‘Good meeting’ with city’s Historic Preservation Board

       An informal meeting with the Colorado Springs Historic Preservation Board (HPB) “went well” for the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN) Oct. 4, according to OWN Vice President Kristine Van Wert.
       “It was a good meeting, not intended to have any conclusions,” she said afterward.
       The meeting gave OWN a chance to introduce its idea for a “historic overlay” that would encourage the preservation of 4,000 older homes on much of the Westside.
       As proposed, the overlay would require that homes within its boundaries would need to deal with (but not necessarily use) a historic-review process with the HPB.
       During the meeting, OWN members talked to the HPB about past efforts to identify or protect older residences on the Westside. These include the city-approved 1980 Westside Plan, in which there is the objective to “preserve, enhance and facilitate the use of the Westside's historical and architecturally significant buildings.”
       Van Wert has taken a lead role in the overlay effort, for which OWN is fund-raising the $2,000 (a Halloween-related event Oct. 29-30 will kick off the effort) to pay for the necessary photographic documentation of the buildings.
       “We're a frontier town, still standing,” she said of the Westside, summing up her inspiration for wanting to preserve its history. She added, however, that OWN wants to hear from Westsiders whether they like the idea. “We don't want people to think we're jamming something down their throats,” she said. “This is an opportunity, if they want to take it.”
       A lengthy process, including public meetings at different stages, is planned before an overlay would become reality.
       One issue is the proposed district's size, which would be considerably bigger and more diverse in building types than the single historic residential district now in Colorado Springs (the Old North End). This could significantly impact the workload for both the HPB and the currently half-time planning position devoted to historic preservation issues, Van Wert and fellow OWN board member Dave Hughes have pointed out.
       The proposed area would be bounded by Uintah Street on the north, I-25 on the east, Vermijo Street on the south and 30th Street on the west. (Note: The proposed eastern boundary has been extended east from Eighth Street in the past year. The story in the Sept. 30 Westside Pioneer mistakenly used the old boundary.)

Westside Pioneer article