May 14, 2010

Shawnee nomination to National Register unanimous

Tom Locke
Flume Editor

Shawnee received unanimous approval of the Colorado Historic Preservation and State Register Review Board for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places at a review board meeting on May 7 in Denver.

"Within 60 to 90 days it should be official for us," said Brian Heber, director of the Shawnee Historical Society, which is a branch of the Park County Historical Society.

He said that he has been told that once approval is received at the state level it's highly likely that the Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places will approve the National Register designation at the federal level.

And he expects that to happen in two to three months.

Shawnee took the first step by becoming a local historical district and has now passed the second step, approval at the state level for a nomination to the National Register, said Heber.

The status of being on the National Register "can be a real draw for tourism," Heber said. "It's often places people will seek out in their travels."

In addition, the status provides some protections for the properties in instances of road projects or other building projects, he said.

Plus, there are grant opportunities for property owners in maintaining their properties, he said.

Heber credited the Park County commissioners and Linda Balough, director of he Park County Office of Historic Preservation, for their help in getting through the process.

Barbara Jerome Behl, owner of the Shawnee Tea Room and Bailey's Deer Creek Realty, was upbeat about the review board decision.

"I'm just real proud and honored to be a part of it and have a place to celebrate Shawnee," she said of the Tea Room, which is next to the Shawnee Post Office in the original Shawnee Mercantile Building.