Monday, May 28, 2007

Jerome Council postpones vote on historic hotel

[Source: Philip Wright, Verde Independent] -- The rear wall of the historically significant Sullivan Hotel on Main Street in Jerome desperately needs structural support. About $250,000 worth of work and materials. During a recent Town Council meeting it looked as though that work would be paid for, in large part, with an Arizona State Parks Historic Preservation Grand. The grant would provide $150,000, and matching funds from the property owners, Mary Wills and Sally Dryer, would add the additional $100,000. It looked like a done deal. Now there is a major glitch. The council had been asked to pass Resolution 451, which would give approval for the town to serve as the grant sponsor and the town staff to manage the grant. When first presented to the council the grant was thought to be a pass through grant. With that agreement, the town would accept no liability and would be paid a fee from the grant to act as the grant sponsor.

In a special meeting Wednesday afternoon, the council learned that the grant is not a pass through and that the town would not receive any fees for sponsoring it. But the terms of the grant get worse from the perspective of the town and probably the property owners. To allow more time to digest the actual terms of the grant contract, the council decided to postpone action on the resolution until May 29 at 9 a.m. Mayor Bob Bouwman said the main reason for postponing action on the resolution is because of the changing commitments required of the town. "The town would have to be put on the property owners' deed for the next 30 years," Bouwman said. "The town has to agree to maintain the property if the property owners did not." Balt Lozano, town clerk, said the town must commit to maintaining the building for the 30-year term. "We must guarantee that the building will never be torn down," he said. Vice Mayor Jane Moore said there is just too much new information regarding the grant for the council to have proceeded Wednesday. "The grant writer isn't here," she said. At this time it isn't known how the council will react to accepting such financial liability for a grant given to private parties. Nor is it known if the property owners will be agreeable to having the town listed on their property deed. The Sullivan Hotel is an important historical building in Jerome because Jennie Bauters, a famous saloonkeeper and madam, built it in 1899.