Thursday, November 30, 2006

Kingman depot renovations will begin after railroads sign off on project

[Source: Suzanne Adams, Kingman Daily Miner] -- Train watchers and fans from near and far are eagerly awaiting the start of renovations on the old Santa Fe Depot in downtown Kingman. "There's so many people interested in trains it's incredible! I've got tons of people with railroad artifacts interested in the project," said Shannon Rossiter of the Mohave Museum of History and Arts. Plans for the renovation of the old train depot are about 95 percent complete, said Rob Owen, special projects coordinator for the city of Kingman. All that needs to be done is to have BNSF Railway and Amtrak give their final approval for the project. Owen hopes to have that approval by January so the project can go out for bid at the end of February. The restoration work can then start in March.

The city will be reimbursed for 94.3% of the restoration work by a Federal Transportation Enhancement Grant. The city applied for the $500,000 grant in 2001 and received approval in 2002. The grant is administered by the Arizona Department of Transportation. Kingman will have to match 5.7 percent of the cost of the project. Despite its age, the depot is still structurally sound, Owen said. The old station will be receiving new doors, windows, paint, plumbing and electrical work, heating and air conditioning, stucco and new landscaping as part of the renovation work. Ever since 2002, Kingman residents have been asking when work was going to begin. A lot of people don't understand the grant process, said Bill Shilling, a city grant administrator. It can take many years to apply, receive approval and get funds from a grant for a project. [Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo by JC Amberlyn, Daily Miner.]

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Tucson's Presidio re-enactors to party like it's 1810

[Source: Teya Vitu, Tucson Citizen] -- Presidio life a la 1810 is coming back Saturday to the courtyard outside the Tucson Museum of Art. Presidio enthusiasts dressed in period attire doing chores of the day will demonstrate what Presidio life was like from 1 to 3:30 p.m. every Saturday through March in the courtyard of La Casa Cordova adjacent to the art museum, 140 N. Main Ave. The winter and spring living-history events are a warm-up for the group's move into the reconstructed El Presidio de Tucson at Court Avenue and Washington Street after it opens, likely in May.

The Tucson Presidio Trust for Historic Preservation put on weekly living history events at TMA until 2005, when the museum insisted it pay insurance. The trust stopped performing but now is back to get ready for the Presidio's opening, said Sybil Needham, the trust's second vice president. About 10 trust members will be making tortillas, weaving and standing guard. "I'll be wearing a peasant dress and a shawl - homespun stuff," Needham said. "I'm a posole maker."

Renovation of Kingman historic building could help revitalize downtown

[Source: Suzanne Adams, Kingman Daily Miner] -- Good things come to those who wait. The merchants in downtown Kingman have been waiting for a long time for something to happen with the old Central Commercial building at the intersection of Beale and Fourth streets. Starting the first week of December, the city will be helping Joe Ott, the owner of the building, renovate its facade. The plan is to take it back as far as possible to the original look of the building.

The building is made up of one large central portion and two smaller buildings with additions. It was built around 1917. The building was used as a commercial goods store. According to records at the Mohave Museum of History and Arts, the store sold everything from clothing and shoes to food, tools and furniture. The building at the corner of Fourth and Beale streets is the oldest part of the structure. It originally held a bank and upstairs apartments. Another section of the building, which now houses The Spinster craft store, was once a post office.

The city applied for and received a $700,000 Community Development Block Grant from the federal government. Some of the money went to renovating part of the Boys and Girls Club downtown. Around $500,000 of it will go to renovating the outside of the Central Commercial Building. This is the first time the city has used grant money to help a private individual, said Bill Shilling, a grant administrator for the city of Kingman, who is in charge of the project. The main reason why the city is helping Ott renovate the building is because of health and safety issues, Shilling said. Several of the awnings and a parapet wall along the top of one of the buildings need to be repaired or replaced. Ott will be putting about $285,000 of his own money into the project. [Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo of Commercial Building by Suzanne Adams, Kingman Daily Miner.]

