AVON, Colo. (CBS4)– A plan to bring a piece of Eagle County history back to life is getting some pushback. Not everyone is on board with spending millions to relocate the Hahnewald Barn in Avon to a new site.
On Feb. 12, the Avon Town Council approved a motion on a close 4-to-3 vote to proceed with the Hahnewald Barn Phase I Project, which includes the relocation of the Hahnewald Barn to the site of the old Town Hall building, demolition of the old Town Hall building, site preparation, relocation of public utilities, construction of a new foundation, and replacement of roof covering for an estimated cost of $1.5 million to $1.6 million.
The hefty price tag and questions about where the funds to accomplish the first phase and other portions of future phases will come from, has many in the community demanding the council to revisit the decision.
According to Avon communication manager Elizabeth Wood, town staff is working diligently to sort through all of the project elements, including determining actual project costs. Those costs will be presented to the Avon Town Council once the construction documents are finalized and a contract with a barn moving company is in place.
Council member Chico Thuon voted against spending the money on the barn move. He says it could be used elsewhere, although he says no one wants to see the barn destroyed.
“This comes down to fiscal responsibility, we can’t be moving forward on something we don’t even know how much will actually cost,” Thuon said.
Many have called for a ballot measure on the issue to allow voters to decide the barn’s fate.
In December 2018, the Avon Town Council explored the possibility of referring a ballot question about the Hahnewald Barn to the electorate of Avon via a special municipal election. Ultimately, the majority of Town Council members did not feel that it was necessary to go down that path. Wood says It is possible that the Town Council could decide to revisit this.
Resident Kristi Ferraro is in favor of the barn project and hopes the community can rally behind the effort to save a piece of town history.
“This will be a community living room, a place we can all gather and enjoy for years to come, we don’t have anything else like this and it would be such a shame to see it demolished forever,” Ferraro said.
Funding for Phase 1 of the project is slated to come from the town’s five year Capital Improvements Program (CIP) which contains a number of funded CIP projects scheduled for 2019 and 2020. To accommodate the decision on the Hahnewald Barn, it will be required for some of these projects to be re-reviewed and money reallocated to the Hahnewald Barn Project.
In addition, interest was expressed, by the majority of Council, to reallocate funds from the Avon Urban Renewal Authority to the Hahnewald Barn Project. Also available in the CIP Budget are unappropriated reserves that were set aside for future Town-owned properties projects, of which the Hahnewald Barn and other projects within Nottingham Park are eligible.
Wood says there is potential for a fundraising campaign, led by the members of the Avon Historic Preservation Advisory Board, now that clear direction for the project has been provided.
Actual project costs will be presented once the construction documents are finalized and a contract with a barn moving company are in place, according to town staff.