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History Colorado Awards an Additional $62,000 to County and Municipal-led Preservation Projects


Editor’s Note: Press releases are provided to Yellow Scene Magazine. In an effort to keep our community informed, we publish some press releases in whole.

DENVER — May 9, 2024 — History Colorado’s Certified Local Government (CLG) program has awarded an additional $62,941 to three county and municipal government-led historic preservation projects. This funding is in addition to CLG grants awarded in March and brings the total funding for 2024 to $143,811.

All six projects funded in this grant round either help with the identification and study of historic resources or 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 these 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.

Highlighted Projects:
City of Aurora | Arapahoe, Adams, and Douglas Counties, CO
The City of Aurora was awarded $25,000 to hire a qualified preservation consultant to update its Historic Resources Survey Plan. The existing plan is due for an update as it does not reflect properties or neighborhoods significant to underrepresented and historically marginalized communities in Aurora, which is the most diverse city in the state with roughly 21% of its population reporting a birthplace outside the United States.

The need for this updated survey plan was recognized at a recent Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) meeting where the Commissioners presented a number of different potential local preservation opportunities connected with the diverse ethnic groups of Aurora.

“Each idea discussed by the Historic Preservation Commissioners and me resulted in the realization that we need a survey first to know where these potential districts and landmarks are located,” said Chris Geddes, historic preservation specialist for the City of Aurora. “Even locally landmarking properties associated with the various ethnic groups requires additional context and knowing where different communities settled in Aurora.”

The proposed survey plan will extensively cover the historic resources in the city by identifying historical themes and property types to be researched and preserved, with a particular focus on the role the city’s diverse cultural groups have played in the history of Aurora.

The survey process will include multiple public meetings to receive guidance from Aurorans, and the final product will provide both a prioritization of properties to be preserved and a list of potential funding sources for preservation projects.

“This updated plan will reflect the current state of preservation in the city; especially in relation to cultural diversity and underrepresented groups in the community,” Geddes said. “Additionally, the plan will provide a clear-cut methodology for recording the voluminous number of historic properties through historical and architectural survey as well as a timeline for the execution of this important undertaking.”

Town of Minturn | Eagle County, CO
The Town of Minturn was awarded $25,000 for a resource survey which will identify historic assets in the town and guide historic context studies for properties that are eligible for historic designation. This survey will build off of recent efforts by Minturn to recognize and preserve historic structures in the township, such as the inclusion of a historic preservation ordinance into the town’s municipal code.

“Although we have had this code in place for about 18 months now, the Town has only had three properties nominated and designated to be local landmarks,” said Madison Harris, planner 1 for the Town of Minturn. “This survey would provide data for staff, HPC, and the Town Council to more confidently nominate and designate properties in Town that meet the 75-year-old threshold and at least one other eligibility criteria.”

The project will include an architectural survey of the town to establish future preservation priorities and identify a list of 10 priority properties for deeper research. These priority properties will receive an intensive-level survey and archival research to establish a detailed record of the history of the property as well as its owners.

Town officials hope this survey will promote designation and rehabilitation of historic buildings in Minturn, give them tools to determine “what is actually historic vs. what looks old,” and educate locals of the funding opportunities available for historic preservation projects.

“It is my hope that with the results of the survey to point to, the evidence will be there for people to understand why it is often more sustainable to reuse existing buildings as well as to support the HPC if they make a determination that demolition or alteration is not appropriate,” Harris said.

City of Cortez | Montezuma County, CO
The City of Cortez was awarded $12,941 to hire a cultural resource consulting firm to conduct an intensive archaeological survey at several city-owned open spaces. This survey will document any prehistoric and historic resources contained within the natural areas and expand earlier surveys which largely focused on the natural resources present.

With more than 20,000 identified archaeological sites – the majority of which are associated with ancestral Puebloan occupation of the region – Montezuma county has one of the densest concentrations of archaeological sites in North America and it is expected that more may be found through this survey work.

This project will allow for a more comprehensive management plan of these public open spaces and the location of any sites identified through this survey work will remain confidential to protect them from vandalism.

“The City of Cortez needs to develop a more comprehensive management plan for our natural areas,” said Linda Towle, author of the grant application and Chair of the Cortez Historic Preservation Board, authorized by the City of Cortez. “The staff needs to know where archaeological sites are located on open space property so that these sites can be properly managed, primarily through avoidance during trail work, invasive species mitigation, and other low impact projects.”

About The Certified Local Government Program
Through the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), History Colorado administers the U.S. Department of Interior’s Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) Program in cooperation with the National Park Service (NPS). Under this program, NPS has specified that at least 10% of Colorado’s annual program funds must be subgranted to Certified Local Governments (CLGs). Grants are awarded on a competitive basis to eligible applicants for projects that range from preservation planning, context studies and surveys, outreach, connecting with underrepresented communities, as well as scholarship funding for educational opportunities by historic preservation commissioners in CLGs.

Currently 67 local governments are certified by History Colorado, and since the initiation of the program in 1985, more than $4 million has been awarded to counties and municipalities in Colorado by the CLG program. In 2000, History Colorado began providing matching funds for CLG grants through the State Historical Fund, which removed the barrier of matching funding for governments applying for grants. Additional information about the CLG program is available here.

About History Colorado
History Colorado is a division of the Colorado Department of Higher Education and a 501(c)3 non-profit that has served more than 75,000 students and 500,000 people in Colorado each year. It is a 144-year-old institution that operates eleven museums and historic sites, a free public research center, the Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation which provides technical assistance, educational opportunities, and other access to archaeology and historic preservation, and the History Colorado State Historical Fund (SHF), which is one of the nation’s largest state funded preservation programs of its kind. More than 70% of SHF grants are allocated in rural areas of the state. Additionally, the offices of the State Archaeologist and the State Historic Preservation Officer are part of History Colorado.

History Colorado’s mission is to create a better future for Colorado by inspiring wonder in our past. We serve as the state’s memory, preserving and sharing the places, stories, and material culture of Colorado through educational programs, historic preservation grants, collecting, outreach to Colorado communities, the History Colorado Center and Stephen H. Hart Research Center in Denver, and 10 other museums and historic attractions statewide. History Colorado is one of only six Smithsonian Affiliates in Colorado. Visit HistoryColorado.org, or call 303-HISTORY, for more information. #HistoryColorado

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