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Fri, Sept. 20

Whiskey Row renaming back on Prescott Council agenda

PRESCOTT - The Prescott City Council is expected to make decisions this week on two issues that have been discussed for weeks: the renaming of Whiskey Row, and a variance for an electronic sign at Yavapai College.

The council voting session will take place at 3 p.m. Tuesday, at Prescott City Hall, 201 S. Cortez St.

The Whiskey Row matter first went to the council in September, when downtown businessman Dave Michelson presented a petition that asked the city to change the name of the 100 block of South Montezuma Street to "Historic Whiskey Row."

Although informally known as Whiskey Row for much of the past century, the block has officially retained the Montezuma Street name that dates back to Prescott's 1860s origins.

Michelson, who owns the Palace Restaurant and Saloon, and other business owners have maintained that the name change would reduce confusion for visitors who are looking for Whiskey Row. It would also help to conjure up Prescott's old west heritage, supporters say.

But the city has also heard from owners who say the official name change is pointless, because signs already designate the one-block area as Whiskey Row. Some owners also have balked at the expense that would be involved in officially changing their address on legal documents and mail.

In early November, the Prescott Preservation Commission and the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors both recommended against the name change, pushing instead for a cohesive marketing effort that would promote the block as Whiskey Row.

City Manager Craig McConnell said Wednesday that other entities have suggested an alternative that would involve placing banners at each end of Whiskey Row.

Although the Preservation Commission weighed in because Whiskey Row is in a historic district, McConnell said the final decision is up to the City Council.

In other action, the council will:

• Consider a request by Yavapai College for a "changeable" electronic sign in public right-of-way at the Highway 69/89 interchange's approach to Sheldon Street.

When the issue first went to the council in late October, safety issues arose, and council members tabled the item to allow for more discussion on the location.

Then, when the matter went back to the council in mid-November, council members again pulled the item off its agenda to allow for more discussion.

Since then, McConnell said, the college has modified its request, reducing the height and the overall size of the proposed sign. Under the changes, the sign would no longer need a variance from the city on its height or overall size, although the electronic area would still require a variance.

The location would remain the same under the revised proposal, McConnell said.

• Consider spending about $1 million to buy two fire trucks. McConnell said the new trucks are needed to replace trucks that have had considerable maintenance costs in the past year. Both trucks are more than 10 years old. One had $33,000 in maintenance costs, and the other had $30,000 in repairs in the past fiscal year.

• Hear a presentation by Parks and Recreation Director Joe Baynes on citywide mowing operations.

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