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Wed, July 17

Saving history<BR>Group forms to preserve houses in the Hassayampa Country Club

"It was really everybody buying their own home," subdivision member Bob Beyea said. "I just saw a real opportunity there because it is in an historic (overlay) district. I have been looking to invest in real estate."

Since then, Beyea and the others have been restoring the homes, which date from 1939 to 1945 and are all listed on the National Registrar of Historic Places. They consist of eight homes made from poured concrete and four others being stone cottages and vary in size from 1,000 to 5,000 square feet, homeowners Bob Girard and Nancy Del Mar said.

Two of the owners moved into the homes, but most of the others rented the homes or sold them to other buyers, said Girard, who lives in one house and rents the other.

Girard, Beyea and other members of the subdivision said they bought the homes as an investment, while acknowledging historic preservation served as their main motivation.

At the time of the purchase, the homes varied in condition from poor to good, said Del Mar, who along with husband, Rock, own the house on Country Club. The couple, transplants to Prescott from Tempe, lives elsewhere in Prescott.

Several homes were not suited for habitation, said Girard, a consultant for historic preservation.

Some homes needed new kitchens, plumbing, electrical, flooring, roofs and bathtubs, Girard said.

"We're providing a lot of employment to small contractors," he said.

Beyea, a commercial loan officer for a bank, said he hired contractors to separate two attached homes by removing a connecting structure, a room built between both houses. He said he returned the homes to their original configuration, sold one of them and is restoring the second house.

Beyea, a Prescott resident since 1960 who lives elsewhere in town, said that he sold a 3,000-square-foot home and retained a 4,600-square-foot house. He added that whoever buys the larger house could rent a downstairs apartment.

The remodeling work took anywhere from two months to a year, Del Mar said.

Del Mar said the city's Preservation Commission needed to approve any remodeling work that requires building permits because the homes are located within the historic district.

The requirement is designed to protect the historic integrity of the homes, Community Development Director Tom Guice said, adding that each district sets its own design standards under the provisions of a city ordinance.

"It (the ordinance) talks about everything from the types of materials, and addresses architectural style for that specific district," he explained.

Guice said the City Council establishes historic districts if a majority of the property owners agree to such a designation.

The homeowners on Country Club and Old Hassayampa Lane are like-minded in their commitment into preserving part of Prescott's past. State officials honored them with the Arizona Heritage Preservation Honor Award for 2003.

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