Preservationist Dana Crawford rallies a local effort at stronger historic preservation in Steamboat
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Dana Crawford didn’t come to Steamboat Springs just to give a lecture and leave. Her presentation Monday closed not with a bow, but an impromptu community meeting.
Some might call Crawford a historic preservationist, but she prefers to think of her actions as “placemaking.” She’s known for her efforts in redeveloping Union Station, Larimer Square and the Oxford Hotel. These efforts and other work earned her the 2018 Colorado Governor’s Citizenship Medal as well as a spot in the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame.
In an hour-and-a-half-long presentation at the Chief Theater, Crawford and one of her development partners Mary Jane Loevlie explained what went into the renovation of Union Station in Denver and her current efforts to revamp historic buildings in Pueblo and Trinidad. Crawford is joining Loevlie in an overhaul of Idaho Springs’ Argo Mine, currently a superfund site. Plans are to remediate and renovate the old mine into a mixed-use development.
The pair closed the evening with a call to action.
“We feel that it would be really great for Steamboat and Colorado and the region, if Steamboat was a little healthier in terms of directions in terms of placemaking,” Crawford told the audience. “That’s probably going to take all of you and a lot more people, too, but we were hoping to get some motions from you in regard to this.”
Crawford asked for three motions. The first identified 40 or so community organizations, government agencies and businesses that should play a role in preserving cultural assets. Friends of the Chief Board President Alice Klauzer made that motion.
“So is there a second?” Crawford asked the audience. Several people shouted out “Second!” It was unanimously approved by a chorus of “ayes.”
Tammie Delaney, who owns the Granary in Hayden, offered a friendly amendment to include West and South Routt in the partnership, which was wholeheartedly accepted.
Crawford instigated a second motion regarding Steamboat’s downtown, calling for an effort to create a city ordinance to preserve the area. Though Lincoln Avenue is a National Historic District from roughly Fifth Street to 11th Street, the historic buildings that have been standing since the early 1900s could be purchased and developed or destroyed. No current city ordinances address preservation of Steamboat’s historic downtown.
“I understand, even though main street is on the National Register of Historic Places, it provides zero protection and zero preservation,” said Histortic Routt County Board President Matt Doerfler. “I’d like to make a motion that we build and implement ordinances to protect and preserve the historic downtown main street.”
This one also drew cheers of unanimous approval from audience members.
The final motion — Crawford said three is about the right amount for “this kind of exposure” — called for good local representation when the National Historic Preservation Conference comes to Denver this fall and as the Colorado Creative Industries Summit comes to Steamboat in spring 2020.
“I will so move that when the National Trust for Historic Preservation has their national conference in Denver in October that Steamboat Springs will send an outstanding delegation to represent our city at that conference,” said former city Planning and Community Development Director Tyler Gibbs.
Several audience members shouted out “County! Routt County!”
“Steamboat Springs and Routt County,” Gibbs agreed.
Crawford promised a party in her downtown Denver loft, which was renovated from the former home of the Pride of the Rockies Flour Mill.
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