Matt's big hassle

[Source: Michele Laudig, Phoenix New Times] -- If anyone should have an easy time opening a business in a cool old building downtown, it's Matt Pool. After all, Pool got his start managing Bar Bianco for his sister, Susan, and her partner, Chris Bianco, in an old house (the neoclassical Thomas House, built in 1909, to be exact) in Heritage Square. It's one of the hippest spots in Phoenix, where guests kick back on the front porch with a bottle of Sangiovese while waiting for a table at the insanely popular Pizzeria Bianco next door. Then Pool started his own business, Matt's Big Breakfast, in a funky, compact red brick building next to a small downtown motel. Word got out quickly when the place opened, and in just a couple of years, it's become such a familiar part of the urban fabric — with its retro orange counter and made-from-scratch pancakes — that it feels like Matt's has been there for decades.

Mayor Phil Gordon knows all about Matt's. He's a regular (usually comes in on Saturday morning with his son, Pool notes), and has even mentioned the place in not one, but two official speeches. A guy with his own history of redeveloping old buildings, Gordon knows the value of a place like Matt's Big Breakfast, and in a city with just a handful of creative, young entrepreneurs who're multitasking like crazy to make Phoenix vibrant (think of Greg Esser and Cindy Dach with their boutique and gallery spaces, or Kimber Lanning, with her record store and art/music venue, or artist Sloane McFarland, landlord to several biz hipsters, including Chris Bianco), Gordon's got to know the value of Matt Pool. Is it any surprise that Pool wants to start another business? The city staff should have been jumping up and down — and through hoops — at the news that Pool's restoring a 106-year-old historic building as a tavern, exactly the kind of business downtown Phoenix needs. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Wickenburg is fourth most Western town

[Source: Wickenburg Sun] -- There are thousands of towns in the American West that celebrate their heritage and culture, but Wickenburg is among the elite. For its efforts, Wickenburg is recognized by “True West” magazine as the No. 4 True Western Town in the January/February 2007 issue, on newsstands Dec. 12. True West editors determined the winners based on a number of criteria - especially how each town has preserved its history through older buildings and districts, museums and other institutions, and events. The Top Ten also take the lead in promoting their historic resources to visitors. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

ASU president favors demolishing former VNB, keeping dome

As reported in the ASU State Press student newspaper, before an audience of 70 Tempeans on the cable access show, "Let's Talk Tempe," ASU President Michael Crow took pointed questions about the University's preservation of historic buildings.

Crow stood behind the University's plans to destroy the gold-domed building on the southeastern corner of campus. Some historic preservation advocates had vocally advocated for the building's preservation, but Crow said only the dome would be saved. "We agree that there are architectural elements of that building that are unique," Crow said. "The building is not savable. It is an underbuilt, underdesigned, 40-year-old building." The comment sparked grumbles from some audience members.

[Note: For more information about the building in question, visit City of Tempe webpage or Modern Phoenix Neighborhood Network webpage. Photo by Walt Lockley.]

Monday, November 27, 2006

Arizona Heritage Traveler web site wins national award

The Arizona Humanities Council (AHC) received some wonderful news right before the Thanksgiving holiday. The AHC was awarded the 2006 Helen and Martin Schwartz Prize by the federation of State Humanities Councils for its “Heritage Traveler web site,” which was developed in conjunction with the Arizona Office of Tourism. Click here to visit the web site to learn about nearly 200 heritage destinations throughout the state. You can plan an itinerary for your Arizona vacation based on interests ranging from astronomy to architecture to Native American and Old West History.

