AVON, Colo. (CBS4)– Residents in one small mountain town are deciding the fate of an old barn that will be torn down to make room for a water treatment plant expansion, unless taxpayers intervene. As CBS4 was first to report earlier this year, the Hahnewald Barn move and improvement plan had ignited a firestorm of controversy.
“I can see where there’s people that probably are not going to speak to each other for a long time over this issue,” Kathy Heicher, President Eagle County Historical Society, told CBS4 Tuesday as vote counting was set to begin.
Saving the barn and paying for the project seems to have ignited passions on both sides.
“There’s been some support of the barn in the newspapers and in truth, the majority of the letters have been negative to the barn,” Heicher said.
The Hahnewald Barn is one of the last links to the town’s rich agricultural past, according to Heicher.
The town council already had voted to approve spending more than a million dollars to move the barn, build a new roof and foundation in a nearby park.
After that vote is when opponents began a very public campaign against the plan. On Feb. 26 the council revisited their decision, deciding to let voters make the final call.
“It’s obviously an issue people are passionate about. I think it reflects the nature of politics at the moment where every little thing is a big ‘You’re an idiot’ if you’re against it and ‘You’re an idiot’ if you’re up for it,” Heicher added.
There is already a Grassroots fundraising effort to help with the barn project. About $5,500 has already been raised. But, without tax dollars saving the barn is unlikely. And Heicher says those donations would refunded.
The looming deadline for the barn is that it must be moved. The deadline is June 1 to make way for a water plant expansion on the current property the barn is now.
Volunteers are counting survey results beginning at 5 p.m. Tuesday with the results expected sometime later in the evening.