ARIZONA HISTORIC PRESERVATION SOCIETY
The annual AHPC meeting was held in historic Prescott, Arizona this year. The conference was held at the Hassayampa Inn as well as the Elks Theater (marked by the giant elk statue as you hit the top of the hill on Gurley Street and before you drop in on the historic city square).
The Rosie on the House team is always excited to go to this conference as it gives us a chance to sit at the feet of those who are working hard to keep historic preservation alive in Arizona.
The week before the conference there was an uproar in Phoenix over a couple who inherited a 100-year-old home in downtown Phoenix and plan to sell to a developer who will demolish it and likely try to subdivide. Heartbreaking and also very complicated! The conference helped explain why preservation is easier said than done. Funding, manpower, and vision have to all come together to make projects happen.
There does seem to be a growing appreciation for historic buildings, especially in the downtown areas of the state. Keynote speaker, Donovan Rypkema, consultant and author of Place Economics, said it used to be the case that historic areas brought adjacent property values down. But, now the opposite holds true as many people appreciate the value and character of older buildings and property values go up in areas where historic buildings are preserved. Local First Arizona founder, Kimber Lanning says that many small businesses prefer the historic district for their shops.
Councilman and mayors from Clarkdale, Glendale, Cottonwood, and Graham County made themselves available to field questions about their successful projects and also, the particular issues and roadblocks they face in each of their communities.
The first annual Elizabeth Ruffner Award for Community Leadership was established this year in honor of Elizabeth’s tireless advocacy for preservation in Prescott. She is remembered by people in Prescott as the woman who made a difference and was instrumental on many fronts for helping to restore Prescott’s historic architecture. She is a beacon to those who have the same appreciation for the past and her legacy leaves behind the motivation for others to follow in her footsteps.
One way to support the AZHC is simply by purchasing tickets to one of the many historic home tours that take place across the state. If you have been bitten with the preservation bug, there are many state and national resources as well as funding opportunities listed below!