Public to address preservation

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If you go

What: Community Historic Preservation Conversation

When: 5 to 7 p.m. today

Where: Centennial Hall

What to expect: A 60-minute panel discussion followed by 60 minutes devoted to small-group brainstorming and exchange of ideas

— A panel of speakers with extensive historic preservation experience will headline a forum tonight co-sponsored by an ad hoc committee called Partners in Preservation.

Tonight's public forum comes on the heels of recent debate about how and whether the city should mandate the historic preservation of buildings in Old Town Steamboat Springs.

"The whole process is about the community deciding for itself what it wants," organizer Cami Bunn said. "Preserving who we are and what we are can take many forms and includes our lifestyle, people, land and buildings."

Also hosting the discussion are the city of Steamboat Springs, Community Alliance of the Yampa Valley, Historic Routt County and Mainstreet Steamboat Springs.

In September, the city put in a place a moratorium precluding demolition of historic structures while it assigns a citizens committee to study appropriate language for a historic preservation ordinance. That effort will be undertaken with a facilitator.

Bunn said tonight's conversation, which includes a panel of experts, is part of that process.

She said the panel would take up the first hour of the meeting to talk about statewide, regional and national historic preservation efforts. Next, those in attendance will be invited to break up into three focus groups to brainstorm ideas. The entire group will reconvene to share their perceptions.

"This is very much a conversation, it's not a lecture," Bunn said.

Members of the panel include Jim Lindberg with the mountain/plains office of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Arianthe Stettner, another of the organizers, said Lindberg has been coming to Steamboat for a decade. She said he has the added strength of having worked with communities from the Dakotas to the Rockies. Lindberg can be expected to offer a range of strategies that might work in Steamboat.

Dan Corson, the second panel member, has worked with Steamboat for a decade in his role with the Colorado Historical Society, Stettner said. Former Steamboat assistant planning director Tim McHarg also will take part in the panel.

McHarg understands the politics of Steamboat and now has the advantage of having worked for the city planning department in Durango, where there is mandatory compliance required within the city's National Historic District. Durango has won recognition for its historic design guidelines, Stettner said.

- To reach Tom Ross, call 871-4205

or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com

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