By Julie Wiessner
The Route 66 Plaza area, located behind the Standin’ On The Corner Building at 106 W. Second St. in Winslow, has been cleaned up and landscaped, using $300,000 in city capital improvement funds. The city is now waiting for $488,000 from the Arizona Department of Transportation’s National Scenic Grant Fund to finish the project.
When the funds are available, a performance stage, lighting, street furniture, including benches. and signage will complete that city park.
“The people of Winslow designed the park back in 2007, which covers three lots. The initial improvements to make it a useable park included irrigation, electrical panels, grass, trees and landscaping, explained Winslow City Planner Paul Ferris.
Right now, it is essentially an overflow area for the Standin’ On The Corner event and other events that take place there. Ferris continued, “I checked with ADOT last month and was told it was still in the review process at that time.”
It all started when the roof of the 1908 JC Penney building at that location was being redone in 2004 in an effort to restore the building to its former glory. A roofing torch caught the roof on fire, which resulted in its cave-in.
There was asbestos material in the roof and walls, and some petroleum product from the old oil heater that used to heat the building. Both materials were found in the ground after the fire.
In November 2006 the city purchased the land. The ground was cleaned up and the city had to repeat testing in order to ensure none of these substances were left in the area.
Remediation by the city began in 2007 and four years ago, the trees were planted.
“As soon as we get the go ahead to use the federal funding, things will start moving again,” said Ferris.
By Julie Wiessner