by Pam Zubeck
The Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum has been awarded a State Historical Fund (SHF) grant in the amount of $199,382 for Phase III of the exterior renovation project for the 1903 El Paso County Courthouse. The grant will continue the $1.4 million, five-phase rehabilitation project started in 2010 to address urgently needed exterior repairs. Phase III will focus on restoration of stone and masonry on the east façade of the building. Construction will likely begin in early 2014.
"The 1903 El Paso County Courthouse, which is now home to the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, is both a downtown icon and a community asset," said Matt Mayberry, Museum Director. "Every year, we welcome more than 50,000 people to the Museum and thousands more attend festivals and community events on the Museum grounds. Individuals, corporations and nonprofits use our building as a venue for special events from weddings to corporate team building. The courthouse is the Museum’s largest artifact and keeping it in good repair is part of our civic responsibility. We are grateful for this generous grant."
Earlier this year contractors completed the second phase of the project by repairing stone and masonry on the courthouse’s west elevation and clock tower. This project also received generous support from the SHF. The State Historical Fund was created by the 1990 constitutional amendment allowing limited gaming in Cripple Creek, Central City and Black Hawk. The amendment directs that a portion of the gaming tax revenue be used for historic preservation statewide. Funds are distributed through a competitive process and all projects must demonstrate strong public benefit and community support.
After this, the remaining two phases of the project will focus on the north and south elevations and repairs to windows and doors. Museum staff hopes to conclude those phases by 2016.