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Love history? Here's how Phoenix's Historic Preservation Officer sees the job before she retires

Michelle Dodds is retiring soon after a decade as Historic Preservation Officer.

PHOENIX — How well do you know the history of Phoenix?

The City is looking for its next Historic Preservation Officer because Michelle Dodds, who has held that title for a decade, is retiring soon.

This is only the second time the position has been open since its inception. 

"I've worked for the City of Phoenix for 25 years, I've been with the Historic Preservation Office for ten years," Dodds explained. "I set some goals for myself and just in October I met my last goal and so I think it's time to pass the baton to someone else."

Before she steps down, Team 12's Jess Winters asked her to reflect on her career. 

Winters: "What was one of the biggest wins?"

Dodds: "One of the first challenges I faced was the David & Gladys Wright House. It was threatened with demolition and it wasn’t designated, it wasn't protected. We delayed demolition and eventually, a new buyer purchased it and saved it from demolition. That would’ve been a horrible loss for the city it's a truly beautiful home."

Winters: "What was one of the biggest losses you've experienced as preservation officer?"

Dodds: "It was with another property not on Phoenix register and not protected. We had two hotels, The Madison and St. James Hotel that were threatened with demolition. We didn't have the 30-day demolition hold process we have now, we didn’t have that available until 2016. So the Madison was demolished and the St. James Hotel, the majority was demolished."

RELATED: Downtown Phoenix looks completely different in these vintage photos

She understands she can't preserve everything and says that's a part of the job and life. The old must exist in tandem with the new.

Dodds: "We've had a lot of success stories and also a lot of demolitions that have occurred over the years. I don’t think you need to be 'out with the old,' keep the old and bring in the new. Both of them can work side by side together so we can create a real sense of place!"

She plans to train the next historic preservation officer.

Dodds: "It’s a challenging job, there are always threats to the loss of our cities historic resources. The challenge more recently is we’ve been out of historic preservation bond funds. We hopefully will have another bond election and will have more money for significant grants to save these properties. Hopefully the new person who will replace me will come at a time when there is more money available."

Her last day is scheduled for February 15.

RELATED: Historic Camelback Mountain photos show Phoenix's drastic transformation

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