Letter: Saving barn is the right decision
I applaud the Avon Town Council and the Avon Planning & Zoning Commission for having the vision and courage to spare the Hahnewald barn from the wrecking ball. As the visionaries for our community, the council and planning and zoning commission need to think about attracting residents and visitors to Avon for years to come. Our high country communities have an aging population. Historic preservation and adaptive reuse are now important strategies for communities looking to attract youthful populations who desire to live, work and play in communities with unique character and sense of place.
Many of the Colorado communities worth emulating have recognized the value of preserving and embracing their agricultural and mining history. In fiscal 2018, the Aspen Historical Society received $840,000 in public funds and contributions of $330,000. It also moved a barn, cabin and shed from downtown Aspen to a park. While Avon doesn’t have nearly as many historic structures as Aspen, it would be shortsighted to destroy the one grand historic structure we have left.
Instead of continuing to invest millions of dollars into Avon’s quixotic and expensive quest for elusive special events that can compete with the deep pockets of Vail and Beaver Creek, perhaps Avon needs to try to attract visitors and younger residents by leveraging its uniqueness in the Vail Valley. Just as Nottingham Lake provides a distinctive amenity in the Vail Valley, the Hahnewald barn will be equally distinctive and attractive. Not only could a repurposed barn serve as a revenue generator for private events, but it could also serve as a gathering place for the various groups that create a sense of community in Avon. We’ve heard that the senior center needs a home and so does the community theater group. We’ve also heard that our younger workforce needs a place to meet and mingle outside of the bar scene. Many of the groups in our valley that provide a sense of community to our citizens could use a repurposed Hahnewald barn as their home.
I urge our community to join me in helping Avon turn the barn into a distinctive and valuable community asset by making a contribution to Hahnewald barn preservation through the Eagle County Historical Society at https://eaglecountyhistoricalsociety.com/hahnewald-barn-preservation-donation/.