The fate of the historic WPA Civic Building in Phoenix may still be up in the air, but thanks to a last-minute meeting called by the Arizona Exposition and State Fair Board, the demolition has been once again delayed.
On Tuesday, July 22, the Arizona Exposition and State Fair Board called a meeting at the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum to discuss the future of the historic 1938 building located on the Arizona State Fairgrounds at 19th Avenue and McDowell Road. The 4 p.m. meeting was held less then 24 hours before a scheduled 9:30 a.m. hearing on Wednesday, July 23, under presiding judge David O. Cunanan to discuss proposed outcomes for the building.
The public meeting was attended by members of the community, including representatives from the historic preservation group, Preserve Phoenix, which has been a frontrunner in fighting off the demolition since construction fencing first appeared around the Civic Building on Monday, July 14.
The meeting began with an executive session held by the State Fair Board and their legal team. Following that, the general public was invited into the boardroom to discuss further considerations for the building. The meeting adjourned with a a unanimous motion to shelve the demolition, pushing back the July 23 hearing until at least, Friday, August 1.
"It gives everyone time to sit down and develop a plan involving the state, the city, the neighborhood, the community, and come up with a plan to stabilize the building, and renovate it, and come up with a good use for it," says Jim McPherson of the board of directors for Preserve Phoenix.
That being said, McPherson notes that the definite word used by the State Fair Board was "shelved," meaning demolition is still a possibility.
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"We're working to try to come to a resolution, a solution, to find a use for the building, and finding funds for its renovation," says attorney and Preserve Phoenix board member Jennifer Boucek, who originally filed the temporary restraining order that delayed the demolition of the Civic Building.
"That may take longer than a week though, so we'll be working to try extend the injunction so that we can have more time or at least get an agreement form the parties that they'll give us a certain amount of time while we're actively working."
To stay up to date on hearings, meetings, and other activities regarding the preservation of the historic WPA Civic Building, visit www.preservephoenix.org or follow the case at www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov.