Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Status report on efforts to preserve Scottsdale's Kerr Cultural Center

[Source: Patricia Myers, CCKCC chair; Kathy Howard, CCKCC co-chair] -- A total of 42 friends of Kerr Cultural Center submitted comment cards favoring preservation at the Jan. 10 meeting of the Scottsdale Historic Preservation Commission (HPC). Of those, 21 spoke in favor of the proposal. No one was opposed. ASU's representative asked for a continuance to propose an alternative to historic preservation overlay rezoning, called a preservation easement. Research reveals that this designation might be stronger than the usual HP rezoning. We are optimistic that a properly written document could ensure Kerr continuing as the arts and cultural venue that Louise Lincoln Kerr envisioned when she willed it to ASU in 1977.

The HPC instructed city staff to meet with ASU representatives and work out a satisfactory agreement within 60 days. If this is accomplished, there will be a progress report to HPC next month, with the final report and vote at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, March 13, when we will again need support. If the vote is in favor, the issue will go the Scottsdale Planning Commission, then to the Scottsdale City Council in late spring, where we again will need attendance support of 100 or more.

We are appreciative of support for our grassroots organization, Concerned Citizens for the Kerr Cultural Center (CCKCC), particularly from the more than 250 people who signed our petition on behalf of the preservation of this remarkable jewel in the desert. We continue to collect signatures, so if you wish to support the cause, click here to download, complete, and send in the petition.

CCKCC was formed out of concern about increasing development and a rezoning request in the immediate area of the Kerr center. We began meeting in February 2007 as an advocacy group for supporting and preserving the unique identity and original purpose of this remarkable and historic adobe arts center -- a facility without peer or parallel. Louise Lincoln Kerr, daughter of John C. Lincoln, was a gifted musician and arts advocate who built the adobe performance studio in 1959, nearly 50 years ago. Her will specifically expressed her fervent wish for the center to continue in its original purpose. The Kerr is renowned as a unique cultural venue, attracting people from throughout the Valley and across Arizona, the Southwest, and West Coast. Those who attend come from as far as Sun City West, Fountain Hills, Sun Lakes, Chandler, Carefree, Flagstaff, Prescott, and Tucson.

CCKCC will continue to monitor the progress of the discussions for preservation easement, and keep you in the loop as elements develop.