City Of Fresno Announces Annual Historic Preservation Awards

The City’s 2008 Historic Preservation Awards were announced today by Mayor Alan Autry. Individuals or groups who have demonstrated excellence in the restoration of a historic building, leadership in preservation planning or neighborhood revitalization, or an outstanding in-fill project will be honored in a ceremony at the City Council meeting at 10 am on Tuesday, December 16th.

Nominations for the awards were submitted by City staff and members of the public to a committee consisting of Karana Hattersley-Drayton (Historic Preservation Project Manager), Dr. Don Simmons (Chair, City of Fresno Historic Preservation Commission) and local architectural historian Lauren MacDonald.

Of the ten projects, groups and individuals honored, all but two represent properties in the Downtown triangle. As Mayor Autry noted, “Even in this economic climate, it is gratifying to see our downtown revitalization move forward with so many projects brought to completion.” Two of the winning projects in fact were sponsored by the City of Fresno.

Two projects will be honored under the category “Outstanding Rehabilitation of a Residential Property.” Michelle Adams bought the former Sunset Apartments located at 1133 T Street near the Community Medical Center and restored this c1910 complex for multi-family use. The Marjorie Mason Center will be honored for its careful restoration of the façade of the Julia Morgan-designed YWCA Residence Hall. Chris Johnson served as the Preservation Architect for the project and Larry Muzny as the contractor.

Several non-residential projects will be honored this year. Receiving an award in the “Outstanding Rehabilitation of a Commercial Property” are Romi Baghgegian and Jake Kojikian of Pasadena, for their restoration and adaptive reuse of the 1920 Hotel Virginia. The Fresno Metropolitan Museum is the recipient of an award for a non-profit organization for its rehabilitation of the 1922 former Fresno Bee Building, listed on both the Local Register and the National Register of Historic Places.

Two city-sponsored projects include the Fresno Airports restoration of the 1937 WPA Chandler Airport Terminal, Scott Vincent project architect, and the Fresno Fire Department for its adaptive reuse of the 1903 Hobbs-Parsons Warehouse for a new Department Headquarters and Museum, DLP Associates architects.

The “Sustainable/In-fill Project” award will be presented to Fresno Cohousing for “La Querencia.” The Fresno Green certified multi-family project was recognized for its design which playfully quotes the vernacular architecture of the region in both the residential units as well as in its community buildings, McCamant & Durrett Architects.

Kathleen Omachi will be honored under the “Neighborhood Preservation Award-Community Leader” for her many years of service to Fresno’s Chinatown. Ms. Omachi has served as the Board President of Chinatown Revitalization Inc. and has also been a volunteer team member for several City-sponsored survey projects in Chinatown, including the City’s firstever archaeological project.

The Meux Home Docents will be recognized for their thirty years of volunteer service to the community under the “Community Preservation Award.” The group serves to interpret the history of this 1889 Queen Anne home, which is listed on both the Local Register and the National Register of Historic Places.

Finally, this year’s “Russell and Pat Fey Memorial Preservationist of the Year” award will be given to attorney Bruce Owdom, Chair of the Fresno Historical Society’s Preservation Committee, a position he has held for over ten years. Mr. Owdom was a leading force in the preservation of the Old Administration Building at Fresno City College and served on the committee that developed the Tower District Specific Plan. He lives with his family in the proposed Wilson Island Historic District. The award is named for Russell and Pat Fey (both deceased), long-time advocates of Fresno history and architecture.

For more information, please call Karana Hattersley-Drayton (Historic Preservation Project Manager) at 621-8520.

CONTACT: John Wallace, Public Affairs Manager (559) 621-7777