Our view: Barn may get new lease on life


We were given reason to hope last week with the news that the Steamboat Ski Area has emerged as a potential caretaker of the historic Arnold Barn. The barn has fallen into serious disrepair after changes in ownership of a large development parcel.

At issue

Steamboat Ski Area has emerged as a potential caretaker of the 89-year-old Arnold Barn.

Our view

As the ski area stands to benefit most from highlighting the region’s Western heritage — a heritage adopted by the ski area and embodied by the barn — this may be the ideal way to go about saving the historic structure.

Steamboat editorial board — September through December 2016

  • Suzanne Schlicht, COO and publisher
  • Lisa Schlichtman, editor
  • Jim Patterson, assistant editor
  • Tom Ross, reporter
  • Jason Peasley, community representative
  • Todd Hagenbuch, community representative

Contact the editorial board at 970-871-4221 or editor@SteamboatToday.com. Would you like to be a member of the board? Fill out a letter of interest now.

The 89-year-old structure — located near the Meadows Parking Lot and the base of the ski area — has become a bone of contention for city officials, who recently filed suit against the property owner and developers, RCS-Wildhorse Land, LLC and RP Steamboat Springs, respectively; the city claims these two entities are responsible for the barn’s upkeep under the conditions of a 2006 development agreement.

Though RCS-Wildhorse Land and RP Steamboat Springs dispute this claim, they recently of-fered to give both the barn and the property upon which it sits to the city in exchange for the city assuming upkeep responsibilities.

This last development led to the possibility of the ski area taking over barn upkeep.

Jim Schneider, the ski area's vice president of ski services, confirmed Jan. 3 that the resort is, indeed, discussing the possibility of taking ownership of the barn, but added it was too early in the process to provide specific information.

We understand the proposal is far from a done deal. Myriad details — including whether the barn would remain at its current location or be moved elsewhere — would have to be discussed and finalized before such a plan could be implemented.

Even so, we are encouraged by the possibility, alone.

We, like many other community members, believe the barn — on its historical merits, alone — is worth preserving, and the ski area, to our mind, is an ideal candidate to undertake such preser-vation.

Since its inception, the ski area has leveraged the Western heritage angle in its marketing and branding efforts, and the Arnold Barn is a huge piece of that heritage. Accordingly, we envision the potential for the barn to serve as a welcome center, a kind of gateway to the ski area that might eventually evolve into an iconic landmark that lets our visitors know, “You have arrived.”

We were further encouraged by the ski area’s desire to collaborate with Save Arnold Barn — a community group that has worked tirelessly to foster the barn’s preservation — to devise the best plan for the structure.

The point is, steps are being taken to preserve a historic building and a plan is in the works — a plan that, to all appearances, would benefit everyone concerned.

We hope both the city and the ski area will give this possibility serious consideration.


Geary Baxter 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Maybe we should import some Amish who have a different mindset as to what it means to be a good neighbor.


Scott Wedel 3 months, 2 weeks ago

The Arnold Barn is not a "huge piece" of our western heritage. If it was anywhere close to that importance then it would have been properly maintained years ago. It has a crummy location below Mt Werner Road and adjacent to a parking lot in which there is no hope for a good picture of the barn. This discussion on saving it has many people confusing it with the famous, frequently photographed More Barn.

Though, a development agreement required that it be preserved as part of their larger development and that has not happened. Under no circumstances should it become a city responsibility to maintain. Nor is it very important how or where the barn is preserved so if Ski Corps wishes to move it to where it will be more easily seen then that should be allowed. But that is currently wishes and dreams. The main issue remains of barn not being maintained as required by previous agreement.


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