Since October 2005, this site has received more than 2 million hits from viewers interested in Arizona’s history and culture. The Schwartz Prize is a national award given annually to an outstanding public humanities project. The judges were impressed by the collaboration between AHC and AOT, and the unique nature of the product of the collaboration.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Prescott bronzesmith rejuvenates historic elk statue

[Source: Cindy Barks, Prescott Daily Courier] -- Serving as a local icon has not always been easy for "Bill." Indeed, after seven decades atop the Elks Opera House in downtown Prescott and then another three decades on the Elks Lodge #330 in Prescott Valley, the old elk statue ­ nicknamed "Bill" ­ was showing his age. With bullet holes scattered across his chest, water damage deteriorating his legs, and wind damage wearing down his antlers, "Bill" needed of a major facelift.

That is exactly what he has received. For the past month, "Bill" has been in the hands of local bronzesmith Ed Reilly, who has brought life back to the 100-year-old statue. "It's come out better than we thought it would," Reilly said this past week from his Prescott Valley foundry. After hours of restoration work, the statue is nearly ready to go back to its original home on top of the Elks Opera House on Gurley Street in downtown Prescott.

That will probably happen during the first week in December, Prescott Historic Preservation Specialist Nancy Burgess said, with an unveiling of the newly rejuvenated statue on Dec. 8 ­ just in time of the Acker Musical Showcase that evening. Meanwhile, Reilly said he plans to conduct an open house from 1 to 3 p.m. Friday to give the public a close look at the statue. The event will take place at Reilly's studio at 7331 E. Second St., Prescott Valley. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Artists' eviction from Tucson warehouses pushed back two months

[Source: Teya Vitu, Tucson Citizen] -- Artists now have until March 31 to move out of two downtown warehouses owned by the state. Officials from City Hall and the Governor's Office on Wednesday discussed the challenges presented to artists by the previous Jan. 31 eviction deadline and persuaded the Arizona Department of Transportation to add two months to the exit date. "Thank you, ADOT," said Zee Haag, owner of Zee's Gallery, 1 E. Toole Ave., which has occupied one of the two targeted warehouses for about 15 years. "I appreciate it very much."

Haag's warehouse is filled with upward of 100 tons of large minerals, fossils, crystals and art. The Jan. 31 deadline would have created havoc at the most critical time of year for him: The Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase starts at the end of January. "For me, it's for the gem show," Haag said. "For the other artists, it gives us more time to figure out what to do." The other artists occupy the 100-year-old Steinfeld Warehouse, 101 W. Sixth St., where the arts warehouse district was born in the mid-1980s. ADOT has told them the Steinfeld Warehouse also must be vacated, though no eviction notices have been mailed yet. ADOT hasn't given a definitive reason for the eviction, except to say the space needs to be "reintegrated" into the community.

Artists in all 29 state-owned warehouses are on 30-day leases, meaning the state could evict them with 30 days' notice. The city Transportation Department has offered to find new downtown studio space for artists, where they would pay the same rate they pay now. The department also is offering to pay moving costs, said Lou Ginsberg, real estate special projects manager. Jan Lesher, director of the governor's southern Arizona office, took charge of the state's response to concerns. Lesher appreciates how the warehouse dilemma goes beyond two buildings and taps into downtown revitalization efforts. "Artists and people from the city called us and really let us understand the full impact," Lesher said. "We have a little flexibility with the date." [Note: Are artists important to downtown? Take the Citizen's online poll here.]

Pima County weighs zoning freeze over new law

[Source: Erica Meltzer, Arizona Daily Star] -- Pima County is considering a freeze on rezonings while it figures out the impact of Proposition 207. And when that freeze thaws, developers could face new requirements that will mean higher up-front costs and less flexibility. County officials say that's the only way to protect taxpayers from large payouts under the new law. "It makes zoning potentially a lot more difficult," County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said of the proposed changes. "People complain that it takes a long time and is difficult today, and this could make it even more cumbersome and complicated. But we're the ones who would have to pay the claims from taxpayers' money," he added.

Proposition 207 limits government's use of eminent domain and requires compensation for what are called regulatory takings. That means that when government adopts new land-use regulations — such as requiring land to be set aside for conservation, [historic preservation designation], or limiting the number of houses that could be built — it will have to compensate property owners for the development they didn't get to pursue. The ballot measure passed with 65 percent of the vote.

