Letters to the editor
What would Routt County be like if we had not received the grants from the State Historical Fund over the last 10 years?
To begin with, for every dollar given as a grant to Routt County, an additional $6 is generated in the local economy. To put numbers to that equation, approximately $2 million in grants in Routt County over the past 10 years has generated an additional $12 million in economic benefit.
Second, a number of places that we think of as distinctively Routt County landmarks would no longer be with us.
The Carpenter Ranch, restoration of buildings at Perry-Mansfield, the distinctive Mesa Schoolhouse that we all see on our way in and out of Rabbit Ears Pass and Centennial Hall (formerly the Carver Power Plant) are just a few of the projects that have been funded by grants through the State Historical Fund.
Why are we writing to talk about the State Historical Fund and the grant money that it generates? A constitutional amendment has been proposed to divert half of the State Historical Fund away from local historic preservation to tourism marketing. This proposal is scheduled to be introduced in the Legislature.
If it is passed, it will effectively eliminate the successful historic preservation grants program for many years.
It has been suggested that the state of Colorado is flush with money in the historic preservation realm and that money should be taken from it to promote tourism.
An arduous battle has been waged over many years to have the state of Colorado as a leader among all of the states in the arena of historic preservation, and now we stand to lose everything.
Already there is a new obligation to pay $30 million in improvements to the state Capitol out of the State Historical Fund and an additional requirement under Senate Bill 193 that funds the Colorado Historical Society’s reference library and 12 museums from the fund.
If half of the funds were removed for tourism marketing, then there would be no grant money available for historic preservation for at least six years.
We, the undersigned Board of Directors for Historic Routt County, want you to be aware of the proposal to change the State Historical Fund and the dramatic impact that it will have upon us here in Routt County and throughout Colorado.
If you would like additional information about this proposal, including projects and grants, please do not hesitate to contact any one of us.
Kathe McCoy, Arianthe Stettner, Jo Semotan, Jayne Hill, Bain White, Christian White
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