lands and programs in an under-funded condition for years as the legislature chose to sweep one revenue source after another from them. Just one year ago, the situation at State Parks was dire; now with the current loss of funding, the entire agency is threatened with catastrophic collapse. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Glendale hosts Catlin Court Historic Home Tour Nov. 8

[Source: KKAT TV] -- Have you driven through the Catlin Court Historic District and wondered what the beautiful bungalow homes looked like inside? Now is your chance to find out! Homeowners will open their doors for the Catlin Court Historic Home Tour on Saturday, Nov. 8, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This is only the second time Catlin Court homes have been opened to the public. The tour will feature eleven historic homes in the beautiful historic neighborhood.

History buffs will delight in hearing stories of the neighborhood’s rich and fascinating past, which dates back to 1915. Co-founded by Otto R. Hansen, the neighborhood was named “Catlin Court” for his wife’s maiden name, and was one of Glendale’s earliest residential developments. Additional activities planned during the tour hearken back to Glendale’s earlier days, such as free horse-drawn carriage rides and a vintage car show.

Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 the day of the event. Tickets are available for purchase at Glendale’s Visitor Center, 5800 W. Glenn Dr., Suite 140, or online at the Catlin Court Website. The Visitor Center will be open that day, welcoming visitors and residents to discover many shopping and dining options in downtown Glendale before or after the tour. For more information, call 623-930-4500.

Four individuals receive coveted Arizona Architect Medals

[Source: Jan Buchholz, Phoenix Business Journal] -- Architects from across Arizona celebrated the 50th anniversary of the state chapter of the American Institute of Architects at the Celebrate Architecture gala Sept. 27. The largest crowd in the group’s history, more than 500, turned out for the event at the Phoenix Arts Museum. “Since this was the 50th anniversary, we decided not to notify the winners ahead of time,” said Tina Litteral, executive vice president of AIA Arizona. “Since (no one) knew who was going to win, I think they were a little nervous.” AIA introduced a new tradition by commissioning artists Gary Beals and Mayme Kratz to create works of art to represent the awards. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Yuma Heritage Area project at halfway point

[Source: Joyce Lobeck, Yuma Sun] -- Even underfunded, the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area has transformed eyesores to parks and new development since it was created eight years ago this month. The Hilton Garden Inn and Pivot Point Conference Center (pictured) have risen from bare ground along the Colorado River to serve as a catalyst for further redevelopment of the downtown riverfront, a landfill has become the inviting West Wetlands Park and the 1,418-acre East Wetlands has evolved from a trash-strewn jungle of non-native vegetation into one of the largest and most ambitious restoration projects in the Southwest, said Charles Flynn, executive director. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Friday, October 10, 2008

Santa Cruz Valley National Heritage Area -- 6th in the West?

[Source: National Trust for Historic Preservation] -- The Santa Cruz Valley borderlands of southeastern Arizona, where Native American, Spanish Colonial, Mexican, and American Territorial cultures and traditions have intermingled for centuries, may become the sixth national heritage area in the West. Introduced by U.S. Representatives Gabrielle Giffords and Raul Grijalva, the bill creating the Santa Cruz Valley National Heritage Area passed the House of Representatives on October 24, 2007 in a 291 to 122 vote. It was part of broader bipartisan legislation authorizing six new heritage areas in nine states. Supporters of each area include residents, business interests, nonprofit organizations, and local and state governments.

[Note: To read the full article, click here.]