Local First Arizona has been a strong advocate for adaptive reuse projects and historical preservation. Both of these concepts have proven to be strong economic development tools in cities and towns across the state.
Adaptive reuse consists of maintaining the structure and character of old buildings for a new use. In Phoenix, Local First Arizona has partnered with the City to do a series of workshops advancing the adaptive reuse concept and educating curious business owners about the process. Some may not know that many favorite Phoenix restaurants are adaptive reuse projects: The Parlor Pizzeria (formerly a hair parlor), Cibo (formerly an old house), and Postino Arcadia (formerly a post office). Tucson's Warehouse Arts Management Organization (WAMO) is transforming an old warehouse into an artists' haven and studio. These local businesses offer a unique environment that communities embrace and cannot be replicated, which adds value to those neighborhoods and towns. Plus, it highlights the importance local businesses have in place-making.
But these concepts are also crucial to the vitality of Arizona's rural communities as well. The Arizona State Parks Director Bryan Martyn recently completed a "Historic Tour Series" across Arizona, saying "I was surprised to learn how enthusiastic Arizona has been repurposing its historic facilities and using those historic resources for a multitude of uses... Arizona leaders are saving our natural and cultural resources through innovative thinking and continue to find positive solutions that will benefit the State, enhance our quality of life and help maintain rural traditions and values."
There are some pretty amazing sights to see across Arizona, and especially at our state parks. Martyn says, "I would encourage you all to schedule some weekends to discover Tucson's San Xavier and Historic Train Depot. Get to Flagstaff to visit Riordan Mansion State Historic Park and El Tovar at the Grand Canyon. Stand on the corner in Winslow, Arizona, visit the Hopi Homolovi State Park and visit La Posada hotel and train station. Have you seen historic Fort Naco, or the historic Presidio in Tubac?"
Local First Arizona is also a sponsor of the upcoming Historic Preservation Conference June 11-13 in Rio Rico. At this year's conference, they will "analyze how preservation cannot only be sustainable, but become an economic engine" and show how "preservation efforts affect the economy through cultural tourism, economic development, rehabilitation, adaptive reuse, revitalization, job creation and so much more." Consider attending this informative conference to learn about the important role historic preservation plays in ours state.
Do you have a favorite adaptive reuse or historic preservation project? Let us know in the comments!