Town of Meeker hears results from historic district study

MEEKER | Carl McWilliams, consultant, presented the results of a multi-year study to designate a National Historic District within the Town of Meeker to the town’s board of trustees March 20. The study qualifies Meeker to be included on the National Register of Historic Places. The nomination is “pending” in Washington, D.C., which McWilliams said is usually a formality.

McWilliams has compiled his research on multiple buildings and residences within the district boundaries, which were determined in 2015 to the town and the historical society. His findings include in-depth research on more than 50 historical buildings, including the courthouse, the Hugus Building, the IOOF Building (now Mountain Valley Bank), the Meeker Hotel and Meeker Café, the Baer Block (once a saloon), the Neal Block (now Meeker Drugs), and multiple private residences.

Many historic buildings in Meeker were designed by well-known, high-end Denver architects.

The benefits of the designation include recognition of local history on a statewide and national level, heritage tourism promotional opportunities and eligibility for tax credits and grant monies for property owners.

The designation places no restrictions on property owners, according to McWilliams.

“This is not the end of the process,” McWilliams said. “It is a starting off point for promoting heritage tourism, economic development, leveraging dollars for rehab work, future surveys and designations.”

In other business, town attorney Melody Massih asked the board to clarify its wishes concerning publication of payroll details. The board agreed to publish the total amount of payroll expenses, broken down by separate line items, without specifying individual salaries and positions.

Trustees discussed amending the town’s business grant program so that grantees who have not used their funds from the previous year will not be at the top of the list for consideration in the following year. Two who were awarded grants last year didn’t use the funding for unknown reasons.

The board also discussed becoming a Tree City, USA member, as outlined by the Eastern Rio Blanco Metropolitan Recreation and Park District. Public Works Superintendent Russell Overton highlighted his concerns in the template.

Trustee Scott Creecy brought up concerns about code enforcement, citing reports that youth have been seen breaking into empty houses. Code enforcement has been an ongoing discussion for the trustees.

Town administrator Scott Meszaros said vacant building owners have been notified, but that people are just “walking away from their properties,” leaving the town to deal with the mess left behind. At a March 27 workshop, trustees discussed drafting a letter to residents notifying them that more codes are going to be enforced than have been addressed in the past.

Town Clerk Lisa Cook said she mailed out 1,302 ballots for the town election. Ballots must be returned by April 3, and can be mailed, dropped off at Town Hall, or dropped in the “vote” box at the courthouse.

The board approved a $500 donation for 4-H club projects.

The board approved a liquor license for the Afterbirth Ball, to be held at the Fairfield Center on April 14.

Police Chief Phil Stubblefield said there were “quite a few” domestic issues in February, with four calls, and that “we’ve seen an increase for the last six to eight months.” The police department had 245 calls in February.