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History Colorado Awards More Than $74,000 to County and Municipal-led Preservation Projects

Logan Sasser //April 12, 2023//

History Colorado Awards More Than $74,000 to County and Municipal-led Preservation Projects

Logan Sasser //April 12, 2023//

History Colorado’s Certified Local Government (CLG) program has awarded $74,870 for county and municipal government-led historic preservation projects. The three projects funded in this grant round help with the identification and study of historic resources and provide guidelines for meeting the needs of growing communities while minimizing the impacts on the character-defining features of those communities.

“Surveys and design guidelines like the ones funded in this round of grants are vital building blocks for historic preservation efforts across the state,” said Patrick Eidman, chief preservation officer and deputy state historic preservation officer. “These projects build awareness of historic resources within our diverse communities and create frameworks for how we can protect those resources while still meeting the needs of our growing communities.”

The Certified Local Government program is part of the State Historic Preservation Office and is one of the many ways that History Colorado invests in the prosperity of rural communities and preserves the rich history of the Centennial State.

Currently, 67 of Colorado’s 127 local governments have been certified by the State Historic Preservation Office and the National Park Service as CLGs. This distinction makes them eligible for grants and shows the community’s commitment to maintaining standards consistent with federal archaeology and historic preservation requirements.

READ: Biden-Harris Administration Announces $37.47 Million for Locally-Led Projects That Reconnect Communities in Colorado

Highlighted projects

City of La Junta | Otero County, CO

The City of La Junta has been awarded $25,000 toward a Cultural Resource Survey of the Northeast sections of the city. This grant allows for the surveying of an area comprising 82 developed parcels of land that appears to have a high concentration of resources associated with the city’s Black community.

Building off of a 2021-22 survey — which identified a shortfall of documentation and recognition of the contributions by Black, Indigenous and People of Color to the development of La Junta — this effort will focus on resources connected to Green Book travel and others closely related to the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Beyond the resources connected to Black history, the survey area also includes a number of structures connected to the history of the Latinx population of Otero County, as well as several properties connected to regional railroad history.

This funding allows for eight of these resources to be intensively surveyed with reconnaissance surveys of the other 74 properties. Selections of properties for intensive surveys will be determined by CLG staff, La Junta Historic Preservation Board members, and community members.

The intensive surveys will gather photography, geographical information, property description, construction and historic backgrounds and establish the significance and eligibility to the City, State and National Registers of Historic Places.

Representatives of La Junta feel this is an important next step to capitalize on recent efforts to raise awareness about the history of the community, the historic resources within it and to lay the groundwork for the creation of a National Register Historic District.

This historic district would create opportunities for property owners to apply for historic preservation grants and tax credits to assist with the rehabilitation of historic buildings in Northeast La Junta.

“Until we are further aware of the importance of the resources, it is difficult to advocate for their preservation,” said Cynthia Nieb, director of the La Junta Certified Local Government.

“At the present time, many of these homes are at a tipping point of becoming blighted. Rather than seeing these residences decline further, we would like to advocate for their preservation. However, we need more than conjecture to convince funders, locals, and program administrators to invest in these endangered resources.”

READ: Celebrating Black Business Owners in Boulder — Leontyne Ashmore’s Barefoot-inspired Shoes

Town of Carbondale | Garfield County, CO

The Town of Carbondale was awarded $24,870 to update the Historic Preservation Design Guidelines for its Old Town Residential Zone District. These guidelines will assist with the preservation of the town’s distinct character by codifying requirements for new construction and additions to existing buildings in the Old Town Residential Zone.

Consisting of structures constructed from 1879 to 1920, the Old Town Residential Zone encompasses architecture from the initial settlement of Carbondale to just after World War I.

The buildings within the Residential Zone document an architectural progression from Queen Anne and Shingle styles to later forms embodied in the Foursquare, Classic Cottage, Bungalow and Craftsman styles.

Altogether, the buildings in the Old Town Residential Zone maintain Carbondales historic connection to two major railroads through the community and both the agricultural and mining industries of the region. A desire to maintain this strong connection to the history of Carbondale was a sentiment overwhelmingly expressed by the residents of the town during the community’s 2022 comprehensive plan update.

Carbondale elected officials are optimistic that these guidelines — which will be crafted with input from the community — will allow for developers to maintain the defining characteristics of the Old Town Residential Zone while also allowing for the creation of additional affordable housing to meet the needs of the expanding community.

“Carbondale’s population is expected to continue growing through the next decade and our Comprehensive Plan identifies infill development as a key source for much-needed residential housing,” said Jared Barnes, planning director for the Town of Carbondale.

“Design guidelines for the Old Town Residential Zone District would ensure that new development, additions, and accessory dwelling units are compatible with the surrounding historic and neighborhood context.”

City of Northglenn | Adams and Weld Counties, CO

The City of Northglenn was awarded $25,000 toward the creation of a Citywide Survey Plan that will guide the community’s future preservation efforts and build off the recent addition of historic resources in Northglenn to the National Register of Historic Places — including St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church in 2019 and the Deza Estates Historic District in 2023.

The proposed survey plan will audit the quality of existing historical records and previous surveys to identify any gaps that need to be filled in with additional research.

This project also allows historic preservation experts to conduct an initial review of the community to better understand the city’s historical resources, identify areas for additional study and prioritize which structures have historic designation potential.

Community leaders plan to engage the community throughout the planning process for guidance on the evaluation of previous survey efforts, and input on priorities for future preservation work, which aims to uncover lost stories of city residents.

“This process will allow for a proactive approach to understanding and prioritizing areas of the city for further research and potential designation,” said Sara Dusenberry, senior planner for the City of Northglenn. “Understanding the potential resources the city has allows for more informed future planning and understanding impacts of development on possible resources.”