Hahnewald barn materials to be salvaged, reclamation work to start Monday

Hahnewald barn reclamation process begins today.
Town of Avon

AVON — While locals didn’t want to see the Hahnewald barn move to Nottingham Park, many people also did not want to see its 110-year-old wood in a landfill.

The barn, which was built during the first decade of the 20th century, can no longer occupy its current location as the Eagle River Water & Sanitation District needs the land to expand its Avon wastewater treatment facility.

In April, an ambitious plan to move the barn to Nottingham Park was overturned by voters in town, and the barn’s fate has remained uncertain since then.

Diane Johnson with the Eagle River Water & Sanitation District said a contract has been signed with a salvage company and the reclamation of the barn materials is expected to start today.

“A lot of the material will be available for sale locally at a significant discount (not from us, from the company doing the salvage),” Johnson said in an email. “We don’t yet know what location the material will be stored at, nor when it will be available.”

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Meeting regulations

The Avon wastewater treatment plant expansion brings the Eagle River Water & Sanitation District one step closer to realizing the goals of its wastewater master plan. The plan was adopted in 2012 with statewide regulations in mind; regulations that limit the discharge of nutrients from wastewater treatment facilities into waterways, which require the expansion of treatment facilities in Edwards, Avon and Vail.

At that time, the district put a 2013 deadline on any efforts to save the barn, which was blocking the expansion effort at the Avon wastewater facility. The district instead carried out the Edwards phase of the plan first, pushing the deadline on the Hahnewald barn back to 2019.

“Once we knew Avon was actually the next project, and there might be a chance that we were in construction or prepping for construction, then we (issued the town) more of a hard deadline,” Johnson said earlier this year.

An effort was undertaken by the town of Avon to save the barn, and the first phase of a three-step plan to move and repurpose the Hahnewald barn passed the Town Council by a 4-3 vote in February. It was supposed to set in motion a multi-million dollar plan to move the barn to the site of the former town hall building, but community members pushed back against the idea and a special election was held. The council’s decision was overturned with 891 against, 104 in favor of the plan.

Plant expansion

With the fate of the Hahnewald barn now in the hands of the Eagle River Water & Sanitation District once again, Johnson said they did not want to see the barn simply demolished.

Other options to relocate the barn, including Knapp Ranch, did not work out, Johnson said.

“A major goal of ours was to avoid having any material go to the landfill,” she said. “The salvage company accomplishes that. They’ll reclaim the wood, the nails, the roofing material, etcetera. The concrete foundation will be buried in place.”

Work will begin next spring on the Avon plant, which will meet the new regulations which limit the discharge of phosphates and nitrogen from wastewater treatment facilities into waterways.

The Edwards plant was funded by proceeds from the district’s 2014 ballot measure, where voters approved a property tax increase to fund the improvements. In 2016, the district issued $23.3 million in new bonds as a result of the 2014 election, at an average interest rate of 3 percent.

Finance director James Wilkins said the district received a coupon discount of nearly $2 million, which covered the issuing costs and allowed the district to realize a full $25 million in proceeds.

The district will issue new bonds to pay for the required regulatory upgrades at the Avon plant, depending on the specific timing of the multi-year project.

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