Butterfly Barn relocation alternatives enter city planning process | SteamboatToday.com

Butterfly Barn relocation alternatives enter city planning process

The Urban Redevelopment Authority Advisory Committee is hoping to move the Butterfly Barn, which sits at one side of the Meadows Parking Lot, across the street to become a new rustic entrance for Steamboat Ski Area's resort area. The move and renovation of the historic barn have entered the city planning process.
John F. Russell

— Long anticipated plans to re-construct the iconic “Butterfly Barn,” or a facsimile of it, on the west side of Mount Werner Circle near the base of Steamboat Ski Area have entered the city of Steamboat Springs’ planning process. The relocated barn would serve as the platform for a new entry sign to the resort, replacing an inconspicuous sign further down Mount Werner Road near its intersection with Central Park Drive.

The Urban Renewal Authority Advisory Committee, which advises City Council, acting as the Steamboat Springs Redevelopment Authority on the use of urban renewal funds, has brought forward three options for the green-roofed barn. It is increasingly in disrepair and sits unused on land just north of the Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp.’s Meadows Parking Lot.

The origins of the Butterfly Barn (not to be confused with the More Barn known to many as the Steamboat Barn on Pine Grove Road) have proven elusive for local historians to track down. But it’s known that in the late 1960s, it was used as the base for guided horseback rides.

Author Queeda Mantle Walker confirms in her local history book, “Last Ranch in Hell’s Canyon,” that her late brother, the legendary horse wrangler Pat Mantle, used the barn beginning in 1968 as the base of operations for Sombrero Stables. Mantle ran the horseback-riding operation with Rex Walker.

The barn occupies land acquired in 2013 by Real Capital Solutions in a multi-parcel $5.82 million purchase from Bank of America. The Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel Condominium Association is the owner of the proposed new site, which is an undeveloped grassy area opposite the Y-shaped intersection where Mount Werner Circle begins.

The association has agreed in principle to execute a three-party lease with the Urban Renewal Authority and Ski Corp., according to city documents. The authority would bear the cost of the improvements and Ski Corp., to whom ownership of the improvements would be transferred, would assume responsibility for long-term maintenance as well as property taxes and insurance.

The members of URAAC, comprised of resort leaders and business people, have proposed three options for the future use of the barn, according to documents on file with the city. Their preferred option is to reconstruct a smaller scale version of the barn on the new site, using original materials from the old structure.

Another option is to dismantle the barn and re-build it to scale on the new site, with improvements to enhance its stability. However URAAC members have expressed concern that its bulk would overwhelm the site.

A third option is to build a typical Routt County barn on the new site, and leave the Butterfly Barn in place.

The city’s historic preservation advisory group was already discussing the barn and its future in early 2014, when it was first being discussed by URAAC.

“We on the Steamboat Springs Historic Preservation Commission are researching workable options,” member Arianthe Stettner said Friday.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1

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