Springerville celebrates historic school’s comeback

[Source: WMICentral.com, Larisa Bogardus] – – Echoes of footsteps, laughter and chatter recently brought the historic Springerville Elementary School back to life again for a day. State and local officials as well as supporters of the building’s rehabilitation celebrated the long-awaited project with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Nov. 21, followed by a brief tour of the site.

“The old school will be a jewel for this community and its citizens to enjoy in the future,” Town Manager Steve West said. “We all should realize its value historically as well as the potential it will have as a meeting place and museum for the people of Round Valley.”  The $250,000 project is funded by an Arizona Heritage Fund preservation grant, a Department of Housing and Urban Development grant facilitated by Congressman Rick Renzi and a Community Development Block Grant. Interior work began in early October and includes handicapped ramps, ADA rest rooms, HVAC, plumbing and electrical work. Arizona Department of Transportation widened the entry drive from Main Street as part of an intergovernmental agreement for services.  Workers for Hamblin Building Systems of Eagar will replace the exterior windows and doors this winter in preparation for new stucco and paint in the spring. Exterior stairs will be replaced and new ramps will be installed as well.  [Note: to read the full article click here.]

Arizona Lottery funds benefit Yuma-area projects

[Source: YumaSun.com, Joyce Lobeck] – –  Over the years, the Arizona Lottery has provided millions of dollars for projects in the Yuma area that make it a better place to live and visit.  Those projects range from parks and recreation to wildlife preservation, education, public health, transportation and economic development, said Art Macias, executive director of Arizona Lottery, during a presentation Tuesday to Yuma-area leaders and community members. He repeated the presentation in San Luis, Ariz., for south county representatives.

Since Arizona voters first approved the lottery in 1981, nearly $30 million has gone to help fund projects in Yuma County stretching from San Luis to Wellton, Macias said. A good share of that funding has gone to local transportation needs as a partner with the city of Yuma and Yuma County, he said. Lottery money also helped fund the rehabilitation of the Yuma County Courthouse and the Historic Yuma Theatre, the development of Gateway Park and the West Wetlands along the riverfront, the Urgent Care and Family Center in Somerton, electricity for street lighting in San Luis and street maintenance in Wellton. [Note: to read the full article click here.]

Historic hotel in Florence Arizona to get overhaul

Over the years, there have been several rumors of overhauling the structure but nothing came to life until now.  The historic building will get a complete makeover by the end of the year, say officials with the town of Florence, which owns the building and is paying for most of the renovations with more than $500,000 in grants.  The building won’t turn into another hotel but will instead be revamped into retail and office space, Florence Public Information Officer Jess Knudson said during a recent tour of the structure.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Arizona Heritage Fund grants possible to revitalize downtown Buckeye

[Source: Cynthia Benin, Arizona Republic] — Business owners in Buckeye can receive up to $25,000 to renovate buildings for commercial use in the downtown area.  The Core Area Revitalization Effort (CARE) presented by the Buckeye Main Street Coalition was approved by the Town Council last week, providing for some major changes to the current revitalization program.  The new guidelines more than double the cap on funding previously set at $10,000, which could provide only for changes to a building’s facade but couldn’t fix more fundamental failings.  “The problem with downtown is that many of the buildings aren’t up to town code,” said Main Street Coalition Interim Director John Bowers.  “That’s why they’re empty.”  He hopes the new program, which will require some legal work before the first grants are awarded, will launch projects to bring many of these buildings up to code and make downtown “a vibrant and viable business community.”

The proposal also narrows the boundaries that determine which buildings are eligible for funding.  Only buildings east of Miller Road, north of Centre Avenue, west of 239th Avenue and south of the railroad tracks can receive financing, though businesses on lots fronting either side of these border streets also qualify.  For grants more than $10,000, business owners are required to match 25 percent of the grant from their own pockets, and all funding recipients are required to occupy the building for at least one year, a stipulation designed to promote commitment to the area.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]