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Fort Collins Historic Preservation Endangered?

  • The Strang Grain Elevator
  • The Hottel House
  • The First National Bank @ Mountain & College
  • Unity Church at College & Mulberry
  • The Episcopalian Church @ Oak & College
  • The downtown war memorial
  • Franklin school
  • 1st Methodist Church on College

Anyone who’s lived in Fort Collins for a lifetime can tell you what these buildings have in common. They are among a long list of largely beloved structures that were torn down, replaced with not so lovable structures.

In large part, they’re why the city now funds historic preservation planning, in the form of two paid staff positions.

Historic preservation planners oversee regulations, to help prevent destruction of landmark buildings for short-term profit.

But they also provide incentives, like grant writing and interest-free loans,  to those who want to invest in restoration. Most recently, the Paramount Cottage Camp. But here’s a sample of buildings that are restored today because work from our planners:

  • Linden Hotel
  • Armstrong Hotel
  • Northern Hotel
  • Silver Grill building
  • Avery House
  • Street car barn
  • First Baptist Church
  • Countless private residences.

The city now is talking about cutting one of the preservation positions. People who know about such things tell me that it means we’ll still have plenty of regulation, but no time for incentives.

They say the “carrot” piece of the program, which will be lost, actually pays for itself in the form of grants from state and other outside organizations.

This could be a big blow to Fort Collins historic preservation. You can only regulate demolition for so long, before buildings become too run down to save.

Some  preservationists showed up tonight at City Council to ask for reconsideration. There are also opportunities for community input into the budget planning over the next few weeks.

If you care about such things,  show up. Speak, or just be present. It will mean a lot to those who oversee the historic integrity of Fort Collins.

(Photo http://history.fcgov.com)

7 comments to Fort Collins Historic Preservation Endangered?

  • catfc

    Four people spoke for preservation. 2 from Poudre Landmarks, 1 retired city preservationist. The council hasn’t received the staff’s recommended budget yet, so all they could do is listen. There will be some public input sessions specifically on the budget in the next few weeks. So, it’s only a start.

    Funny, I always pictured myself as an outsider, advocating for the history that nobody ever paid attention to. But all that only holds while there’s an establishment to be outside of. Decimate mainstream preservation, and my rambling about asphalt siding and basement houses becomes so trivial.

  • Then again, if you ONLY focus on the mainstream stuff and ignore the fake brick siding, then we have a world where we focus on the Avery houses of the city and ignore the plain jane Ritter houses (like ours).

    I think both are important. The Avery house might have more pizzazz, but the Ritter houses help give it context.

  • I just noticed in the list of current vacancies in the City Council Boards and Commissions is one listed for the “Landmark Preservation Commission.”

    Is there a commission as well as a separate office with full time staff? Any idea what the commission does? Seeing the vacancy listed got me to wondering about it.

    For more info. on the vacancies I think you can check out http://fcgov.com/boards (this is all info. from the latest electric bill. I always appreciate the local info. they include in those things. It’s one of the only bill inserts that I think is at all worthwhile.)

  • catfc

    Meg, there are two paid staff positions. They’re heavily involved with the Preservation board. One of the preservation board members reads Lost Fort Collins. Perhaps he’ll weigh in?

  • nisperos

    Historic preservation is so very important in that it makes the area so much richer and interesting, not just to those who grew up here, but also to us transplants, as well as those who visit. We “grow people” by the stories we tell and the stories we pass on and, the historical common everyday context, as Meg suggests, is what gives perspective and binds us together into a community.

  • nisperos

    Sorry, I goofed:

    Rio housed the Masonic temple from 1903 to mid 1927.
    (Cat: please feel free to correct my prior post and delete this one if you like) Thank you : – )