Support grows to preserve building - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Support grows to preserve building

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Posted: Saturday, February 14, 2004 6:26 am | Updated: 5:34 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

The Gilbert Historical Society has endorsed an attempt to save the former Higley area general store and post office building.

The group unanimously voted last week to support the San Tan Historical Society, which is preparing to seek a listing on the National Register of Historic Places for the 94-year-old structure at the southwest corner of Higley and Williams Field roads.

Gilbert plans to remove the building to widen the intersection, which will be near two exits on the future Santan Freeway stretch of Loop 202.

Gilbert Historical Society president Mike Conner said he does not know what the society’s role may be. He said Gilbert’s plans for this property are part of a trend.

"A lot of historic buildings have already been demolished by Gilbert," said Conner, pointing to the old railroad depot, a house that was once home to a segregated school and the town’s initial support of removing the downtown water tower.

Ruth Gieszl, a Gilbert Historical Society charter member, said she’s "100 percent on the (San Tan group’s) side." But she also realizes to save the building, it may need to be moved.

Gilbert Town Manager George Pettit said the town checks for any historical designation before moving forward with plans. He said the town then works directly with the owner.

The San Tan society plans to meet with Gilbert officials about the Higley building and has discussed a partnership with Johnson Ranch developer George Johnson to purchase the building, society vice president Gordon Brown said.

Gilbert has started negotiations with property owner Lidia Torres, who operates Higley Stop & Shop, El Taco Loco Mexican Grill and Musica Latina.

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