The Cedaredge Historic Preservation Board, reactivated earlier this year by the town trustees, has made only halting progress towards becoming a functioning arm of town government.
Mayor Pat Means is hoping that situation might be changed. She has initiated a new effort to redefine and reinvigorate the Historic Preservation Board, whose main purpose is to identify and designate buildings as having "local historic significance."
At a Dec. 5 special meeting of the Historic Preservation Board's current members who were appointed last spring, Means discussed with them, and with some invited guests, ideas that might lead to a functioning historic preservation board here. Problems with the current board setup were also discussed.
"Several people showed interest in serving on the board last spring," Means explained. But since then, one has resigned because of other commitments. Also, a volunteer staff person who was being relied on for doing substantial work for the group has moved away. The remaining members are willing to serve, but the daunting task of historical research on local buildings seems beyond that which time and other commitments will allow them to contribute. Three of the four remaining appointees from last spring were at the Dec. 5 session called by Means. The new Historic Preservation Board that was appointed last spring has held two meetings; one in August and one in September. Neither session attracted a quorum needed for conducting business, Means said.
She asked them, "Do you think this is a worthwhile group? The effort needs to come from the community, if the community wants to see anything of significant interest designated for the next generation to retain."
Means re-emphasized that point at the town board's Dec. 13 meeting. The mayor had included an item on the agenda that night for discussion of the Historic Preservation Board. The discussion was short. Means told the trustees, "The group really isn't going anywhere," Means said. "There needs to be five people who want to do it. Some think the process to go through (for having a building included on a register) is too complex and keeps people from wanting to participate. This may not be the right time."
Means added that she wouldn't bring the Historic Preservation Board up for another trustee discussion until the current Historic Preservation Board members decide on a role for the organization. A meeting of the four remaining current board members was scheduled for Dec. 10 to discuss the mission and future, but no decision was reached at that meeting.
The town's original historic preservation group was chartered in 1996 and functioned for a few years. That original 1996 group also conducted some other activities including local home tours. It became non-functioning around 1998 to 2000, Means said. It succeeded in getting some local structures named on the town, state, and national registers of historic buildings. The Pioneer Town Silos are among those.
Also, two Cedaredge churches were said at the meeting to be approaching their centennial milestones soon.
Other local structures that appear on one or more historic place registers as of the year 2000, according to town records, are the following:
• Cedaredge Middle School (originally the high school and today in 2012 part of the remodeled Cedaredge Middle School), 360 N. Grand mesa Drive, built in 1919, listed on the Colorado Historic Register.
• The Stolte Packing Shed at Pioneer Town, built in 1911, listed on the Cedaredge Historic Register.
• The "Lovett House" located at 210 Aspen Ave, built in 1892 and listed on the Colorado and Cedaredge Historic Registers.
• The "Scott Residence" located at 345 E. main Street, also known as the"Rinehart House" listed on the Cedaredge Historic Register.
• The Butler Home located at 1812 Hwy. 65, (1567 N. Grand Mesa Drive) also known as the "Sears House" built by E. Stolte and listed on the National Historic Register.
In order to function now, "The group needs a plan, a path, and a goal," Means said at the Dec. 5 meeting. She noted that there are grants available for refurbishing historic structures, tax breaks of various kinds, and other incentives for those who want to have their properties designated. "But the interest and desire of the community has to be there first."
Cedaredge resident Art Lindsey has compiled extensive history information on his home for use in a possible historic designation application in future. The work of obtaining all of the documents and records spanned many years, Lindsey explained.
Discussion at the Dec. 5 meeting turned for a time to several significant obstacles standing in the way of a town government endorsed historic preservation board.
1) The community already has a functioning and successful Surface Creek Valley Historical Society operating the Pioneer Town facility, Stolte Shed, andChapel of the Cross. That organization has experienced its own difficulty at times obtaining board members and volunteers from the community. So, the question was asked, is there really room for another historic organization in a community the size of Cedaredge?
2) There is a great deal of historical information already collected and in the archives at Pioneer Town. There are historical displays at Pioneer town also. There is already a lot of material available here for anyone who wants to access it. So, the question was asked, "How many different ways are there to present the history we have?"
3) The town's manual for historic preservation procedures is ten pages long. It is filled with all kinds of detailed criteria such as, "Describe the effects of proposed work (on the structure) upon the protection, enhancement, perpetuation and use of the property;" and, does the property "show character, interest, or value as part of the development, heritage, or cultural characteristics of the community, region, state or nation."
The three current Historic Preservation Board members who attended the Dec. 5 meeting objected to ten pages of that kind of language to have to work through on every project. It was suggested that as a beginning, the ten-page-long procedures manual for getting a Cedaredge Register listing be cut to one or two pages.
The Dec. 5 session adjourned with three of the members promising to meet informally with the fourth currently serving member to see if simplifying the procedures might help get the historic preservation board into activity. The Dec. 5 session concluded also without completing other business items on the agenda including nomination and appointment of a chairman, vice-chairman, and recorder of minutes; setting up a future regular meeting schedule; and, prioritizing goals and future projects for review by the members.blog comments powered by Disqus