Gov. Janet Napolitano presented Wants and Wishes Antiques and Gifts with the first place award for Best Medium Scale Renovation Project at the Governor's Rural Development Conference (RDC) in Oro Valley last Friday.
Wants and Wishes was the only entry of five Payson Main Street nominees to take first place, although the National Bank of Arizona office was a finalist in the New Building Project category.
Payson's other nominees included the Ox Bow Inn for Best Historic Preservation Project, the Main Street Walking Tour for Best Public/Private Partnership, and the Payson Stampede Mountain Bike Challenge and Street Festival for Best Special Event.
The restored house that was converted to Wants and Wishes was built by Jesse and Lena Chilson in 1915. The original home was the first built in Payson with electrical wiring inside the walls, instead of in conduit exposed on the wall's surface.
"Wants and Wishes owners Andy and Cindy Romance made a significant effort to preserve, restore and honor the building's historic past while providing much needed economic activity for today and the future," Main Street Project Manager Carol McCauley said.
Through interviews conducted with friends and descendants of the original owners, great care was taken to restore its original ambience. A total of $65,000 was spent on exterior rehabilitation, which included converting the front yard from a parking lot to an attractively landscaped area reminiscent of the lush flower gardens for which the house was once known.
The front yard now features a garden and arbor, while the back yard sports an elegant sun deck. Other improvements included removing a metal roof and restoring the original shake roof. Rooms inside the historic house are now used to showcase antiques, collectibles and knickknacks.
"I'm amazed at how many people are connected to the building, from the past owners, to carpenters recognizing pillar styles, to friends helping friends polish the feet of the old bath tub," Andy Romance said. "My wife and I are proud to be in the long line of caregivers to this special place."
National Bank of Arizona's new office at Main Street and Highway 87, which opened earlier this year, was selected for its adherence to design standards recommended by the Main Street Design Review Committee.
In the process of designing the building, Amon Builders not only incorporated the monument-style Main Street entrance sign now on the bank's property, but also replaced the metal facer plate in the plans with natural wood, replaced the bank's normal maroon logo color with browns, and matched the historic stone used on the monument instead of the original rock shown on the plans.
Other winners in the 2005 Main Street competition include:
- Main Street Individual of the Year -- Shirley Tolley of Sedona, a founding member of the Sedona Main Street Program.
- Business Excellence Award -- Florence MOLB Enterprise, a family business that has invested more than $500,000 over the past five years in the community.
- Best Special Event -- Casa Grande Main Street Program for their "Art in the Alley" event.
- New Building Project -- Arroyo Roble Shops, of Sedona, for constructing a high-quality, attractive building to enhance the existing hotel business.
- Best Public Improvement -- City of Prescott, for their long-awaited "Garage on Granite" parking project.
- Best Economic Restructuring Story -- Sedona Center Park, for converting an eyesore driveway in front of the restaurant into a public park area.
- Best Public/Private Partner-ship -- Casa Grande's "Pedestrian Park," which transformed a blighted dirt corner into an attractive park with art features and 16 parking spaces.
- Best Promotional Material -- Prescott Main Street Program, for setting-up a three-sided information kiosk located on the Courthouse Plaza.
- Best Main Street Large Scale Renovation Project -- Uptown Mall in Sedona for renovating a two-story high mall area into an inviting open space.
- Best Main Street Small Scale Renovation -- Cottage Gallery in Sedona, which made renovations and property improvements to preserve its historical value.
- Historic Preservation Project -- Harvey Niemeyer House in Florence, built in 1874.his once dilapidated home was returned to its original splendor and is now used as an office and meeting space.
The annual Rural Development Conference is a partnership between the Arizona Association for Economic Development (AAED), the Governor's Office and The Arizona Department of Commerce.
For more information about the awards or the Governor's RDC visit www.azcommerce.com.