Steamboat, Routt County history preservation leaders shift | SteamboatToday.com

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Steamboat, Routt County history preservation leaders shift

Officials say commitment to maintaining history remains

Towny Anderson

— There have been a lot of changes recently to the local historic preservation community.

Towny Anderson, executive director of Historic Routt County, left to become Color­ado Mountain College's director of historic preservation based at the Lead­­ville campus. And the city of Steamboat Springs recently eliminated the historic preservation coordinator position as part of $700,000 in personnel cuts for the 2011 budget.

But despite the changes, local officials said the focus of preserving the history of Steamboat Springs and Routt County wouldn't change.

"It's a very important function of the city," City Manager Jon Roberts said.

Roberts said that despite losing Laureen Schaffer, who resigned before her position was eliminated, the city's historic pre­­servation program wouldn't change. He said there's just less activity. Rob­erts said Historic Pre­­serv­­ation Planner Alexis Casale would continue working on projects related to historic preservation.

He said Tyler Gibbs, the city's new director of planning and community development, was evaluating the historic preservation workload and said if additional staff support were needed, it would be provided by existing staff members.

"Our commitment to the preservation program has not changed at all with a reduction in staff," Gibbs said. "We continue to be very much supportive of the preservation program and our alliances with other preservation organizations in the community."

One of those organizations, His­­toric Routt County, has new leadership.

Meg Tully, who for the past year and a half served as its communications manager, replaced Anderson as executive director Oct. 1.

Arianthé Stettner, an adviser to Historic Routt County and its co-founder, said Anderson and Tully had been a great team.

"During that time, Meg was almost like an understudy," Stet­­tner said. "Towny mentored her in a lot of the historic preservation concepts and issues and how historic preservation works. Now that she is the new executive director, we can hit the ground running. We are thrilled."

HRC Board of Directors Pres­ident Kathy Cline said the organization is looking forward to next year's projects. She said it is interested in finding a permanent home for writer John Rolfe Burroughs' log shed, known as "the Dog House," possibly on the vacant city-owned lot east of Bud Werner Memorial Library.

Cline said Historic Routt County is most excited about continuing its partnership with Rocky Mountain Youth Corps. The two entities collaborated to establish the Historic Pre­serv­­ation Crew, a creation of And­er­­son's.

The Historic Preservation Crew worked this summer to restore the Yock family cabin, adjacent to the More Barn. Another recent project included the restoration of the Diamond Window Cabin in Stage­­­coach. Other preservation work since its inception in 1997 includes Rock Creek Stage Stop, Mesa School House and Mad Creek Barn. There also have been numerous efforts to get structures listed on city, county, state and national registers of historic places.

"The foundation that Arian­thé built, the combined efforts of Towny and Meg both have helped to raise Historic Routt County to another level. We're looking forward to maintaining that momentum," Cline said.

That's what Tully, an 18-year Steamboat resident with more than 15 years of nonprofit management experience, wants to do.

In addition to continuing the partnership with the Youth Corps, Tully said she wants Historic Routt County to enhance community engagement and encourage more volunteer opportunities. She said Historic Routt County's role is to preserve the past.

"There's that intangible element of Steamboat and Routt County that makes it what it is today," Tully said. "It's our past that kind of feeds into our present. Routt County wouldn't be what it is today without the people and places that make up our past. It's the fabric of who we are. There's a richness of Western heritage, down to earth people, the rural aspect, the ag aspect, the ski aspect.

"There's just so many aspects of our past that come together to make it what it is, that make it distinctive from … any big city."