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The Buena Vista board of trustees approved a motion during their Feb. 26 regular meeting to support and direct the Historic Preservation Committee (HPC) to submit an application to the History Colorado Agency that would fund in-depth surveys, including historical and cultural surveys of Buena Vista historic residences. Commercial properties were surveyed in 2017-2018.

Katy Welter, representing the HPC, had requested support to submit a draft application from the board of trustees. “We are seeking permission and support to submit a draft grant application to the History Colorado Agency.” said Welter “We would complete in-depth surveys, and historical and cultural surveys, of 37 historical residences in the town’s core.”

“HPC is an official commission of the town of Buena Vista, with two main purposes: to foster civic pride and beauty and accomplishments of the past, and to create eligibility for state and federal grant funds for our property owners,” Welter reminded the Trustees.

Welter presented a sample survey to trustees of 331 E. Main, the Mount Antero’s treasures building, located next to CKS.

“This document tells the history of the property, the ownership, the construction history, the architectural style, and collects photos of the property in various periods of history,” said Welter. She pointed out to the board that a survey of this magnitude and detail requires adequate handling, which is why grant funding is required. Grant funds would allow the HPC to employ the proper individuals for the task.

“Acquiring this information requires a professional historian with architectural expertise,” said Welter. “They (professionals) pull a lot of great documents together that would honestly be almost impossible for a private property owner to do on their own.”

Welter assured Trustees that the HPC has already identified two individuals who would collaborate on the survey project, and have pledged to do so at a bargain price.

“Two of the most accomplished individuals in this field have already agreed that they’d like to do this work,” said Welter. “They have proposed to underbid, they said they are willing to do the entire project for $22,000. That is remarkable.”

Grant funds would also allow the HPC to finance community outreach and education regarding historical properties in Buena Vista. She assured Trustees that the project is informational. While it would place no restrictions on property owners, it would open up the possiblity of tax credits for property owners. These could be significant; representing up to 30 percent of renovation costs. “This will create eligibility for tax credits and grant funds for our property owners,” siad Welter.

Welter told the board that Buena Vista is in the best place possible for promoting historical preservation.

“The Grant will fund community and property owner outreach. That mainly takes the form of public forums and a lot of in-person efforts to educate property owners … Colorado, as a state, is basically the mecca of historic preservation,” said Welter. “It has a really strong community and really historic assets. Within that, Buena Vista, Chaffee County and the Upper Arkansas Valley is renowned.”

“I would argue that investing in documenting our historic residences is as important as preserving our public lands,” said Welter. “Once these residences are gone, they are gone. We need to document them now.