OWN applies for overlay grant from Colorado Historical Fund

       In the latest step toward creating an historic overlay zone for the old Westside, the volunteer Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN) applied for a grant this week from the Colorado State Historical Fund.
       The requested $10,800 would be used to hire an architect to write design guidelines for the designated area's 3,629 residential structures, according to the request by OWN Treasurer Dave Hughes to Historical Fund Director Mark Wolfe.
       The guidelines would become part of an application to the City of Colorado Springs for the overlay zone. The goal is to use the guidelines to help protect Westside houses 50 years old and older. However, OWN's intent is to make compliance with the zone voluntary, not mandatory.
       Showing a draft of the request at the September board meeting of OWN, Hughes said he hopes to get a response from the state later this month, but the grant money probably would not become available until mid-December.
       Earlier this year, OWN and the Old Colorado City Historical Society (OCCHS) each donated $2,000 to pay a photographer to take digital pictures of the structures.
       A time-consuming cataloging process has since been taking place. “Seven OWN volunteers are halfway through tediously describing all the architectural details of each house on computerized spreadsheets designed by city staff so that an architect willing to draw up the guidelines… can efficiently group the buildings and derive the guidelines from the details and digital pictures,” Hughes states in the grant.
       The proposed zone is bounded on the east by I-25, on the south by Vermijo or Cucharras streets, on the west by the city limits (but not including Pleasant Valley) and on the north by Uintah Street. Old Colorado City's main commercial area, would not be part of the zone because it is already protected as a national historic district.
       For exact boundaries, OWN can be contacted at P.O. Box 6651 or info@westsideneighbors.org.
       The guidelines would sort the zone's various houses by architectural type, according to an article by Hughes in the summer issue of OWN's quarterly Westside Story newsletter. This would help guide homeowners in doing remodeling, additions or expansions of older homes.
       The grant request has received several endorsements, including District 12 State Sen. Andy McElhany (R) and District 18 State Rep. Michael Merrifield (D).
       OWN was inspired to consider an overlay plan after about 130 responses to a newsletter survey in 2002 found 96 percent of Westsiders favoring historic preservation.
       Formed in 1978, OWN is a neighborhood advocacy group for the Westside's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) area and is partially funded by the city.

Westside Pioneer article