“I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives …” — Abraham Lincoln On a Thursday night at the Buck Center, a group of nearly 100 …
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“I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives …”
— Abraham Lincoln
On a Thursday night at the Buck Center, a group of nearly 100
Littleton residents were asked to answer three questions:
“What are the key neighborhoods, districts and resources you
want to preserve in Littleton?” “How should those resources serve
Littleton?” and “What is the role of historic preservation in
After nearly two hours of discussion, a giant list was compiled
that included everything from preserving the Louthan neighborhood
to Arapahoe Community College, to the train depot and light rail
Enhancing community livability, protecting cultural resources
and providing delight in the community experience also made the
“This community values preservation, but the devil is in the
details,” said Mayor Doug Clark, referring to the growing list of
issues, information and ideas surrounding historic
There are complicated layers of definitions, locations,
reasoning and regulations about historic areas and properties.
Many of the projects suggested by community members — such as
zoning and parking issues — employ the work of both the city’s
planning commission and the historic preservation board.
“We were given a lot of different directions that dovetail,”
said Bill Hopping, director of the Littleton Historical
Littleton’s planning commission is working in tandem with the
historical board to develop a comprehensive plan to “preserve
Littleton’s unique sense of place and identity, while encouraging
the reinvestment and compatible redevelopment that will enhance
Littleton’s economic vitality.”
Littleton’s downtown is known throughout the metro area as an
attractive spot for shopping, dining, entertainment and nostalgia.
It’s a mix of late 19th-century and early 20th-century brick
buildings, with a few mid-20th-century spots tucked in. Each
building carries a story about how it was used, and by whom, and
part of the downtown is in a National Historic District.
Though quick to note that the intention is not to put
Littleton’s historic buildings “under a bell jar for observation,”
preservation and planning guru Nore Winter said there are benefits
to maintaining the “integrity” of a building.
“While life goes on, key features are maintained,” Winter said.
“Preservation doesn’t mean stopping development. It doesn’t prevent
alterations. These are living, working structures.”
But preservation does have economic benefits. It promotes
sustainability, increases property values, creates jobs, recruits
business and supports tourism, according to Winter.
In 2001, the Colorado Historical Foundation undertook a project
to document the economic benefits of historic preservation in
The economic impacts of preservation extend far beyond the
initial dollars spent, according to the report.
For example, a contractor may purchase paint for a
rehabilitation activity. The contractor may also use some of her
earnings to buy groceries at a local store. The purchase of the
paint is a direct impact, but the purchases made by the paint
factory, and the contractor’s purchase of groceries, are indirect
Additionally, historic preservation often is a key factor in
enhancing property values.
Communities are able to reuse public infrastructure, maintain a
sense of community and place, and support locally owned businesses,
keeping downtown investment dollars within the community.
Eight Colorado Main Street communities have attracted
considerable private investment since 2001, totaling more than
$21.5 million in their downtown districts, according to the
In Littleton some building owners are trying to decide what
makes economic sense for them. Others have already sought local
historic designation from the city, while more refuse to for
assorted reasons. Property rights are a major concern.
The next True Grit Forum will be from 7-9 p.m. Feb. 26 at the
Buck Recreation Center, 2004 W. Powers Ave., Littleton.
The forum discussion will focus on alternatives for downtown
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