A Cortez building will be among five historic places honored this year by Colorado Preservation, Inc., for preserving a part of regional history.
Shawn Collins, of KSJD Radio, will receive the nonprofit’s State Honor Award for excellence in preservation on behalf of the Montezuma Bank Building Restoration Project at the annual celebration on May 18 in Denver. The Montezuma Bank building, located on 2 and 8 E. Main St., was built in 1909, and was remodeled in 2009 by KSJD with the help of state grants and several county organizations. Completed in 2015, it is now home to the Sunflower Theatre as well as the radio studio.
Jennifer Orrigo Charles, executive director of Colorado Preservation’s endangered places program, said the Cortez restoration project caught the organization’s eye because it was an example of a historical building being put to new uses while retaining its historical look.
“One thing that stood out about this project was that there was a great new use identified that helps the local community,” she said.
The owners also tried to be environmentally conscious throughout the project, Charles said.
When the station bought the building in 2009, it had been mostly vacant for several years, according to KSJD’s executive director, Jeffrey Pope. The board of directors didn’t quite bargain for the amount of work it would take to repair it, though.
“We went in expecting a remodel,” Pope said, “and then it was like, ‘no, that’s completely rotted through.”
But with advice from Linda Towle, then president of the Cortez Historic Preservation Board, and other local experts, the station was able to secure grant money from the Colorado State Historical Fund. Under the Cornerstone Project, which was helmed by Marianne Mate, they received donations from county businesses and individuals for restoration, which ended up costing about $1.5 million. Colorado Preservation was also heavily involved.
Pope said he believes the building has another 100 years of life in it now. He was impressed, he said, by how much support the station received from the community, especially since the remodel happened while the 2008 recession was still hitting the county hard.
In February, when the station’s board of directors learned about the State Honor Award, Pope said it wasn’t a surprise, but he was excited to see the work being rewarded.
“It’s quite an honor to be recognized way out here, beyond Denver,” he said.
Previous State Honor Award winners include the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center and the Anasazi Heritage Center.
Other award winners this year include the Colorado State Capitol House restoration project, former Bent County Commissioner Bill Long, the Cultural Historical Resource Task Force in Denver and the Hannah Barker House in Boulder County.