Vail Daily column: Attend a public hearing on Town of Avon Properties Plan | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily column: Attend a public hearing on Town of Avon Properties Plan

Jennie Fancher
Valley Voices
Jennie Fancher
Special to the Daily |

The town of Avon has been actively soliciting community engagement toward its planning for town-owned properties. The Public Safety Facility nears completion, and plans are being finalized for the finishing of the new Town Hall. As a result, the current Town Hall and the fire stations on Benchmark Road and in Wildridge will soon be vacated. These big changes have spurred the need to examine town-owned properties to determine what their best uses may be and how the community would like them utilized.

On the evenings of Tuesday and Aug. 15, the Planning and Zoning Commission will be holding public hearings to discuss the recently released town of Avon Properties Plan. The plan examines the following properties owned by the town: Tract G (Nottingham Park, existing Town Hall, the Fire Station on Benchmark Road, the Avon Recreation Center and adjacent town-owned public streets and parking lots); Lot 5 (adjacent to Home Depot); Lot E (adjacent to Post Boulevard and Traer Creek); “Park Site” within the Village at Avon; Swift Gulch (adjacent to the town’s transit and fleet facilities); and the Wildridge Fire Station.

An online survey and a series of community open houses were used to solicit community input during development of the plan, and now additional input is invited and encouraged at the upcoming Planning and Zoning Commission meetings. The future of all these properties is on the table, open for discussion.

Closely connected with planning for the future is the imminent removal of the Hahnewald Barn. The Hahnewald Barn is one of the last remaining historic structures located in Avon and stands as a reminder of the area’s past. The barn is located on land owned by the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District and must be removed by September 2018 to make room for necessary improvements to the district’s operations.

The barn sits north of the bike path along the Eagle River to the East of Sunridge Condominiums. There is an unobstructed view of it from U.S. Highway 6. The Historic Preservation Advisory Committee has been working diligently to find ways to preserve the barn, all of which require relocation.

The Historic Preservation Advisory Committee was established, in part, to foster civic pride in the beauty and accomplishments of the past. Section 7.12.070 of Avon’s municipal code established this committee to, among other things, “promote the use of historical or architectural sites, structures and objects for the education and welfare of the residents of the town; to maintain the town’s unique character by recognizing the importance of preservation and renewing the town’s legacy for present and future generations; and to discourage the unnecessary demolition of historic and/or cultural resources.”

In an effort to fulfill the premise of the committee, it strives to integrate historic preservation with the Comprehensive Plan. It is the duty of the Historic Preservation Advisory Committee to review applications for any permit which includes the exterior alteration, relocation or removal of a site or structure designated as a historical and/or cultural landmark and make recommendations to the Planning and Zoning Commission. The committee sees inherent aesthetic, historic and functional value the barn could contribute to the planning for town-owned properties.

The Hahnewald Barn was constructed between 1900 and 1910. Albert and Frances Hahnewald owned the 160-acre ranch in Avon where the barn was built. This ranch was located where Nottingham Lake sits today, as well as along the Eagle River. This area was used to raise livestock and grow grains and hay. The Hahnewald Land & Livestock Co. ran cattle on land that spanned from Edwards to Vail.

The history of the ranch in Avon continued, serving as a lettuce farm under its next owner, the Kroellings in the 1920s, and then purchased by Allan Nottingham in 1949. Allan Nottingham served on the first Avon Town Council and was also mayor for 12 years.

During the 1980s, Allan Nottingham donated the land where the barn sits for the wastewater treatment plan. The wastewater treatment plant is a necessary and integral part of the infrastructure of the Avon community and its need to expand and modernize requires the barn to be removed. Today, the Hahnewald Barn represents the agricultural heritage of the Avon community and is the largest historical landmark in the town.

Avon is facing a unique opportunity to make enhancements to the town that can enrich the lives of its residents and further anchor a sense of community. Please take the time to attend the public hearings on Tuesday and Aug. 15. These meetings will be informative and offer the opportunity for input on what you would like to see transpire on these properties, taking time to help shape the future of Avon. The proposed town of Avon Properties Plan can be viewed at http://www.avon.org/engage.

Jennie Fancher is the mayor of Avon.