Blog Archives

Phoenix wins fifth All-America City honors

[Source: Scott Wong, Arizona Republic] — Phoenix on Friday was named an All-America City, the fifth time it has won that distinction.  The city was one of 10 winners in this year’s national competition hosted by the National Civic League in Tampa, Fla.  The award recognizes cities that have developed programs promoting innovation and community involvement.

During its presentation, Phoenix showcased its downtown education and biomedical campuses, parks and desert preservation efforts, and library system’s teen spaces.  “It’s a recognition of our community in terms of civic participation of our youth, our seniors, and our residents that support education,” Mayor Phil Gordon said from Tampa, where he was leading a 15-member delegation from Phoenix.

Other winners included: Inglewood, Calif.; Richmond, Ind.; Somerville, Mass.; Albany, N.Y.; and Statesville, N.C.  The last time Phoenix entered and won the competition was in 1989.  [For more information, click here.]

National Trust officials tour Valley for possible 2012 conference

Kathy Adams and Lori Feinman of the National Trust for Historic Preservation flew into town last week to view Phoenix’s convention facilities; tour selected historic sites and neighborhoods in Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tempe; and visit with area preservation advocates to determine Phoenix’s ability to host the 2012 National Preservation Conference.  Meeting them at Sky Harbor was Sally Forrest, National Accounts Director for the Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Phoenix Councilman Michael Nowakowski welcomes National Trust representatives Lori Feinman and Kathy Adams. (Photo: Midtown Messenger)

The three lunched at the Hotel Valley Ho, one of the National Trust’s Historic Hotels of America, and then drove to downtown Phoenix to tour the Phoenix Convention Center, the Hyatt Regency and Wyndham hotels (two of the host hotels), and Orpheum Theatre. Barbara Stocklin, City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Officer, and Jim McPherson, Arizona Advisor to the National Trust, joined them for dinner at the Rose & Crown Pub in Heritage Square Park (a large outdoor venue that could serve as the opening reception for the 2,500-plus attendees of the 2012 conference).

Phoenix's historic Ellis Shackelford House was decked out in the colors of Arizona's state flag. (Photo: Midtown Messenger)

On Tuesday, Adams and Feinman started off the day by visiting the historic San Carlos Hotel and breakfast at Palette in the Roosevelt Historic District.  Then it was a “timed-to-the minute” whirlwind van tour of First Presbyterian Church, Security Building (and ASU’s PURL overlooking the city), Monroe School (Children’s Museum of Phoenix), Phoenix Union High School Buildings (University of Arizona College of Medicine), Steele Indian School Park, Heard Museum, and several midtown residential historic districts.

State Historic Preservation Officer Jim Garrison and Modern Phoenix Founder Alison King joined the group for lunch and tour of the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa.  Then it was off to drive by the Wrigley Mansion, and visit the Desert Botanical Garden, Gammage Auditorium, Pueblo Grande National Historic Landmark, and St. Mary’s Basilica.  Special guests “popped in” throughout the day to say hello, provide their perspective on preservation, and tout Phoenix as a conference site: Attorney General Terry Goddard (Palette), State Senator Debbie McCune Davis (UA College of Medicine), City of Phoenix Council Member Greg Stanton (Children’s Museum), attorney Grady Gammage (Gammage Auditorium), former Phoenix mayor John Driggs, and Arizona 2012 Centennial director Karen Churchard.

Dan Klocke (Downtown Phoenix Partnership), Charles Fortenberry (Southwest Association of Buffalo Soldiers), John Jacquemart (Arizona Historic Sites Review Committee), and G.G. George (Encanto Citizens Association). (Photo: Midtown Messenger)

Topping off the visit was a reception at the Ellis Shackelford House in downtown Phoenix.  Over 60 preservation advocates from all over the Valley (and Sierra Vista!), city officials, and downtown business group leaders attended.  A balloon arch, special signage, decorations, and flowers in the colors of Arizona’s state flag welcomed our guests from the National Trust.  City of Phoenix Council Member Michael Nowakowski, Garrison, Stocklin, Feinman, and McPherson said a few words, and the rest of the evening was spent enjoying each other’s company and dining on wonderful hors d’oeuvres from Catered by St. Joseph’s.  Gift bags courtesy of the State Historic Preservation Office and City of Phoenix were presented to Adams and Feinman, and each attendee received a small gift as well.

Alternatives to "facadism" exist right here in Phoenix

According to the National Park Service, responsible for maintaining the National Register of Historic Places, no property listed on the Register would stay on the Register if descrecrated as originally proposed for Phoenix’s historic Sun Mercantile. 

That doesn’t mean creative architectural design or adaptive reuse of historic properties can’t occur.  Examples exist right here in Phoenix.  For example, the rehabilitation of the Phoenix Union High School Buildings at 7th Street and Van Buren blends the old with the new.  City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Office and Downtown Development Office staff, University of Arizona staff, and project architects have worked closely together to carefully meld historic and new.  The rendering above shows the historic building on the left and new construction glass entry, elevator, stairwell, and restrooms on the right.