Facelift work begins

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— Renovation work has begun on the historic Routt National Bank building at the corner of Eighth and Lincoln. Fox Construction Inc. got its final building permit yesterday and the crew is ready for demolition.

The first step of the project will be to tear down a mansard that currently skirts the middle section of the Lincoln Avenue structure.

"We'll be working on the front first to get the impact to the main street side of the building complete right away," said Pat McClelland, managing partner of a group that owns the street-level portion of the building. "They'll take off the stucco, redo the windows and repair the holes from where the mansard was attached."

The restoration project was initiated by McClelland's group, the Masonic Lodge and Historic Routt County, and has been endorsed by the city's Planning Commission.

"We have high hopes about this project and we're shooting for a June 1 completion date," McClelland said.

The building will be returned to the old brick, native sandstone and arched windows that were its signature when it was built in 1919. Once the renovation is complete, it will look similar to a neighboring building that houses Bushwackers and Design of the Times.

The total budget for the renovation is $150,000 -- a number that was softened when the building's owners received a grant from the Colorado Historical Society's preservation fund for $73,700.

The building, home to Routt County National Bank in the mid 1900s, is now occupied by the Shirt Stop, Alpine Electronics/Radio Shack, Jackson's Office Supply and the Masonic Lodge.

The building was encased in stucco in 1970 when the city moved to a more contemporary style of architecture. Under-neath that, the bank's western facade is completely preserved, allowing the building to be returned to its original state.

The project architect is Jan Kaminski of Mountain Architecture. Kaminski will review the structural integrity of the building once the mansard is removed and then Fox Construction will decide how to attack the next phase of renovation.

Once the restoration is complete, the property owners will put a preservation easement on the building that will be held by the Yampa Valley Land Trust. It will protect the building as a historic landmark and will prevent future changes from being made to the restored structure.

People who want to get involved in the historic preservation effort can join a work day at the Routt National Bank building on May 20. Volunteers will be put to work scraping stucco off brick and will earn a free meal for their efforts. To sign up, call 871-6306.


-- To reach Bryna Larsen, call 871-4205 or e-mail blarsen@amigo.net

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