Updated: Jun 23, 2022
Michelle Dodds was the Phoenix Historic Preservation Officer for over a decade. She started in September 2011, and retired February 2022. She has her master’s degree in Urban and Regional Development from Florida State University. She moved to Arizona about 25 years ago and started working for the City of Phoenix in the Planning Department. One of the first projects that stands out that she was a part of is saving the David and Gladys Wright House in 2012. Another project, which was saved just before she left was the City Center Motel on West Van Buren Street. Both projects were set for demolition until Dodds, the preservation commission, and the community fought for them to be saved. The City Center Motel will now be incorporated into the design for a new hotel building.
Other projects that she has been a part of as Historic Preservation Officer include the Preserve Historic Phoenix plan, Phoenix Ethnic Heritage Story Maps, and Preservation Phoenix Style. All of which can be found on the City of Phoenix Historic Preservation website here: https://www.phoenix.gov/pdd/historic-preservation.
Her goal as the Phoenix Historic Preservation Officer was to protect the city’s historical resources through identifying them, listing them on the Phoenix Historic Property Register, and offering various grants. Additionally, Michelle tried to make sure to incorporate everyone’s histories and stories. Properties of significance date back to long before Phoenix was here. Michelle has had a great influence on preservation in Phoenix, from saving buildings and history, to policy, to inspiring community members to continue preservation efforts. Currently, she is traveling and visiting historic sites in Southern Arizona.