OWN historic-overlay grant request denied; rationale awaited

       The Colorado Historical Society has rejected a $10,800 grant request from the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN). The money would have paid an architect to develop design guidelines for an envisioned historic “overlay”zone on the older Westside.
       OWN board member Dave Hughes, who had written the grant application, announced the adverse ruling at a recent OWN meeting. The group is awaiting a detailed explanation from the society's State Historical Fund program before deciding what steps to take next.
       Based on talks with the Historical Fund, Hughes said the key reason for the denial was OWN's inability to offer a 25 percent match for any state funds. To be really competitive, a 50 percent match would have been needed, he pointed out.
       OWN is a volunteer Westside advocacy group that receives a stipend from Colorado Springs Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, but most of that is set aside for printing its quarterly newsletter. The group had already paid a photographer about $4,000 to take pictures of 4,000-some Westside structures; the photos, along with a spreadsheet containing design information for each structure, would be used by the architect in the guideline-creation process.
       In response to a Westside Pioneer question, Tim Scanlon, half-time historic preservation planner for the city, said that for two existing historic districts (the Old North End and Weber-Wahsatch) about 15 years ago, the city had paid to create the guidelines. However, since then, he observed, the city has lowered the priority for historic preservation efforts, feeling a monetary pinch from Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR) spending restrictions.
       Scanlon said he is willing to assist OWN in analyzing the state's denial explanation, when it comes in (assuming it will address overlay strategies and not just the lack of a funding match).

Westside Pioneer article