Steamboat City Council to decide Tuesday whether to restore a nearly 90-year-old barn
December 4, 2017
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — After surviving several harsh winters and a recent legal battle over its upkeep, an iconic barn at the base of Steamboat Ski Area will face perhaps its final trial Tuesday when the city's elected officials decide whether or not to pay for the barn's restoration as a community landmark.
If the city council approves the budget request, the nearly 90-year-old Arnold Barn will be moved a stone's throw away from its current location to the hill in front of The Steamboat Grand.
Here, the restored barn would be lit up at night and no longer sink and sag in a corner of The Meadows parking lot that is prone to flooding when the snow melts in the spring.
The project would be funded by tax revenue generated at the base of the ski area.
"If we can save this barn that tells who we are and where we came from … that's a wonderful thing," historic preservationist and Save Arnold Barn chairwoman Arianthé Stettner said Monday. "We want to see something everyone can enjoy and be proud of and feel connected to."
Business leaders at the base area have been working for several years with the city on a plan to use the barn to create an iconic entry to the resort area.
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But the barn’s future got complicated after the city filed a lawsuit against the property owners who were not maintaining the structure for several years.
The legal action resulted in Steamboat Ski Area taking ownership of the barn and helping to facilitate its temporary stabilization.
Several community members have pledged to offer up their construction and historic preservation expertise to help restore the barn, which was built in 1928 and housed the Arnold family's dairy cows.
The city has already paid for the blueprints behind the restoration, which would happen next year. Officials have also secured the approvals needed to move the barn up the hill to a new home.
The barn relocation proposal was a finalist for city lodging tax dollars just last month, but the council felt it would be more appropriate for the barn to be funded by the base area Urban Renewal Authority.
The budget proposal, which includes the barn’s restoration, 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.
City officials are recommending approval of the barn restoration plan, which also includes interpretive signage in front of the structure.
The council meeting starts at 5 p.m. in Citizens Hall, where public comment will be accepted.
"For all of us involved in it, we all have a vision for saving something that has meaning for our community today, and our community tomorrow," Stettner said. "And not just our community, like the 12,000 residents of Steamboat, but also people who come here and see this barn. We want to see it happen."