But what does Prop 207 have to do with rezonings? The new law requires cities and counties to compensate when they take, but it doesn't require them to give anything. So cities and counties still have the ability to deny a rezoning without any consequences. But because rezonings are discretionary, cities and counties often use them as an opportunity to wring concessions from developers. For example, if existing zoning would allow someone to build 20 houses on his property, and he requests a rezoning that would allow him to build 100, the county might grant the rezoning but on the condition he build only 70 houses. Such compromises are common, especially when neighbors object to a project. But Huckelberry said he worries that could be seen as "taking" under Prop 207, meaning the county would have to pay developers for the difference.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. For opposing views on Proposition 207, visit the website of opponents of 207 and website of proponents of 207.]

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Tear Down Town: It's a knock-down, drag-out for Phoenix's soul

[Source: Robrt L. Pela, Phoenix New Times] -- When the folks at Hasbro recently released a new edition of Monopoly, the world's most-played board game, they replaced the fictional Atlantic City streets of the original version with real-life American cities. Three cheers for Phoenix, the country's fifth-largest city, for making the grade: Our hometown appears in the pricier "red" section of the board, in the spot formerly known as Kentucky Avenue. But while most cities are proudly illustrated with man-made structures — Atlanta with a photo of its Centennial Olympic Park; St. Louis with its famed Gateway Arch — Phoenix is represented not by an architectural marvel or an historic icon of its city, but by Camelback Mountain. In other words, by something built not by crafty city planners or forward-thinking founding fathers, but by erosion.

Clearly, the Hasbro people are on to us. It's more than a little disconcerting to know that even people who make board games for a living are aware that, when one thinks of Phoenix, one thinks not of grand skyscrapers or gorgeous cityscapes, but of a pile of dirt. On the other hand, how apropos. Because what iconic structure could possibly illustrate Phoenix in any context? We're not known for our cohesive city planning or our rich history of structural design. Phoenix's architectural past has long been treated like the detritus of an ex-lover we're ashamed of — the mean guy who beat us, stole our money, and farted at the dinner table; the trampy, undereducated gal we stayed with because she had a big rack. Once they finally leave for good, we're so embarrassed we ever dated them that we destroy all evidence of their presence in our lives.

So goes Phoenix, wiped clean by a wrecking ball time and again. Except Phoenix never had a big rack to begin with; has never been a city sexy enough to fool anyone into loving us for long. Instead, we've been a place so concerned with being "small town" that we've put all our energy into reinventing ourselves, into becoming something we've never quite achieved. We've ripped out our foundation again and again, leveling landmarks like St. Mary's School, the Fox Theater and the old Ciné Capri movie house as capriciously as one would toss out a valentine from a former lover.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Artwork by Jason Hill.]

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Tiny Gilbert jailhouse holds lots of history

[Source: Beth Lucas, East Valley Tribune] -- The little adobe hut was not built to be a jailhouse. “Initially, it was a pumphouse for the water tower,” recalled former Gilbert Mayor Dale Hallock, who grew up in Gilbert’s original square mile. “Then, if we had guys who got drunk Saturday night in Gilbert, they would throw them in there till Sunday morning till they sobered up.”

Gilbert has hired a consultant who is now in the process of planning an extensive renovation of the 1927 building underneath the town’s historic water tower downtown. The town will invest $48,125 into the project, in addition to $41,875 from the state’s Historic Preservation Grant Program. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Friday, November 17, 2006

Original foundation of Tempe's Hayden Flour Mill found

[Source: Garin Groff, East Valley Tribune] -- The past and future of the Hayden Flour Mill in Tempe collided Thursday as archaeologists announced that they’d found the original foundation of the mill and a developer revealed plans to restore the historic building. The activities made for one of the best days for the mill after nearly a decade of bad developments — the mill’s 1998 closing, a fire that destroyed part of the structure and a nasty legal battle between the city and a developer.

