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Protest threatens temple designation

PHOENIX (AP) — A protest by a leader in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints threatens to derail a church member's effort to get the Arizona Temple declared a historic landmark.

Walt McIver has been working to get the Mesa landmark, built in 1927, placed on the National Register of Historic Places. "It's the recognition of history, and I think it's important for the younger generation to have a link to the past," said McIver, 69.

But the whole plan could unravel because of a protest letter sent from Paul E. Koelliker, managing director of the church's temple department. He didn't give an official reason for the protest.

But McIver and others told The Arizona Republic it is because the church does not want to answer to a new set of city regulations for historic properties when it expands or renovates the temple.

A spokesman for Koelliker said the church wants to take a closer look at the city regulations that come with being listed on the national register. "At this point, the church has made no formal or final decision regarding the historic register initiative in Mesa," Coke Newell said.