Hayden Town Council votes to deconstruct century-old building, create new structure
Town leaders intend to preserve as many materials as possible from current building
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the range historic renovation may cost, which was estimated by advocates at between $528,000 and $555,000
A century-old building in Hayden that has sat vacant for 30 years will be deconstructed to make way for a new structure on South Walnut Street.
Hayden Town Council approved the deconstruction plan 5-2 on Thursday, April 7, with a majority of council members saying the history of the building, which has ties to local pioneer Ferrington ‘Ferry’ Carpenter, was not enough to make it historic.
“I don’t think we’re losing (our history),” said Hayden Council Member Ryan Banks. “We are going to use what we can in a dilapidated building to preserve our history.”
The building at 135 S. Walnut St. is one of the oldest in town, part of the original town plat and visible in pictures as early as 1896. A group of residents calling themselves Friends of 135 Walnut pushed town council to preserve the old building with a renovation project, even getting their own estimate for the work.
A decision was initially scheduled for February, but discussions were continued to allow for more input and consideration. On Thursday, Hayden Mayor Zach Wuestewald said the issue has become divisive with some residents questioning his and other council members’ authenticity.
“For those that have tried to divide us, I ask that you take time to reflect on your own intentions,” Wuestewald said in his remarks opening a nearly two-hour discussion.
“I truly believe that even though we have a different way of getting there, we all have the same goal in mind — making and keeping a great community to raise our families and call home,” he continued.
The discussion started with a presentation from the Friends of 135 Walnut group. Hayden resident Patrick Delaney said the community has emphasized historic preservation and cultural heritage in master planning, and therefore, the building should be preserved.
He pitched deconstructing the newer, back portion of the building and using those materials to help stabilize and weatherize the rest of the structure. Once that is complete, he said, the building could be fully restored and outfitted for town use.
“Authenticity cannot be replicated,” Delaney said. “Once it’s gone, it’s gone.”
Bill Latoza, a Steamboat Springs-based architect with a background in historic preservation, estimated the entire restoration project could cost between $528,000 and $555,000 — a figure far below what Hayden had previously estimated and one that drew skepticism from town staff.
Staff had recommended town council approve deconstruction of the building to build a new structure that incorporates design elements and materials from the current building. An assessment done by the town estimated about 30% of the current building’s materials could be preserved.
“The plan has always been to preserve what we could and recover the materials that are in the building that are reusable,” Town Manager Mathew Mendisco said.
Council asked about the historic renovation plan for more than an hour, questioning how good it would hold up and whether the building would end up being a money pit with other issues being reveled as restorations started.
They also questioned the timeline, which Delaney said could be similar to the schedule for a new structure, depending on whether they could identify funding.
Renovations at Yampa’s Crossans Market, which now serves as town hall, took about five years to complete. Mendisco said he spoke with Yampa’s Town Clerk, who said they have had several problems with the building since it was restored.
However, Council member Bob Reese, who voted against delaying a decision on the building’s fate in February in favor of demolishing it and selling the empty lot, said if they wanted to preserve history that meant preserving the building.
“Deconstructing that building and putting it back together with the old boards has zero value as far as history goes,” Reese said in making a motion to historically preserve the building.
The motion failed with just Council Member Janet Hollifield joining Reese in support. There was another motion to deconstruct the building, preserving as much as possible, while creating a new structure that fits with the character of the block.
It passed with Mayor Wuestewald and council members Banks, Trevor Gann, Ed Corriveau and Casey Bowman in support. Town council will have final say on the new building’s design.
To reach Dylan Anderson, call 970-871-4247 or email danderson@SteamboatPilot.com.
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