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Steamboat Magazine

Steambits W 02/03

12/01/2002 01:00AM ● By Anonymous

Winter 2002:

Steambits W 02/03

When Steamboat Springs' leadersannounced their intentions to turn an oldboarded-up building into a 21st centurycity hall, the guffaws were audible.They have long since turned to applause.The latest to join the fan club is ColoradoPreservation Inc., which presentedthe city with its 2002 State Honor Award."The preservation of this important industrialsite along with the compatible newconstruction sets an important standard formunicipalities across the state," says ColoradoPreservation Executive DirectorMark Rodman.Centennial Hall incorporates the city'sold powerplant, built in 1901, in its17,000- square-foot space. Within its wallsare a café (packed daily by the locals whoonce scoffed at the idea of a café in a governmentbuilding), meeting space, offices,council chambers and interactive, 3-D technologyto aid in community planning.The exterior incorporates rock similar tothat quarried from nearby Emerald Mountainin Steamboat's early years, complementingthe original brick of the powerplant.The project was the brainchild of a handfulof locals, including former City CouncilPresident Kevin Bennett and Lyman Orton,whose Orton Family Foundation was a significantcontributor to the project.The construction process went smoothly,overcoming the history of the site. SteamboatSprings may have been the first communityin northwest Colorado to boastelectricity, but achieving that feat was notwithout a succession of misadventures. Theoriginal smokestack fell to the ground threeor four times before it was finally erected;locals avoided the intersection of 10thStreet and Lincoln Avenue for fear the"darn thing might come down again," asthe Pilot editor put it.Today, not only do locals congregatethere, but the building's beauty and functionalityhave earned statewide acclaim. }