The Highlands Ranch Metro District wants a detailed assessment of a historic structure before deciding whether it should be renovated or demolished. …
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The Highlands Ranch Metro District wants a detailed assessment
of a historic structure before deciding whether it should be
renovated or demolished.
The Plews House, a farmhouse built in the early 1900s, still
stands just south of C-470 and Santa Fe Drive, but a crumbling
foundation and unstable frame increased construction costs beyond
what the district anticipated when it attempted to refurbish the
structure for public use. It was to be the centerpiece of Fly’n B
Park, which is in its first phase of improvements, but the home’s
future is decidedly up in the air.
The board voted April 21 to request a “historic structure
assessment” grant through the state. If approved, the district
could receive up to $15,000 for an assessment that would determine
whether the Plews House can be saved, at what cost and for what
uses, said Jeff Case, acting director of parks, recreation and open
District officials initially set a budget of $425,000, but a
revised renovation estimate put the price tag at $718,000.
Renovating the Plews House for public and possibly office uses
pushes costs higher because there are more structural safety
The metro district did not get a structural assessment because
it originally intended to perform modest upgrades to the façade and
interior to allow for community events. But when crews got into the
walls, they discovered deficiencies that forced them to halt their
Officials have considered demolishing the home and rebuilding a
structure with a similar architectural style. The cost of a new
structure, including demolition of the Plews House and construction
or a replacement, is roughly $507,000.
However, some wondered about whether the home’s historic
integrity would be maintained if it were converted for office use
or a popular public gathering spot.
Several members of local historic societies attended the April
21 meeting at the district’s headquarters and voiced their support
for keeping the Plews House intact. Gretchen Farrell, a member of
the Douglas County Historic Preservation Board, said she is excited
about the property, and asked that
Susan Nies, a resident who first discovered the Plews House
earlier this month after riding by on a recreation trail, said she
was drawn the home. She noticed fencing around it and began to look
into its history and future and found that it could be torn down.
Nies described it as a “treasure” for the community.
The metro district will incur some costs for stopping the
improvements, including stabilizing the structure and backing out
of a construction contract. Funding for the park and home
improvements came from Erickson, which built the Wind Crest
retirement community near the property.
The Plews House could be reviewed by the Douglas County
Historical Landmark board, but it is not clear when that might
happen. There was concern that it might be razed after being deemed
The board was scheduled to discuss the fate of the Plews House
during a follow-up meeting on April 27, but district general
manager Terry Nolan said there was no reason to further discuss the
issue after the decision to seek an HSA grant.
Those in attendance April 21 applauded the district’s effort to
try and get a third-party analysis of the home. The grant review
process is expected to take about one month.
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