Boulder City Council shows support for historic district which includes Bandshell, civic area

June 14—Despite a push from historic preservation advocates and community members, the historic designation boundaries of the historic Glen Huntington Bandshell will not be changed to include all of Central Park.

At least not for now.

After a lengthy discussion on Tuesday, a majority of the Boulder City Council decided not to approve the amendment to the historic designation of the site at 1236 Canyon Blvd. originally approved nearly three decades ago.

The 5-4 decision went against the Landmarks Board’s recommendation in favor of the staff recommendation: instead of an expanded designation now, instead take a more holistic look at a larger, more encompassing historic district that recognizes the historic resources of the area. and the evolution of the place over time.

“It’s basically the heart of Boulder,” senior historic preservation planner James Hewat said Tuesday.

Pro Tem Mayor Rachel Friend and City Council members Mark Wallach, Tara Winer and Bob Yates were the dissenting votes. They supported the amendment at least in part because Hewat indicated there would be no harm in approving it before a more formal process to consider a more formal historic district that should start next year.

Other board members saw it differently. From their perspective, there is no sense of urgency since there is no threat to the Central Park area.

The Glen Huntington Bandshell was originally designated as a historic landmark in 1996. However, the originally approved designation does not extend much beyond the stage and seats due to the historic trains that were displayed there.

According to the staff, the intention was always to expand the boundaries so that the landmark designation includes all of Central Park.

At the public hearing, everyone was in favor of changing the historic designation.

“We believe the time is right,” Landmarks Vice-Chairman Abby Daniels said at Tuesday’s meeting.

Similarly, Kathryn Barth of Friends of the Bandshell said the band’s reason for requesting the expansion was largely practical. The group wants to ensure the site designation is joined as Boulder moves forward with projects made possible by the extension of the Community, Culture, Resilience and Safety Tax approved by voters l last fall.

“We didn’t want the Bandshell and its site to be split,” Barth said.

A number of city council members said the process was inefficient. Friend, for example, said she would prefer to move forward with expanding the historic designation to avoid spending more Council time on the subject in the future.

The reason for the recommended delay was to ensure more time for collaboration between the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and the Landmarks Board, both of which would have a say in the historic district and any changes to the area.

The parks and recreation board was concerned about the proposal being considered by city council on Tuesday due to the lack of engagement and the timing of the discussion.

Toward the end of the discussion, Boulder City Council members gave informal instructions to planning staff to begin work on the historic district next year.

It was likely to happen anyway, staff noted.

“Frankly, we think it’s a priority,” Hewat said.

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