New tool helps city council protect and preserve Roosevelt Row buildings

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Phoenix makes move to preserve Roosevelt Row homes. (10 July 2017) [Source: 3TV/CBS5] Phoenix makes move to preserve Roosevelt Row homes. (10 July 2017) [Source: 3TV/CBS5]

Hanging onto history in the Roosevelt Row Arts District just became a little less challenging thanks to a recent Phoenix City Council vote that will preserve three landmark buildings.

"Last week the council, used a new tool to help protect those buildings," said Councilor Kate Gallego adding, "it's a 30-year conservation easement which means those buildings will stay in their current form for 30 years."

The first of the three properties included in this is the Wurth House, which was already moved once to Fourth Street and Roosevelt in order to save it.

The other two are the Arizona Flower Shop building on Fifth Street and Roosevelt and a bungalow home just south of the flower shop on Fifth.

"They'll be new uses on the inside but the outside will be those great bungalow looks that people have come to love about Roosevelt Row," the city councilwoman said.

While iconic murals and galleries can still be found in the famed arts district it has been a struggle to keep some of the original buildings due to large mixed use and residential developments.

Neighborhood advocates say a lack of incentives for adaptive re-use, preservation and infill have made it even more challenging for property owners who want to stay true to the history of the Evans-Churchill neighborhood Roosevelt Row is in.

"It has to have texture and character," Dorina Bustamante said.

Bustamante is the president of the Evans-Churchill Community Association, and she says there needs to be a healthy mix in the area of new and old buildings; these easements will help sustain the history.

"The bungalows that were built here have all sort of wonderful character and what remains of them we really want to hold onto for historic purposes," she said adding, "even though some of these buildings do not qualify yet to be on the historic preservation registrar they are vintage and they're valuable and they're a representation of what Downtown Phoenix was at one point and we really want to preserve that for the future."

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