Monday, January 21, 2008

History takes a nap; Casa Grande makes little progress on its preservation plans

[Source: Harold Kitching, Casa Grande Dispatch] -- Little is new on historic building preservation, the preservation ordinance, and the railroad depot project that the Central City Redevelopment District Subcommittee has been discussing. The residential historic properties discussed are the old Casa Grande funeral home at Eighth Street and Olive Avenue and the Meehan-Gaar house on First Street east of Sacaton Street (pictured above). Housing Director Rosa Bruce had told the subcommittee at its December meeting that her office might be able to help with assessments and restoration of the homes.

During Tuesday's meeting, Planning and Development Director Rick Miller told the group that Bruce had gone to both properties but neither owner was there. "She left her card, a little note asking them to call, didn't hear a response," Miller said. "She phoned them, left messages, hasn't had a return response, so then she wrote a letter to those property owners and is awaiting a response to the letter."

Miller said the letter basically tells the owners that the subcommittee "is very interested in conducting assessments of the property, building conditions and there's an opportunity to do those, really, at no cost to them. She talks about her program and how it provides perhaps some funding opportunities to them, provided they're qualified, to help them with the stabilization of their homes. "She also places an emphasis on that she'd like to treat this first and foremost as a residential property that they own and live in and secondly as a historic structure and balance those two needs. She wants to provide assistance because they own the property, they're living there, that's what her program's here for. Secondly, how can we balance the historic value of those homes with those needs and make them work together, and she says that she's been able to do that successfully for more than 30 years in this area, so hopefully we'll hear something soon."

The old train depot on Main Street has also been a topic for the subcommittee, hearing reports each month on the status of negotiations with Union Pacific Railroad to acquire the building. The negotiations are part of talks between the city and Union Pacific over what the railroad must do to gain city support before the Arizona Corporation Commission for its double-tracking plan. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]