Preservation of historic Steamboat barn expected to start soon
June 29, 2017
How many lawyers does it take to save a historic barn in Steamboat Springs?
In the case of the iconic Arnold Barn, the answer is six.
It also takes a 49-page legal document with 20 signatures attached, a groundswell of community support and a sturdily-built barn that can survive nearly 90 winters' worth of snow, plus one final winter of legal limbo.
On Tuesday, the Steamboat Springs City Council agreed to sign the finalized legal agreement saving the barn along with a developer, a real estate investment firm and Steamboat Ski Area.
The groups spent the last seven months hashing out a plan to have the real estate firm donate the neglected barn and some surrounding land it owns to the ski resort, which will serve as the structure's new caretaker.
And to get the city to drop a pending lawsuit over the barn's neglect, Real Capital Solutions, the real estate firm, and RP Steamboat Springs, the former developer at the barn site, agreed to pitch in $13,728 each toward its stabilization.
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Tuesday's vote marked a legal victory for the city and drew praise from historic preservationists who have urged elected officials and the barn's current owners to come to an agreement that would save the barn for future generations to enjoy.
"We are delighted we have gotten to this point," Save Arnold Barn spokeswoman Arianthe Stettner said Thursday.
The actual signing of the legal agreement was delayed this summer by some title issues at the property.
Partly because of them, the agreement itself ballooned from 12 to 49 pages as more lawyers had to get involved.
But City Attorney Dan Foote said Wednesday, with the documents now just awaiting signatures, the finish line is finally in sight.
"We appreciate everyone's hard work on getting this done and getting the barn preserved," Foote said.
Foote said after all the signatures are rounded up from all the parties, he expects the work to stabilize the barn will get underway this summer.
Fox Construction, which has experience stabilizing and preserving the historic More Barn just down the road, has been selected to perform the work.
Meanwhile, the city recently took a step that will help write the barn's next chapter.
The City Council approved spending up to $50,000 in urban renewal tax funds to create the blueprints needed to move the barn to a new location in front of The Steamboat Grand hotel.
The city recently opened up the bidding process for that design work.
Local historic preservationists do not object to the barn's move, as it will ensure its preservation and move it to a spot they think is more suitable.
The current site, situated in a bowl next to the Meadows Parking Lot, would be harder for the public to access and often floods in the spring because of the development and snow storage that has built up around the barn.