Now Tempe’s biggest downtown developer, Avenue Communities, is planning a $500 million project that would restore the mill and add shops, restaurants, and condos. The Phoenix-based company, which also is building the 30-story Centerpoint Condominiums downtown, intends to do the mill restoration and construct some of the new buildings next year. Before that starts, archaeologists are finishing what could be the last chance to scour the site before new buildings make future exploration impossible.

And they dug up more than expected. One big find was a crude rock and concrete foundation from the original adobe mill, built in 1874. It had been assumed the current building was on top of the old one and would have forever hidden clues about one of Tempe’s first buildings. But the foundation was just a bit north of the current mill. “We were surprised to find that there,” said Bob Stokes, a principal investigator with Tempe-based Archaeological Consulting Services.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo of excavators examining canal by Leigh Shelle Robertus, East Valley Tribune.]

La Placita Village owners have plan to remove Tucson park's gazebo

[Source: Ernesto Portillo Jr., Arizona Daily Star] -- The gazebo centerpiece of a grassy historic park Downtown, often the site of weddings and magazine photo shoots, could be torn down under a renovation plan being considered by La Placita Village owners. Bourn Partners is proposing the city renovate the historic public park, including one plan that removes the structure built in 1955.

Removing the gazebo is one option of a broad proposal to make the park at the southwest corner of West Broadway and South Church Street more accessible to the public, said Oscar Turner, project manager for Bourn Partners. "We want to turn it into an events space," Turner said. But removal of the gazebo, which was erected to celebrate Tucson's Mexican heritage, would create controversy among historical preservationists and Tucsonans who once used La Placita and the gazebo for community — and more intimate — celebrations.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo from Arizona Daily Star archives.]

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Pinal rail yard running into opposition

[Source: Eric Beidel, Northwest Explorer] -- Pinal County may be heading for a trainwreck of enviromentalists, farmers and home builders opposed to a proposed rail yard just north of the Pima County line. The State Land Department wants the designation of more than 10,000 acres of land between Picacho Peak and Red Rock changed from "natural resource, development sensitive" to "urban, industrial." This would allow the land department to sell almost 1,900 acres to Union Pacific Railroad, which plans to build a switching yard across the highway from Picacho Peak State Park. Pinal County supervisors will decide the issue on Nov. 29.

With a 5-3 vote, the county planning and zoning commission on Oct. 26 recommended denial of the land department's request. Citizens have formed a group to lobby against the potential rail yard. The collective, which includes a landowner, a resort owner and a consultant, calls its struggle a "David and Goliath battle" and wants Union Pacific to find another location for its switching yard. The group set up a Web site to promote its cause.

The proposed "hump" yard would contain 36 tracks on 585 acres, almost twice the size of Tucson's 24-track, 300-acre rail yard at 22nd Street. A Union Pacific yard in Phoenix consists of just 20 tracks on 140 acres. The Tucson yard stretches about two miles in length and a quarter-mile in width. The proposed yard in Pinal would stretch a little longer, Union Pacific officials said. "We just think it's a bad place," said Marana Councilman Herb Kai, who leases from the state much of the land that Union Pacific wants. "Union Pacific is a big elephant that sits on anyone and doesn't care who they're sitting on." [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Action Alert! Demolition permit applied for oldest house in Phoenix's Evans Churchill neighborhood

Today, November 15, the City of Phoenix received a demolition permit application for 1115 N. 2nd Street. The city has a hold on the demolition permit until Monday, November 20.

This is the Edward Morin House, the oldest house in Evans Churchill, dating from 1909. The Historic Preservation Commission initiated HP zoning on this property in 2004, largely at the request of the community, but then withdrew the case after the owner, The Orcutt/Winslow Partnership, protested and committed to the HP Commission that they would keep the HP Commission apprised far in advance of any sale of the property and any plans to demolish or redevelop the site. Because there is no historic preservation zoning, the house could be demolished as soon as Tuesday of next week.

