Category Archives: Casa Grande

Casa Grande council gives land purchase initial OK

[Source: Harold Kitching, Casa Grande Dispatch] — If all goes well, Casa Grande will soon have 120 acres for a regional park on the north side. Monday night, the City Council approved purchasing 100 acres at the northwest corner of Hopi Drive and Pinal Avenue for $4.7 million and accepting a donation of another 20 acres from the sellers, Richard and Robert Linden, whose family has owned the property for years. The Lindens will keep 39.22 acres in the northeast corner of the 160-acre parcel for future development. Final negotiations are under way, Deputy City Manager Larry Rains said, with documents to be available by the time of the next council meeting, when the purchase ordinance must again be considered. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Casa Grande to get depot from rail deal

[Source: Harold Kitching, Casa Grande Valley Newspaper] — Casa Grande has approved its part of a $35 million, four-government agreement that provides help from Union Pacific Railroad with new crossings needed for double-tracking between Yuma and Tucson. In return for not opposing the railroad’s double-tracking during hearings by the Arizona Corporation Commission, Casa Grande will receive money toward improvements, including encasing its water pipes near Anderson Road, and will be given the old railroad depot building on Main Street. No money comes with the historic depot, long eyed for preservation.

The agreement says the city and railroad “shall negotiate in good faith” for removing the depot from UP’s right of way within a reasonable time, at city expense. It adds that “from and after donation to the city, the city shall fence off the depot as reasonably requested by UPRR and shall be solely responsible for all future maintenance and upkeep of the depot and fencing.” Out of the $35 million, Casa Grande and the city of Maricopa will be given $1.5 million each for initial design and engineering for the first two overpasses to cross the double-tracking out of the four eventual crossings required in the agreement.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Steven King, Casa Grande Valley Newspaper.]

Panels bicker over Casa Grande history

[Source: Harold Kitching, Casa Grande Valley Newspaper] — Preservation of historic properties in older areas of Casa Grande is turning into a bit of a turf war between the Central City Redevelopment District Subcommittee and city officials who say the Historic Preservation Commission should handle that. The subcommittee, set up mainly to make recommendations on redevelopment in the City Hall and downtown areas, has slowly edged toward preservation, although not all properties are in the redevelopment areas. The city has moved toward heading off the subcommittee, having Housing Director Rosa Bruce handle some of the residential historic properties. The rationale is that her department has the expertise and the access to funds – of which the subcommittee has neither – to be successful.

At a later meeting, the subcommittee was told by Planning and Development Director Rick Miller that, in short, historic preservation should really be handled by the Historic Preservation Commission, the board set up for that specific purpose. Some members of the subcommittee haven’t taken the city’s turn of agencies happily. The subcommittee has long talked about reworking the city’s present preservation ordinance to include a lien provision, allowing the city to do the work to save a building, then filing the lien against the property. The subcommittee took the issue to the City Council but received no clear-cut decision. That lack of solid direction from the city, along with the shift to the preservation commission, has angered subcommittee Chairman Bob Mitchell, a former mayor.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Marge Jantz – The 1927 Fisher Memorial Home in Casa Grande.]

Casa Grande Main Street group, Central Arizona College want you to take online survey

[Source: Harold Kitching, Casa Grande Dispatch] — The Casa Grande Main Street program has teamed with Central Arizona College to do a survey of residents on what they like or don’t like about the historic downtown area and what they would like to see there. “The purpose of all of this was to help the downtown determine where we should be advertising, how people are coming downtown, what’d they’d like to see downtown, what kind of businesses they’d like to see downtown,” Main Street Executive Director Marge Jantz told the Central City Redevelopment District Subcommittee during Tuesday’s meeting.

“We had the opportunity to take this through the business department at the college. It’s their final semester, they’ve been studying business planning and development, and they’ve also brought Bill Brown in as their computer guru. He’s helped students with the survey.” Jantz said the survey will be taken through April 20, after which students will tabulate the results and return them to Main Street and downtown businesses. Click here to take the survey.

[Note: To read the full article, click here.]

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.]

Casa Grande to try to save Fisher and Meehan-Gaar homes

[Source: Harold Kitching, Casa Grande Dispatch] — Casa Grande’s Housing and Community Development Department is stepping in to see what can be done to save two historic buildings that the Central City Redevelopment District Subcommittee has pointed out are in danger of being lost because of deterioration and neglect. They are the 1903 Meehan-Gaar House on First Street near Sacaton Street and the Fisher Memorial Home (pictured) at Eighth Street and Olive Avenue, a former funeral home built in 1927. The subcommittee had taken its complaints to the City Council, leading to a decision to hire, at city expense, inspectors qualified in historical renovation to see if the buildings can be saved. Nothing was firm on how the renovations would be financed. A switch came at this month’s subcommittee meeting when Planning and Development Director Rick Miller said that Housing Director Rosa Bruce has the experience and the methods of funding, including grants, to step into the picture.

“Rosa, through her program, has been able to assist owner-occupied residents who qualify for three pretty good programs to help them do what we all want to accomplish, and that is to get these things stabilized,” he said. It was pointed out that Bruce’s programs are not limited to just historic structures and that other residents are able to call her office to ask about assistance. “It occurred to us when Rick and I were talking that it looks like we have sort of parallel conversations with you, what my division is doing, what this committee is trying to achieve, and we would just love to contribute any way that we can,” Bruce told the subcommittee. “We’ve been very successful in getting funding for historical structures, or at least structures that have some kind of significance, and we have done several of them in the city.” Bruce said it would fall under the Neighborhood Revitalization Division’s owner-occupied housing program, which the city has had since 1975. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Fisher Memorial Home

Built in 1927 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. When listed, it was considered an outstanding example of a Period Revival residential and commercial building executed in local material of uncoursed fieldstone construction. The house is currently in a significant state of disrepair. Some windows and doors are missing or damaged and the roof is leaking, which can cause structural damage. (Photo source: Marge Jantz.)

August 2007 Update: Local interest has picked up in finding solutions to the protection of this site.

Meehan/Gaar House

Built in 1903 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the house is an unusual example of the Colonial Revival influence executed in adobe. The house is significant for its association with two of Casa Grande’s well-known citizens: (1) Tom J. Meehan who built the house and owned Gilt Edge Saloon and served on the Casa Grande Board of Trade and (2) Fanne Gaar who served on the City Council and was the first woman to be elected mayor of an Arizona city. The house is currently in a state of disrepair with deteriorating veranda, roofing, and adobe walls. (Photo source: Marge Jantz.)

August 2007 Update: Local interest has picked up in finding solutions to the protection of this site.

Southern Pacific Railroad Depot

Built in 1939 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the depot is a rare example of Pueblo/Deco architecture. It’s one of only a few surviving railroad depots using Pueblo style architecture with Art Deco features. The building has been listed previously on APF’s Most Endangered Properties List. The building is still owned by Union Pacific Railroad and sits in their right-of-way. The City has been attempting to purchase the property or get the railroad’s permission on applying for grants to stabilize the structure for several years. (Photo source: Marge Jantz.)

October 2007 Update: “Casa Grande still wants to save historic depot,” Casa Grande Valley Newspaper, October 24, 2007.

August 2007 Update: Local interest has picked up in finding solutions to the protection of this site.