On Tuesday, the 15th, Fort Collins’ Mayor Pro Tem Horak declared May to be Historic Preservation month. As the chair of the Fort Collins Landmark Preservation Commission, I was on hand to receive the award. You can view the event online (around the 6 minute mark), but I’ve also included my statement below. It’s a quick read and gives a brief overview on the value of historic preservation in our communities.
Thank you Mayor Pro Tem Horak. On behalf of the Landmark Preservation Commission, as well as preservationists throughout the city, I am honored to accept this proclamation for Historic Preservation Month.
There are three core objectives at the heart of historic preservation in Fort Collins. The first has to do with understanding the identity of our community over time and preserving those structures that add to the Sense of Place that is unique to our community. This means saving not only examples of our rich Victorian era heritage, but also preserving significant examples of our architectural and cultural heritage from the Twentieth Century as well, from the quaint Craftsman Bungalows of Old Town to the striking Mid-Century ranch homes of the Sheely Neighborhood. And from the 1923 Armstrong Hotel to the 1964 Poudre Valley Creamery Building, also affectionately known as the Butterfly Building.
Another priority of the Landmark Preservation Commission is strengthening the economy of Fort Collins through the numerous financial benefits that preserving historic places brings to our community. In addition to substantial State and Federal tax credits, as well as grants and zero interest loans, the maintenance and restoration of our historic buildings provides far more local jobs per dollar spent than new construction. And, of course, that sense of authenticity that older buildings are imbued with is a draw for residents who enjoy spending time, and money, hanging out in places with a sense of history and personality.
And thirdly, historic preservation encourages the reuse of older buildings, even those that are not eligible for designation, because reusing buildings keeps them out of the landfill which is nearly full already. Reusing buildings also cuts down on the amount of new resources that need to be harvested or mined, then processed and hauled, and finally installed into new buildings. Adaptively reusing buildings, as opposed to scraping and replacing them, saves tremendous amounts of energy and other resources and thereby benefits the planet on both a local and a global scale.
Historic Preservation is socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable, making it a key component in helping to keep Fort Collins strong now and into the future.