Steamboat City Council narrowly approves barn restoration plan
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The iconic Arnold barn will soon move to a more prominent location and shine under lights at the base of Steamboat Ski Area.
The Steamboat Springs City Council on Tuesday voted 4-3 to use taxpayer dollars to help pay for the nearly 90-year old barn’s restoration and relocation from a corner of the Meadows Parking Lot to a location just up the hill in front of the Steamboat Grand hotel.
Council members who supported the project said the base area was thirsty for redevelopment and the restoration of the barn was a worthy endeavor.
Other community members also thought the barn could help drive heritage tourism.
Council members who opposed spending taxpayer money on the project worried about the project’s escalating price tag and use of taxpayer dollars on a project that doesn’t live on city property.
“It’s almost like a repeat of the Igloo,” councilwoman Kathi Meyer said, referring to a proposal to replace a city child care facility that recently was scrapped after its cost kept escalating to nearly $1 million.
Meyer wanted to challenge the community to come up with a significant amount of matching funds to cover more of the cost.
“I’d be one of the first ones to write a check,” she said.
Counciman Scott Ford opposed the expenditure because he wanted to see the city take the tax money from the base area urban renewal authority and use it to pay down the debt service on the funds at a faster rate.
The council’s approval of the project came after several community members called on the city to restore the barn as a symbol of the city’s western heritage.
Some came to the council meeting wearing hats shaped like the barn, which was built in 1928 and housed dairy cows on the Arnold family farm.
The budget proposal for the barn restoration approved by council totals $441,000, but that figure also includes replacing The Steamboat Grand sign as well as other improvements and infrastructure in the area, such as a new trail.
The project will be paid for by tax revenue generated at the base area.
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