Outlook on history: Peoria sets 2018-19 plan for historic preservation, Old Town strategy

This jail house is one of five buildings that make up the museum in Old Town Peoria, which has been taken back by the city of Peoria, the landlord and owner. [Submitted photo]

By Philip Haldiman, Independent Newsmedia

Peoria has a palette of historic preservation goals in the coming year and beyond, including a more detailed plan for the future of Old Town.

In November, the Peoria Historic Preservation Commission approved their 2018-2019 Historic Preservation Work Plan, which outlines the preservation goals for  the next few years, including progressing with the National Register of Historic Places nominations of Peoria High School’s Old  Main and Old Town’s jail house.

They also approved the Old Town Block Strategy to determine the highest and best use analysis for the area, to include market-based redevelopment scenarios and code/policy recommendations, as well as develop a branding and marketing strategy for the area to include specific sign and thematic elements, and overall cost estimates.

The next meeting of the Peoria Historic Preservation Commission is 6 p.m. Jan. 10.

Planning Director Chris Jacques said the highest and best use component  of the Old Town Block Strategy is in progress right now and has not yet been completed.

Here is an update on four unfinished properties within Old Town:

Kosiers
The property, formerly the long-time home to Kosiers hardware store, was acquired by the city in 2017. Its ultimate disposition is not yet known with no pending action. The Old Town Block Strategy will inform future decisions.

Dry cleaners
The property, formerly the long-time home to a dry cleaners was acquired by the city in 2017. Its ultimate disposition is not yet known with no pending action. The Old Town Block Strategy will inform future decisions.

Edwards Hotel
The property, home to Peoria’s first hotel and one of its oldest buildings, was bought in 2017 and is privately-owned. “Themed hospitality” is the proposed use being considered. The owner is working with the city on the process and required improvements, according to documents.

Axiom Church
The 3,960 square foot church is privately-owned. The owner has obtained site plan and design review approval for a 3,020 square foot addition that will include an expanded sanctuary, classrooms and a 722 square foot cafe called Driftwood Coffee Shop. The building permit has been obtained and work is under construction.

Down the street from Old Town, the Maricopa Integrated Health System Health Center is planned for the 20-acre lot at the southwest corner of Cotton Crossing and Grand Avenue.

The 127,000 square foot facility is proposed to include an urgent care, dental clinic, dialysis clinic, four operating rooms, two major procedural rooms and recovery bays. Behavioral health services, a retail pharmacy, labs and an on-site café, are also expected for the $70 million project. It is projected to open during the first quarter of 2020.

Mr. Jacques said accomplishments for 2016-17 included getting Old Main listed on the Arizona Register of Historic Places, completing the Varney Tract Report and interviews, as well as nearly completing the Palo Verde Interpretive Plan phase 2.

The 2018-19 work plan includes:

  • complete additional context for Peoria High School’s Old Main National Register of Historic Places nomination
  • nomination preparation of the Old Town jail house for the National Register of Historic Places
  • identification of areas for themed street signs
  • historic surveys

 

If you go
What: Peoria Historic Preservation Commission meeting
When: 6 p.m. Jan. 10
Where: Peoria City Council Chambers, 8401 W. Monroe St.
More info: peoriaaz.gov; 623-773-7200



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