Historic Structures of Armory Park

Historic structures are among the appealing features of Armory park and certainly attracted Donna and me to the neighborhood. In a past post, I mentioned that Annie Laos IMG_2360is our next door neighbor. She was the leader of a movement to preserve the old Safford School buildings and was also a major player in the creation of our Historic Preservation Zone. Because she knows we appreciate the community’s history, she gifted us a copy of the armory park:74 ff study which formed the basis for creation of our HPZ. This study was done by the University of Arizona College of Architecture in 1974.

I am going to use the study as the source for a series of articles about the historic structures, mostly homes, which make Armory Park so special. I will also look for other sources of historic information about our neighborhood and the people and places who built it.

If you have relevant material, please contact me: blog@kmtaylor.com

Historic Board, 21 March 2017

The agenda for this meeting included three project reviews. the first informal and two formal reviews.

Donna and I often walk south from our house along the east side of 4th Avenue. We have been pleased to see cleaning up around the long neglected property at 719 S 4th Avenue. The owner came to discuss his plans with the the board and to get their feedback on his ideas. He is new to Tucson but has done property restorations in California and does all of his own work. His general plan is to renovate the structure into four apartments, larger than typical in Armory Park. The biggest unit will have 1600 square feet of living space. The entrance security gate will be recessed and replacement double hung wood windows will be installed to give a more appealing curb presence and fit the rhythm of the surroundings. The courtyard is likely to have a water feature and a carport on Railroad Avenue will be another convenience for residents. Because there has been so much graffiti that can’t be entirely removed, the brick walls will be painted. There will be a brick wall along the south property line to provide privacy  for both properties. A seven foot height was proposed for the wall but the board said that six feet is the height limit. Another former eyesore is now coming back to life. Continue reading “Historic Board, 21 March 2017”

This Blog Neglected

I tend to do things in bursts. Sometimes I write a series of posts in one setting, scheduling them to be published over a number of days. This time my bursts have all related to home projects. Donna and I have spent the last two weeks insulating our attic. We are blessed IMG_2359with a very large attic space but alas, there is absolutely no insulation under the roof of our house’s original structure. We wanted insulation overhead but did not want to give up the excellent storage space (can you ever have enough storage?). Though the cellulose insulation will be blown in by a contractor, we had to build the structure to hold the insulation and wrap over the storage space. Well, we are nearly done with our part and the contractor will do his part next week. We had hope to do the job before hot weather but as you know we have had an unusually hot early Spring. Continue reading “This Blog Neglected”

Board Meeting, 14 March

This meeting was informative on a number of subjects. The kickoff was a presentation on historic landscape of the Armory Park (the park, not the neighborhood) and children’s museum (former Carnegie library). This is a research project leading to a preservation plan. The researchers are seeking community input on improvements and restoration of both spaces. Board discussion centered on keeping open space, preventing changes detracting from AP’s historic character, documenting the history of both spaces and addressing parking issues related to events in the park. Armory Park is the city’s signature park; there are many well attended events staged there so parking is often a problem. More parking lots are not the best solution. Encouraging event sponsors to publish available parking options and connecting public transit could make life easier for event attendees and nearby residents. John Burr, Mark Crum and Martha McClements agreed to accept neighborhood input. Please contact any of them with your thoughts. The presenters will return for the April board meeting. Continue reading “Board Meeting, 14 March”

Politics in this Blog?

Donna and I are news junkies as well as concerned citizens. As I reflect on the recent months, I wonder if our neighbors are similarly concerned. If so, would they (you) want to have a local place to discuss politics and advocate for a certain point of view.

Disclosure: I am a pragmatic moderate but liberal on social issues. I am not registered with a political party. The blog is likely to reflect my views though I want to include other points of view that are not repugnant.

If you want to express your position, please complete the following survey.

Mistakes Can Be Expensive

At the December meeting, the historic board considered a case where the contractor mistakenly built a structure three feet taller than approved. The property under discussion over-height-garage-1is the large guesthouse still under construction behind 741 S 4th Avenue. Because the structure was built so tall, it loomed over Railroad Avenue and appeared much taller than any building nearby. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture before the garage roof was lowered but you can see what it looks like today. The three feet it was lowered gives a normal appearance to the garage and makes it similar in height to other structures nearby. Continue reading “Mistakes Can Be Expensive”

Steve’s Dining List

It’s always helpful to have a little inspiration when looking for a dining spot but when you don’t have a definite plan. Steve Dibble queried our listserv about favorite eating spots and here are his results. You’ve probably seen this already but filed here under the reviews category, it may be easier to find next time you’re hungry for something new. I’ll do reviews of some, also. Thanks, Steve, for collecting these good leads. Continue reading “Steve’s Dining List”

APHZAB Reviews Three Projects

Once again your neighbor representatives worked hard to accommodate their historic preservation mission and the needs of property owners.

509 S 6th 3.jpgThe first project under formal review was the large historic home at 509 S 6th Avenue. The owner described in some detail the deterioration which has afflicted the property and the steps being taken to restore it to its former glory. As is often the case, major plumbing, electrical and structural updating were needed. The brick exterior was repaired with bricks closely matching the existing and on the house next door. The owner proposes to paint509 S 6th 1.jpg the brickwork. Board members advised against it but paint is not within the purview of the APHZAB. Upon being asked, the owner said that he was never informed by the real estate professionals of historic zone requirements. Long Realty was the brokerage. The board approved the project. The owners, Sheldon
Goldstein and Michelle Scopellite, deserve the community’s thanks for bringing this important historic property back to life. Continue reading “APHZAB Reviews Three Projects”

More Acts of Kindness

Among my first positive impressions of Armory Park was the strong sense of community. What makes a neighborhood a community? It is the sense of connection of its residents to each other. That connection is best illustrated when a neighbor has a need and others step in to help. The following two examples gleaned from emails on our listserv illustrate what I am talking about.

The first is an example of a neighbor stepping in to gather support for another experiencing hard times. In addition to the money and food gathered for our struggling neighbor, there is the sense that others care and that you do not have to suffer alone. This last part may be as important as the more material aid. Continue reading “More Acts of Kindness”

Solid Tips for the Life Planning Novice

Recently I received an email offering an article that might be helpful to our residents, especially the younger ones. Jackie is a blogger who does not live in Arizona but her ideas could be useful in your financial planning. Here is her email:


Recently, my husband’s mom passed away, and as we went through the probate process, I began to feel like my husband and I hadn’t done enough to plan for the future.

Sure, we have a retirement plan and a will. But I worried that we hadn’t done enough to ensure our child on the autism spectrum would have a caregiver into adulthood. I realized I wasn’t clear on whether our home could be passed on to our children if something were to happen to us. And these concerns spun into others. Continue reading “Solid Tips for the Life Planning Novice”