What you can do? You are welcome to express your opinion about this matter to:
  • The Honorable Michael Johnson, Member of Council for the district in which the structure is located, 602-262-7493
  • The Honorable Doug Lingner, Member of Council & Chair of the Housing, Neighborhoods, and Historic Preservation Subcommittee, 602-262-7492
  • The Honorable Phil Gordon, Mayor of Phoenix, 602-262-7111
  • Cynthia Seelhammer, Deputy City Manager, 602-262-6941
  • Barbara Stocklin, Historic Preservation Officer, 602-262-7468
  • Evans Churchill Community Association, 602-614-8727

City of Phoenix issues RFP to rehab historic downtown residences

The City of Phoenix is seeking proposals for the rehabilitation and development of two City-owned, historic, single-family residential structures, a carriage house, and a vacant lot on approximately 28,000 square feet located at 814, 816, and 822 N. 2nd Avenue on the west side of 2nd Avenue between McKinley and Roosevelt Streets.

Click here to download the RFP or pick one up at Phoenix City Hall, 20th Floor, Downtown Development Office, 200 W. Washington St., Phoenix, AZ 85003. The deadline for proposals is Noon M.S.T., Friday, January 12, 2007. For further information, contact Bo Martinez, Program Manager, at 602-495-0398/Voice or 602-534-5500/TTY Relay.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Brewery Gulch house 1 of 10 on upcoming Bisbee home tour

[Source: Joan F. Barrett, Arizona Daily Star] -- Be prepared to smile in artist Rose Johnson's historic Bisbee home, 90 miles southeast of Tucson. Her residence delights with color, art, tile work, transformed secondhand finds and much more. "My house is an extension of my creativity," says Johnson, whose work includes public murals and paintings sold through galleries. Her fun and funky dwelling will be one of 10 houses open for the 24th Annual Bisbee Historic Home Tour, Heart of Bisbee, on Thanksgiving weekend, Nov. 25-26.

Participating homes sit along Tombstone Canyon and Brewery Gulch in Old Bisbee, a former copper mining town rich in history. Tombstone Canyon is part of historic Route 80, the main connection between El Paso, Texas, and San Diego before I-10 was built. Brewery Gulch's past includes a red light district and more than 47 saloons in the early 1900s. Today, stores and transformed miners' cottages dot the street.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo of Rose Johnson's house by Kelly Presnell, Arizona Daily Star.]

Looters ravage ruins to sell pottery, heirlooms on black market

[Source: Dennis Wagner, Arizona Republic] -- In the dead of night, looters are destroying the history of America, desecrating sacred Indian ruins. An estimated 80 percent of the nation's ancient archaeological sites have been plundered or robbed by shovel-toting looters. Though some of the pillaging is done by amateurs who don't know any better, more serious damage is wrought by professionals who dig deep, sometimes even using backhoes.

The motive is money. Indian artifacts are coveted worldwide by collectors willing to pay for trophy pieces of the past. Looters are just the first link in a chain that includes collectors, galleries, trade shows and Internet sites such as eBay. But stopping the black-market business is virtually impossible because of a lack of manpower for enforcement and loopholes in the law that make it hard to convict the few who get caught.

The result is a scientific and spiritual loss. "They're changing history," Vernelda Grant, tribal archaeologist for the San Carlos Apaches, says as she stands amid 800-year-old ruins transformed into a crater field. "They're killing us. They're killing the existence of who we are."

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo of archaeologist Vernelda Grant by Jack Kurtz, Arizona Republic]

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Scottsdale business owners wax nostalgic about Fifth Avenue

[Source: Lindsay Butler, East Valley Tribune] -- Scottsdale’s Fifth Avenue was a shopping mecca during its heyday in the 1950s. The angled parking made the area automobile-friendly, while the string of store windows and covered walkways kept pedestrians shopping for hours. The stretch of Fifth Avenue between Goldwater Boulevard and Scottsdale Road downtown represents a post-World War II retail design that catered to both pedestrians and automobiles, which is hard to find anymore in the United States.

