April 6, 1999
Todd Scott, the newly named architect for the Oklahoma Main Street program, spent a few hours in Perry the other evening looking over our downtown area and he was excited with what he saw. The variety of architectural styles appealed to him. He believes the possibilities of restoration are very good, second story space is in good supply, and work that already has been done was carried out intelligently and well.
Some other state towns our size are boring in their architectural sameness, Todd said. Perry has a good mix of one-story and two-story buildings and that appeals to his sense of design. Upper floors are excellent for use either as residential or office needs.
Todd was accompanied by some of our Perry Main Street workers on a tour of several buildings around the square. David Payne and Larry Anderson, two members of the local organization's Design Committee, went along to explain what has been accomplished so far and to point out some of the projects that bear a high priority for the near future. One of these is a restoration of the City Hall building on the south side of the square. An aluminum facade now covers panes of opaque glass which once admitted daylight, and a drop ceiling hides the original pressed metal ceiling that was greatly in vogue when the one-story brick building was constructed. The original recessed entryway at the front of the building can be restored at a reasonable cost and removal of the aluminum front could be completed in about one day, Todd said. The overall visual result would be startling.
Work on the City Hall building remains a high priority for Main Street members and city officials as well. Mayor Leroy Rolling and several city council members met with Todd and a number of Main Street representatives in the Foucart building after the tour to hear the architect's thoughts on our dreams for the future. More discussion will follow on the part of the council and the mayor, but from the questions asked at that meeting it seemed apparent that there is a unanimous sense of approval.
Our present City Hall at 626 Cedar Street was the home of the late Everett Nelson's South Side Pharmacy for many years. It was one of the early brick buildings constructed here in something other than Victorian design. It's in the middle of the south side of the square, separated from the other half by a two-block long thoroughfare that originally was named Brogan Street in honor of our first mayor, John M. Brogan. The name was changed to Gene Taylor Street a few years ago as a tribute to The Perry Daily Journal's reporter/editor who covered council meetings for many years. The opaque glass panes on both the north front and east front of the building were attractively arranged and had transoms that could be opened for more sunlight and air. The recessed entry was at the northeast corner of the building.
We are fortunate to live in a community where civic pride prevails. The Main Street program offers us advice, leadership, professional service and direction for an orderly transition, and our own local folks eagerly provide the dynamics. Grants are available for property owners who want to be part of this revitalization process. Details can be obtained through the Perry Main Street office in the basement of the Foucart building. Call Betty Warner, the local program director, at 336-1212, if you have questions about any aspect of this extremely worthwhile movement, or if you'd like to become an active part of the program. As more and more become involved, the work tempo will speed up and these noble efforts will bear fruit quicker. Join up and lend a hand. You'll become excited, too.