Sunday, January 06, 2008

Supporters of Scottsdale’s Kerr Cultural Center ask for your help on Jan. 10

[Source: Arizona Preservation Foundation "Action Alert!"] -- The Kerr Cultural Center (KCC), a cultural icon for Scottsdale performance arts for nearly 50 years, is a Valley historic treasure -- a valuable vestige of the John C. Lincoln family, and a fitting remembrance of Louise Lincoln Kerr, one of Arizona's brightest composing and performing lights. KCC has been a performance venue for lectures and musical performances from the likes of Barry Goldwater to Pablo Casals. Today, it continues to serve the community with a variety of cultural events. It is listed on the APF’s 2007 Most Endangered Historic Places List.

Now you -- people who care about Arizona's cultural heritage -- are needed to attend a meeting Thursday, January 10, at 5:30 p.m. when the Scottsdale Historic Preservation will vote on whether to designate KCC. ASU representatives will be present, and a huge turnout is needed to show them and the Commission that there is major community support for KCC historic designation.

A grassroots committee -- Concerned Citizens for the Kerr Cultural Center (CCKCC) -- continues to be proactive on behalf of this longtime (since 1959) and unique cultural venue in Scottsdale. Increased nearby development (e.g., Borgata makeover) and a rezoning request last March for the adjacent property north of the Kerr prompted citizens to take action. Their goal is to focus attention on this irreplaceable property, bequeathed by Louise Lincoln Kerr to ASU to be used as a public performance resource.

Last June, CCKCC requested historic preservation designation for KCC via the Scottsdale Historic Preservation Commission. They are now in the second phase: presentation to the Commission. Next will be consideration by the Scottsdale Planning Commission. Final action will require a vote by the Scottsdale City Council (likely in Feb. or March).

Historic overlay increases the visibility of the value of the property to the entire community, not just the owners. The 1977 will of Louise Lincoln Kerr clearly spelled out her wishes that the KCC continue to be a venue for Valley performance arts. It was with this understanding that she bequeathed the property to ASU. At this time, ASU has issued no official response, pro or con, regarding the preservation move. But CCKCC has heard that some ASU administrators oppose historic designation for KCC.

What you can do

CCKCC presents its case for the KCC historic preservation overlay at a very important meeting, and it needs many people there to show support. APF members and friends are encouraged to attend (and forward this information to others who care about Scottsdale's heritage; just click on the envelope symbol at the bottom of this entry).

For more information about this issue, contact Patricia Myers, CCKCC Chair, c/o P.O. Box 4201, Scottsdale, AZ 85261-4201. For more information about historic preservation in Scottsdale, visit