The city is hoping to maintain the signature look and feel of what is commonly known as “The Heart of Scottsdale” by adding it to its historic register. But first it will have to win the support of local business and property owners, and also develop a list of incentives for participating. The plan is likely to get a mixed reaction. “Fifth Avenue put Scottsdale on the map,” said Debbie Abele, a city historic preservation officer. “A whole slew of people with national reputations brought people to Scottsdale to shop.” [Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo of Scottsdale canal project construction over Fifth Avenue by Paul O'Neill, East Valley Tribune.]

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Taliesin West zoning plan at issue

[Source: Kate Nolan, Arizona Business Gazette] -- A plan to obtain special campus zoning for the 490-acre Taliesin West campus has raised concerns with Scottsdale because its owner, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, did not file the paperwork by late September, as agreed. In April, the foundation made a deal with the city to apply for the zoning to get a Scottsdale historic preservation designation for a 10-acre parcel of the campus. The goal was to keep the property from being developed for any use that didn't support the foundation's mission to further Wright's ideas.

Members of the city's Historic Preservation Commission became concerned in August when the Wright Foundation fired the executive handling its zoning application and communications on the zoning request ceased. Unsure whether the group was still seeking the zoning change, the commission asked the foundation to provide a progress report. At a subsequent meeting with the commission, Phil Allsopp, the foundation's CEO, said the rezoning request was moving forward. The foundation also agreed to submit a required historic preservation plan, but that has not been provided. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Florence puts Heritage Fund to good use

[Source: Florence Reminder] -- The Arizona Heritage Alliance met Saturday in Florence, where the state's Heritage Fund has been put to some of its best uses. "We decided to spotlight historical downtown Florence and showcase what the Heritage Fund can do when utilized to its fullest potential," according to the fall 2006 Heritage Guardian, the newsletter for the Arizona Heritage Alliance. Jennifer Evans with the Florence Main Street Program was the local coordinator of this meeting...

Florence has received $1,599,139 in Arizona Heritage Fund grants since 1991. The total investment in Florence's historic preservation projects is over $3,031,898. Bonnie Bariola, who has been directly involved in almost every Arizona Heritage Fund project in Florence, led the Alliance on a walking tour of 14 of the 16 buildings in Florence that have utilized these grant funds for restoration purposes. Buildings on the tour included:
  • Florence/Silver King Hotel
  • Popular Store/Mandell's Department Store (True Value Hardware/Russ & Cheryl Woodmansee)
  • William Clarke House (Florence Reminder & Blade Tribune Office)
  • Cuen House & Butcher Shop (Qwest Building/Langley Momentum LLC)
  • First Nicholas Beer Hall (Lynn & Tom Smith Residence)
  • Avenenti Tack Shop
  • Brunenkant's City Bakery (Chamber of Commerce Office & Visitor Center/Town of Florence)
  • Cosgrove/Nicholas/Aguilar Residence (Bill Coomer & Katie Montano residence)
  • White Building
  • 2nd Pinal County Courthouse
  • Sam Kee/Jennie Peyton Weedin/Yeddo Leos Residence (Dodie & Wilbur Freeman Residence)
  • Catholic Church of the Assumption
  • Chapel of the Gila
  • Jean Baptiste Michea Residence (Zoe & Jerry Ravert Residence)

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo of 2nd Pinal County Courthouse.]

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Revitalization firm visits Coolidge

[Source: Brian Ahnmark, Coolidge Examiner] -- For the first time in a while, there's something new in downtown Coolidge. And it's not a business, a housing development or a park; it's an attitude. It's hope. Last week saw the arrival of Dolores Palma and Doyle Hyett, consultants with Virginia-based HyettPalma, a consulting firm that specializes in downtown revitalization projects. And take it from the experts: Downtown Coolidge is showing promise. "There is a lot going on downtown," Palma said. "The city has plans; there's San Carlos Park; we see the private sector making building improvements; and there are new businesses and buildings changing hands. There is a surprising amount of activity."

