Steamboat City Council approves historic barn preservation plan after debate about night lights
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Walter Arnold probably never imagined that one day, long after he was gone, elected officials in Steamboat Springs would spend more than 20 minutes of their evening debating whether lights should illuminate the outside of Arnold’s barn late at night.
The lighting plan, which was approved Tuesday for the 90-year-old iconic barn, was one of the last hurdles that stood in the way of the barn becoming a new wayfinding landmark at the entrance of the Steamboat Ski Resort area.
Council members agreed to let the barn shine at night, but they ordered the installation of a timer just in case they decided later that the lights, which are being designed to not pollute the night sky, need to go off around bedtime.
With the Steamboat Springs City Council’s recent blessing, the structure will be moved from its current location in the corner of the Meadows Lot to the corner of Mount Werner Circle and Mount Werner Drive.
Interpretive signs will be installed telling the story of how the barn used to serve as the centerpiece of a local dairy farm at the base of Storm Mountain long before the ski runs developed and the mountain was renamed Mount Werner.
Steamboat Ski Area has agreed to maintain the structure.
Council members voted 4-3 to move forward with the barn preservation and relocation project.
The council did add a few conditions to ensure that no commercial signage or logos, such as the logo for the ski resort, are ever displayed on the barn.
Council President Jason Lacy was one of the “no” votes, but he supported the project and felt the conditions the council was putting on the lighting and requiring a timer were unnecessary.
“I want to give it a chance for the lighting to prove itself,” he said. “I think we’ve made this too complicated.”
Sonja Macys voted “no” after saying she felt the barn didn’t need to be lit up at night.
Kathi Meyer was the third “no” vote.
While she said she hoped the barn relocation project was successful and would draw more people to town, she raised a range of concerns about the project. They ranged from putting the parking spaces at the barn site across the street from the structure to the lighting plan.
Arianthe Stettner, a founding member of the Save Arnold Barn group that worked to preserve the structure, said last month the group consulted with a lighting expert with experience lighting important buildings in Chicago.
Council members were told the lighting would be discrete and the sources of light would be significantly less bright than the lamps that were being used Tuesday to illuminate the council members’ agendas at their desks.
No date has been set yet for the barn’s big move.
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