Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Status of Casa Grande historic buildings worries city, state officials

[Source: Casa Grande Dispatch] -- Along with pushing for better redevelopment planning for old downtown Casa Grande, the city needs to start taking care of its historic buildings, the City Council has again been told, possibly by enacting a tough preservation ordinance similar to that of Tempe. During a presentation on requests by the Central City Redevelopment District Subcommittee, Chairman Kirk McCarville told the council, "We also wanted to talk a little bit about the endangered buildings. "The thing that's going on with those - to try to define it - is demolition by neglect. That's exactly what's going on with those buildings, and they will not be here that much longer if something is not done. They're very much in jeopardy right now."

During an earlier presentation, McCarville told the council that he and Main Street Executive Director Marge Jantz had attended the annual meeting of the Arizona Preservation Foundation "and we've been told the Fisher Memorial Home, which is over here on Eighth Street, has been placed on the 10 Most Endangered Historic Places list by the foundation because of the state of repair, because of the fact that there's been no reinvestment in that property for God knows how many years. It's falling apart, the windows are broken in."

The building in question is a former mortuary at the northeast corner of Eighth Street and Olive Avenue. "It's about to be lost, it's going to collapse, there's going to be a fire, I'm sure the electrical's not up to date, it's a hazard," McCarville said. "In fact, it could be delisted, taken off the National Register because of the condition that it's in. That has happened to other properties around here. "There's some leadership that needs to happen on doing something with that property. And I don't have a specific suggestion for you right now, but that's something that needs to be looked into as part of the overall development. It's one of the few National Register buildings we have left downtown and it's in a grave, grave situation as it sits today." The building is privately owned and in addition to decaying has also become a junk area on all sides. Jantz said that two other structures are on the endangered list.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo of Fisher Memorial House in Casa Grande.]