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