Chancy J. Gatlin-Anderson
Special to Colorado Community Media
The Town of Elizabeth Historic Advisory Board met on April 18 to discuss the results of the Historic Preservation Survey that took place throughout early April. The survey received 130 responses, about a quarter of them from within the town limits.
“I think overall we had a really good turnout on the survey. I did not expect to get 130 responses,” said Zach Higgins, Main Street Program manager and planner/project manager for the town. “This is statistically significant for our population.”
The survey was intended to gauge resident knowledge and interest regarding downtown Elizabeth and its historic sites, which could help shape possible changes to the municipal code and impact the future of a potential historic district in the town.
In an April Elbert County News article, Higgins said that if there was positive feedback from the survey, there is a plan to designate a Town of Elizabeth Historic District around the end of this year, with much opportunity for public comment throughout the process.
Below are the results of the Historic Preservation Survey as discussed at the meeting. Results include applicable comment from Higgins.
Do you live within the town limits of Elizabeth?
25% said “yes”
75% said “no”
“We’re getting a lot of feedback from outside of town,” said Higgins. “We did ask for respondent zip codes, so we have that data. It gives us an idea of who is coming here.”
How frequently do you visit Main Street?
30% said “a few times a week”
25% said “once a week”
20% said “a few times a month”
Less than 10% said “every day”
What is your level of knowledge about the purpose of historic preservation in the Town of Elizabeth?
60% of respondents marked themselves as “average”
What is your favorite historic district or town within Colorado besides Elizabeth?
“Many of the responders cited Cripple Creek. Survey responders also listed Georgetown many times. There were several others like Grand Lake, Breckenridge, Silverton, Estes, all the popular ones,” said Higgins. “All of these towns have preservation codes.”
Are you concerned about the potential for exterior update changes to structures in town?
“Nearly 50% of the respondents said 'a great deal,’ remarked Higgins. “Most people are quite concerned, which is a good sign for us in this process.”
Are there any buildings in town which you would like to not see removed?
40% responded “yes”
50% said “yes” and gave the address or name of the building(s) they would like to not see removed.
How would you feel about altering or removing historic structures?
Nearly 70% said they “strongly disapprove”
Is the Town of Elizabeth’s history important to teach to future residents?
95% of the respondents said “yes”
Do you think Elizabeth would benefit from having an historic district?
80% of respondents said it “definitely would”
20% said it “probably would”
Do you think creating an historic district on main street would have a positive impact?
95% said “yes”
“Most of these responses were what we wanted to see,” expressed Higgins. “There’s not a lot of opposition to what we’re doing.”
Do you believe that recognizing/listing buildings on the historic register would result in additional financial burden to the owners of the historic buildings?
65% said “no”
30% said “yes”
“This is something that we’ll probably have to touch on at some point when we go through the historic district process,” said Higgins. “The new code has a maintenance provision in it, so I expect to get comments on that one.”
Do you own a building that could be considered for inclusion in the historic district?
92% said “no”
Do you think the town of Elizabeth would benefit from creating multiple historic districts?
60% said “yes”
40% said “no”
Are there any buildings or locations that you feel would benefit from preservation?
“A lot of people said the farmhouse that is being torn down for Legacy Village,” explained Higgins. “There is a provision in the new code we’re looking at that could halt the demolition if someone nominated a property. However, given the time constraints for the development, that can’t happen before scheduled demolition.”
If the town goes ahead with plans to create a historic district, the municipal code would first need to be updated. The district plan would then require approval from the Planning Commission followed by the Board of Trustees.
This designation allows the town and its Historic Advisory Board to apply for state and federal funding. Funding will allow for maintenance and preservation of historic structures, among other things.
Members of the Town of Elizabeth Historic Advisory Board noted that they would like to thank all those who took the Historic Preservation Survey.
For information on the updated code or information about survey results, please contact Zach Higgins at email@example.com