Mar 052008
 
Authors: Heidi Reitmeier

A water-damaged roof and rotten porch columns might be among a homeowner’s worst fears, and it’s become a reality for nine residential properties in Fort Collins. Luckily, the city is stepping in to help.

With a total of $34,000 provided by the Landmark Preservation Commission through the City of Fort Collins, homeowners of historic properties can repair the damage.

The Landmark Preservation Commission has been in operation since 1995 and is based on a yearly cycle of funding.

“Projects are submitted by applicants during January each year,” said Timothy Wilder, senior city planner. “After the City staff screens projects for edibility, the Landmark Preservation Commission reviews the applications and decides on funding.”

Historic landmarks must include both integrity and significance, said Karen McWilliams, the City of Fort Collins historic preservation planner.

“The rule of thumb is the building must have architectural importance, a significant person or event occurred there, the building contributes to the pattern of development and it has archeological importance,” McWilliams said. “It must also have integrity, meaning the building must stay true to its original form.”

Fort Collins hopes the funding will help the community in two ways: to encourage owners to designate historic properties, thereby preserving them for future

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generations and to improve the quality of our historic structures by helping to pay for the needed improvements.

“The community as a whole benefits from properties that have been saved from disrepair and neglect,” Wilder said.

Joann Thomas, volunteer coordinator for the Poudre Landmarks Foundation, said she shares this passion of preserving history in Fort Collins.

“Historic preservation gives people a sense of grounding, a sense of mystery,” Thomas said. “When you peel off the layers of mystery, you find the history beneath. It gives people a belief that they belong to something.”

The restoration process includes only exterior damage done to the homes. Projects that are to be funded include, but are not limited to, replacing windows and window sills, installing new roofs and repairing porches of these historic homes.

Projects can last up to two years, and the city inspects the work once the project is finished, Wilder said.

“The property owners ask for one or more bids from qualified professionals,” Wilder said. “If the bid is acceptable to the owner, and the project is approved by the City, the contractor goes ahead and does the work.”

Among the nine properties being funded, the Avery House Historic District and the Romero House are owned by the city and are used as museums to showcase the history of Fort Collins.

Originally built by Franklin and Mary Avery in 1879, the Avery House Historic District, located at 328 W. Mountain Ave, is receiving $4,500 in funding to repair the leaking sandstone fountain built in the front yard.

The Romero House, built between the years of 1927 and 1935 by John Romero, was designated by the City of Fort Collins as a historic landmark in 2001. Once the house is restored, it will be the only adobe dwelling on its original site that will be open to the public in Northern Colorado, according to the Poudre Landmarks Foundation’s web site.

Staff writer Heidi Reitmeier can be reached at news@collegian.com.

BREAKOUT BOX STUFF

The other seven properties are privately owned and include the Bradley House, located at 1601 Remington St.; the E.J. Gregory House, garage and outhouse, located at 215 Whedbee St.; the Hottel/Hoffman House, located at 426 E. Oak St; Judge Claude C. Coffin House, located at 1006 W. Mountain Ave.; Rev. Joseph P. Trudel House, located at 610 Cherry St.; the Sondburg House, garage and chicken coop, located at 237 West St.; and the William C. Stover House, built in 1894 and located at 503 Remington St.

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