By April Laliberte.
I stand with Jeff Maurer inside of the building affectionately known as “The Pike” in southside Flagstaff, sipping a hot Americano. We discuss the original floorboards and exposed beams in the ceiling with enthusiasm. This building has a history of being a grocery store, apartments, and a distillery in the basement. I am intrigued by the ingenuity of Jeff and his wife, Kari, as I marvel at the wood on the inside of the building. “Remember the scary, unsafe porch on the back of this building? We’ve reused the old wood from that porch for paneling,” Jeff says nonchalantly like it was an easy task to fit the wood together like a puzzle.
Through the salvaged windows that grace the c. 1915 structure on the east side of the building, I see the logo on the side of the Brownfield Programs’ Prius and remember why I am here. In April 2008, Brownfield Program staff stood outside of 100 S. Mike’s Pike with Jeff and Kari Maurer and discussed the former Laundromat that used to occupy the adjacent property. Mike’s Pike used to be a former alignment of Route 66 through Flagstaff and offered travelers services such as room, board, gasoline and auto repair.
Services like these offered prior to the 1980s raise concerns of historic contamination.
The Maurers heard about grant funding from the Brownfield Program for Phase I environ- mental site assessments in early 2008 and promptly signed up to have a free assessment completed. The remodel progress of their “venue” space had come to the point of needing to know whether environmental contamination from past uses plagued the historic structure’s potential.
During that site tour two years earlier, the hired environmental contractor asked questions about the B & M Camp and Service Station that occupied the property to serve the Route 66 traffic and the basement flooding that is so common in structures within this part of town. No enthusiasm is lost by the Maurers as they mix both answers to the questions, and interesting facts about the property’s history and their plans for renovations.
A Phase I report clearing any concerns of environmental contamination has paved the way for the Maurers to build their dream of converting the former grocery store into an art studio and rent-free social meeting space for local nonprofits and organizations. Mr. Maurer’s vision is to keep the space an “out of the norm” studio for “adventurous spirits” just like those that used to travel Route 66.
Having built connections with Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce and Facebook, the Maurers receive questions and requests for information about their structure from all over the world. Visit 100 S. Mike’s Pike on first Friday Artwalks or contact Jeff and Kari at 928-699-6830 or
email@example.com. For information about the Brownfield Land Recycling Program and how we help local businesses, visit www. flagstaff.az.gov/brownfields. FbN
April Laliberte works for the City of Flagstaff’s Brownfield Land Recycling Program. She can be reached at 928-913-3217