Luttrell Barn funding in question, fundraising efforts ramp up | CraigDailyPress.com

Luttrell Barn funding in question, fundraising efforts ramp up

Lauren Blair

The Luttrell barn in its old spot Washington Street near Victory Way next to an apartment complex in 1975. The barn has since been moved to Highway 40 on the east side of Craig, where it once again sits in disrepair. Though county funds promised for restoration may no longer be available, the Save the Barn committee is gaining momentum in its fundraising efforts.

— The fate of the historic Luttrell Barn still hangs in the balance sheets of Moffat County's ledgers, but one thing is certain: the local treasure has galvanized a fervent group of supporters who are committed to seeing it restored.

The Save the Barn committee has recently learned that the price tag to do so may be steeper than expected, however, and the first of many fundraising events is planned for this weekend.

The committee is hosting a Winter Tea Party at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Clarion Inn & Suites, hosted by local business, Tea for a Princess, owned by Janet Espino.

"The Clarion is going to be catering finger foods for the tea party, so tell your mother, daughter, friends, grandma, aunts, and men are welcome too!" said committee member Melody Villard.

Advocates for the Luttrell Barn learned in a workshop with Moffat County Commissioners last week that the $100,000 in county funds earmarked for the barn's restoration may no longer be on the table, though a final decision has yet to be made.

"The income situation from the county in the last six to eight weeks has changed considerably," said Moffat County Commissioner Frank Moe, citing changes to anticipated tax refunds and state-mandated residential tax rates. "When we made the decision to go forward with the barn, those things weren't known."

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The commissioners are now exploring the possibility of selling the barn to the committee and offering a long-term lease on the county-owned land it sits on.

"When they're laying people off, it's hard to justify a community center being important," Villard said. "But why should we as a community lose such an important piece of our history because they mismanaged it for so many years?"

A decision is expected by early to mid-February. While the county examines the legal feasibility of the idea, the committee is turning up the intensity of its fundraising efforts.

"We would still like to see the barn repaired and put into community use, and I think if there's any possible way we can do that, our committee is vowing to do that," said committee leader John Allen. "We've got huge support from the community and businesses in the community, and I think the commissioners will work with us."

The committee has already called in more than $32,000 in cash pledges and in-kind pledges for repair work valued around $10,000. Ongoing silent auctions via Facebook are garnering extra cash and more fundraisers are planned for February and March.

Tea party tickets are $15 and people are encouraged to buy them ahead of time at KS Creations, Elk Run Inn or the Clarion so that organizers can plan for catering needs. Donations can also be made to the Community Foundation for Northwest Colorado — note the Luttrell Barn — at Yampa Valley Bank.

Contact Lauren Blair at 970-875-1795 or lblair@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @LaurenBNews.