Hahnewald barn’s proposed first move would cost $390K, take up 12 parking spaces in downtown Avon
AVON — About 20 members of the public and a dog joined the town’s planning commission and historic preservation committee to see options for moving the Hahnewald family barn on Tuesday, Oct. 16.
The more than 100-year-old barn must be torn down or moved off Eagle River Water & Sanitation District property by June 1 to make way for a new water treatment facility.
Options for moving the barn were outlined by Anderson Hallas Architects, a group hired by the town of Avon for about $120,000. All of the options explored involved moving the barn to the locations presently occupied by the former town hall and former fire station locations.
All options also involved moving the barn first to a parking lot near the former town hall for two years before it reaches its final destination.
Placing the barn in the former town hall parking lot would temporarily remove 12 public parking spots from the town’s inventory, would cost about $390,000 and would require an agreement with Union Pacific Railroad to use their right of way during the move. The Town Council has not yet approved that move; it’s expected to vote on it before the end of the calendar year.
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Town engineer Justin Hildreth said he is confident Avon would be able to get permission from Union Pacific before the June 1 deadline.
TRAER CREEK OPTION?
The planning commission and historic preservation committee said the reason all options to move the barn centered around Tract G — the area surrounding the former town hall and fire station locations — is because they can move the barn in tact to that location, assuming the town receives cooperation from the railroad and approves the $390,000 to move it.
Moving the barn upvalley, through roundabouts and possibly even a bridge or two, would require disassembling it, the group said.
Council member Jake Wolf said he didn’t feel the option to move it upvalley was taken seriously enough by the group.
“We very narrowly kept it to this area,” Wolf said. “What about the rest of Avon?”
Michael Lindholm, with Traer Creek, attended the meeting and said his group was never approached about using its land in East Avon.
“Whether it’s storage, or finding a new home for the barn, we can always have a conversation with the town about that,” Lindholm said. “It seems like everything is moving very, very quickly, but it’s something that we would be interested in having a conversation about. I don’t know if that helps in any way, but I did want to say that.”
Wolf said if the barn is moved to the parking lot, and funding never comes through to move it again to the former town hall or fire station site, the town risks losing the barn altogether.
“To leave it sit for two years … and then come to that point and not have a solution then, we’re into an astronomical amount of money that has not yet been … approved by the people of this town,” Wolf said.
In June, Wolf voted against the initial $120,000 spend on Anderson Hallas Architects. It was approved, 4-3, with council members Sarah Smith Hymes, Amy Phillips, Jennie Fancher and Megan Burch in favor.
“We’re looking at what angle it should be placed at before even seeing if we’ll have money or permission from the railroad to move it,” Wolf said after the Tuesday meeting.
‘LOOK AT WHERE WE ARE’
Elizabeth Hallas, with Anderson Hallas Architects, also after that meeting, said the idea was for the Town Council to see the total cost and scope of the end goal before deciding whether to move the barn at all.
The three options presented by Hallas range from $3.7 million to $5.5 million in construction costs, which Hallas said is probably about two-thirds of the total project costs.
Wolf asked Tamra Nottingham Underwood, an Avon Town Council candidate and member of the historic preservation committee whose family once owned the barn, to consider other options for its relocation.
Underwood responded by saying “look at where we are.”
After the meeting, Wolf said Underwood’s sentiment on the matter is why he voted against initiating the $120,000 study presented on Tuesday.
“Not because I’m against saving the barn,” Wolf said. “Because I’m against setting us down a path of the ‘we’ve already spent $120K, so we should see it through’ mindset. In other words, ‘Look at where we are, we gotta keep going.’”
Wolf said he might have supported the study if they would have also looked at the Traer Creek land in East Avon.
On Tuesday, Underwood said she wouldn’t consider that option, saying, “It’s not responsible for me to say (Traer Creek) here you take the barn.”
Wolf said that statement was a clarifying moment for him.
“Tamra thinks the decision is hers alone to make, and she’s not willing to consider other ideas,” he said.