Butterfly Barn relocation options enter city planning process
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 the 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 (URAAC), 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 barn 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 that begins Mount Werner Circle. The association has agreed in principle to execute a three party lease with the Urban Renewal Authority and the ski corp, according documents at the city. The authority would bear the cost of the improvements and the 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, comprising 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 it 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.
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