Hyett was originally a developer -- "a city planner gone bad, as we say in the business," Palma joked -- whose company dealt with historic properties. Palma, meanwhile, worked with the National Main Street Center as part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. "We had done other planning work in the past, but we really loved working downtown," Palma said. The duo founded their firm in 1985 to satisfy a mutual love of providing downtown renaissance in partnership with communities. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Monday, November 06, 2006

Be a "steward of the past" by volunteering with Arizona State Parks

[Source: Arizona State Parks] -- Have you ever hiked to an archaeological site and found large holes where looters have been digging for Native American artifacts? If you like the outdoors and are interested in preserving archaeological resources, you may be interested in becoming a volunteer for the Arizona Site Steward Program. Currently, the program is recruiting volunteers for the Lake Havasu area.

The program is sponsored by federal, state, county and municipal agencies and administered from the Arizona State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), a section of Arizona State Parks. Stewards monitor archaeological sites in danger of vandalism or natural deterioration and report the sites' condition to the appropriate land manager. Site Stewards must complete 8 to 10 hours of initial training, then are encouraged to attend regional workshops and an annual conference where they receive further training in such subject areas as: crime scene management, desert survival, site documentation, oral history, compass use, map reading, artifact and feature identification, and photography techniques.

If you are interested in learning more about the program, click here. If you have questions or would like to receive an application, call Mary Estes at (602) 542-4174. For information about Arizona State Parks call (602) 542-4174 (outside of the Phoenix metro area call toll-free (800) 285-3703) or visit the website.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

City of Tucson fells trees abutting historic adobes on Ft. Lowell lot

[Source: Rob O'Dell, Arizona Daily Star] -- In an effort to preserve portions of the historic Fort Lowell property, the city cut down several trees in the past few days whose roots had been eating the foundations of the adobe buildings at the site. The city had been trying to buy the 5.3-acre Fort Lowell site for preservation for more than 15 years, but the owner, Harry Adkins, refused to sell, saying the city perpetually lowballed the offers. The property includes remnants of the fort's officers' quarters, guardhouse and parade grounds, built in 1873.

Under a deal with developer Jim Campbell, the city acquired the site at North Craycroft and East Fort Lowell roads last year after Campbell bought it and then swapped it to the city for property elsewhere. This week the city took down about a half a dozen roughly 100-year-old trees, including a couple of mesquites, to prevent the roots from encroaching further on the adobe buildings, said Don Pawlowske, a park-maintenance area supervisor. He said the trees cut down were only a fraction of the trees on the site. He said the city, the state and Pima County have worked together to preserve the historic buildings on the site. Jim Conroy, the East District administrator of the Parks Department, said the site will eventually be a historic park. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Crews begin work excavating Tucson cemetery from 1860s-70s

[Source: Jim Becker, KOLD News 13] -- Crews working on the 4.1 acre parcel along Stone Avenue, between Alameda and Toole, are likely to find foundations of homes from the early 1900s. They may also find Hohokam artifacts dating back 2,000 years. And they will find bones. The City of Tucson used the area as a cemetery until 1875. It was abandoned and many residents re-buried their relatives in a new cemetery at what is now Speedway and Stone. Many others did not.

"We do know that over the past century, burials have been accidentally discovered during construction projects, and so we believe that there are many still here," explains Roger Anyon, Program Manager for Pima County's Cultural Resources and Historic Preservation Office. Bones uncovered will be brought inside a mini laboratory, where a computer scanner will be used to file and sort them. Bones or artifacts can then either be re-buried elsewhere or packed away safely. Technicians can then examine the images they've scanned. "We actually can see markings on these you won't normally see with the naked eye," said Skip Hooe, a geospatial technician. County planners say they've been working with descendents of Tucson's early settlers for the past year.

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