Residents and preservationists of a Mesa neighborhood with early 20th century homes is moving forward with its first organizational meeting to determine whether there is enough interest to begin the process of designating it as a historic district.
At 7 p.m. Thursday, a meeting will be held at City Hall to begin gauging whether there is enough interest among the neighborhood's residents along East Second Avenue between Center Street and Pasadena to deem the area as historic and move forward with the nomination process.
The neighborhood considering the possibility of a historic district that has yet to be formally named also includes one block of Sirrine north to East First Avenue and one block of Pasadena to East First Avenue.
The neighborhood - which was not a development, contains about 60 homes built from about 1910 to the early 1930s near downtown and about one block south of the Mesa Arts Center, said Donna Benge, chairwoman of Mesa's Historic Preservation Board. The homes vary in style and include Tudor revivals, stucco and Southwest revival-style homes.
"Often times, when a neighborhood is declared historic, the homes are spruced up and people keep up their properties," Benge said. "The neighborhood is nicer, the homes are worth more and there can be less crime. It's a nice neighborhood with wide streets and nice front yards for the most part. Some of the homes also need to be improved."
"Nothing is set in stone," Benge added. "Nothing is going to be forced upon the residents. We're just going to see if this is something that the people would like to see brought about."
Since 1984, the City of Mesa has commissioned several historic preservation surveys and since 1999, has designated seven neighborhoods as historic districts.
Designation of an historic district is the same process as changing the zoning on the property, and the meeting on Thursday is expected to start the nomination process after property owners receive information.
The review procedures require citizen participation and notification, review and recommendation by the Historic Preservation Board, review and recommendation by the planning and zoning board, and final action by city council. Property owners considering applying for historic district designation are strongly encouraged to contact the Historic Preservation Officer early in their consideration.
The area being considered must have either seven or more properties whether or not separated by a street, or at least four adjacent and adjoining lots or parcels with at least 300 feet of consecutive street frontage.
Also to be considered, the area must have at least one of the following:
• Meet the criteria for historic districts adopted by the State of Arizona through the State Historic Preservation Office.
• Substantially meet the criteria for the listing of districts to the National Register of Historic Places adopted by the United States Secretary of the Interior.
To date, seven historic districts have been established in Mesa: Evergreen, West Second Street, Glenwood/Wilbur, Temple, Robson, Fraser Fields, and West Side Clark. All of these districts are on the National Register of Historic Places, making the area and various properties eligible for grants and other incentives to help with restoration and preservation efforts.
"Now, that we have a number of historic neighborhoods, it's becoming popular to have such a thing," Benge said.
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