City of Fresno Announces Bi-Annual Historic Preservation Awards

FRESNO – Mayor Ashley Swearengin today announced the winners of the City’s 2012 Historic Preservation Awards to honor individuals or groups who have demonstrated excellence in the restoration of an historic building, leadership in preservatioin planning or neighborhood revitalization.

The winners will be recognized in a ceremony at City Council’s Thursday, Dec. 20, meeting at 8:30 a.m.

Seven projects are being recognized as outstanding examples of restoration and rehabilitation. All of these projects are located in Fresno’s Downtown Triangle, a particularly compelling fact in this difficult economic climate.

Here are the winners:

  • Granville Homes is being honored for its full restoration of the 1922 Flora Montague Bungalow Court located at 950 E. Divisadero Street. The court had sustained two fires. The prior owner applied to have the property delisted as a Heritage Property so that it could be sold and demolished. Working with City staff and the Historic Preservation Commission, Granville Homes constructed a new bungalow to replace the one that burned in 2011 as well as a new two-story unit off axis to replace a unit that burned years ago. Granville Homes also reconstructed the Japanesque entry gate that fronts onto E. Divisadero and matched it with another at the rear of the property. All existing bungalows were faithfully restored, and the kitchen and HVAC systems were upgraded.
  • The Housing Division of the City of Fresno is being recognized for its outstanding customer service and for the faithful restoration of several older single-family properties in downtown neighborhoods.
  • Several projects qualified under the category “Adaptive Reuse,” in which a residential property was repurposed to become commercial space, or a commercial space was transformed into loft housing. InterVarsity’s FIFUL, working with architect Christopher Johnson AIA and a crew of volunteers, rehabilitated the c1902 “Towne Apartments” at 1717 L Street. The restoration work included refinishing all of the original 1/1 wood sash windows and the removal of the in-fill that masked the former full-width porch. The c1902 Mission Revival style Helm Home is located two doors away from the Towne Apartments at 1749 L Street. Although still in progress, the Fresno Housing Authority and Scott Vincent, Preservation Architect, are completing the restoration work on both the exterior as well as the interior of this former home for adaptive reuse as office space.
  • Two projects entailed adapting commercial spaces for residential use. Reza Assemi created 23 live/work lofts from the c1936 LeMoss-Smith Tire Company building located at 1625 Broadway. Pyramid Homes with architect Marvin Armstrong transformed the 1953 office building located at 64 N. Fulton for 19 studios.
  • A single award winner this year in the “In-fill/Sustainable” category is the new single-family residence located at 415 N. Calaveras. The project was shepherded by the Lowell Community Development Corporation (LCDC), working with Robin Goldbeck Architects.

The Mayor’s Historic Preservation Awards also honor individuals and groups for their contributions to history, architectural research and community service. Mike Clifton, Ph.D., will receive recognition for his 20-plus years of service on the Tower District Design Review Committee. Barbara Fiske will be honored for the active role she has taken over the past several years serving as a volunteer on any number of committees and projects in the Lowell Neighborhood.

A community group award will be presented to HandsOn Central California RSVP, which has supplied volunteers for many years at the iconic Old Fresno Water Tower (1894). These volunteers interpret the history of this National Register property and also direct tourists to various sites within the Fresno area.

The “Horizon Award” is given to an individual (or group) who has made significant contributions over the past few years. This year’s winner is Michelle Henderson Swift, for her work coordinating volunteers at another iconic Fresno site, the 1929 Warnor’s Theater.

Finally, this year’s “Russell and Pat Fey Memorial Preservationist of the Year” award will be given to Elizabeth Laval. Ms. Laval has worked tirelessly over the years to preserve the priceless heritage of her grandfather’s 100,000 photo images through the Pop Laval Foundation. Ms. Laval also serves on the Fresno County Landmarks Commission and is the Chief Development Officer at Valley PBS. The award is named for Russell and Pat Fey (both deceased), long-time advocates of Fresno history and architecture.

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 architect Michele Randel AIA, CSI. The committee’s recommendations were then forwarded for approval to Mayor Ashley Swearengin.

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

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