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Black Hawk acquires Eureka Casino and Winners’ Haven Casino

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Black Hawk church and school buildings designated as historic landmarks

By Lynn Volkens

Black Hawk Mayor David Spellman and City Council members Linda Armbright, Paul Bennett, Diane Cales, Jim Johnson, Greg Moates and Benito Torres met July 10, 2013. They approved the purchase of the closed casino properties, Winners’ Haven and Eureka; amended the Municipal Code to reflect changes in state regulations; and approved Local Landmark designations for the old church and school buildings which identify Black Hawk in nearly every photograph of the City (including a stereo-optic view card from the 1890’s that is labeled as a silver town in Nevada, Mayor Spellman noted).

Lodge Casino Lighting

  The Aldermen approved a Certificate of Appropriateness allowing the Lodge Casino to install 63 metal halide LED light fixtures to the exterior of their building on the west, north and south sides. The fixtures are designed to highlight the building’s architecture. The lighting must be shielded to prevent glare and will be subject to a night time inspection by the City to insure compliance.

Mardi Gras Casino Lighting

The Aldermen also approved a Certificate of Appropriateness for the Mardi Gras Casino to install eleven metal halide LED light fixtures to highlight the architecture of the exterior of the addition to their building, currently under construction. The lighting must be shielded and will be subjected to a night time inspection to insure compliance.

Local Landmark Designations

Council Bill 33 was approved by the Council. It designates the historic Presbyterian Church building at 211 Church Street as a local historic landmark. Since the 1990’s, the building has housed the City Council chambers and office space for the Community Development and Planning Department. Patty Torres, who serves on the City’s Historic Preservation Commission, was applauded for her extensive research into the history of the building. Torres had gone to great lengths to get a detailed history of the church, including contacting the national headquarters of the Presbyterian Church where all of the Black Hawk church records have been kept in a vault since the church ceased operations. Her research found that the building, which sits prominently on the hill above the Black Hawk historic business section, was the first church “structure” constructed in the Pikes Peak region. It dates to 1863. The architecture reflects Gothic Revival style.

The Aldermen also passed Council Bill 34, designating the historic School Building at 221 Church Street as a local historic landmark. Torres had completed exhaustive research on that structure, as well. Construction of the school began in 1869 and was completed in 1870. The structure has housed the Black Hawk Police Department since the 1990’s. The school’s architecture reflects the Greek Revival style.

Mayor Spellman said a large celebration is being planned for next year to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Black Hawk’s first elected government. He described the church and school buildings as the City’s “iconic properties” and said the City would showcase the church, which will have completed the rehabilitation process by then, in that celebration. The City will utilize the building for the Council Chambers and office space. “This property really is a feather in Black Hawk’s cap,” Spellman said.

Fining Criminals

Changes in state law resulted in the Council amending the Municipal Code to allow for new maximum penalty fee amounts related to criminal violations. In passing Council Bill 35, the Aldermen set the range of the fees from $25 to $2,650. The maximum fine amount may be adjusted for inflation annually. For crimes such as theft, bad checks, shoplifting and price switching, the former regulations allowed the Municipal Court to act when the value of the theft, or other offense, was $1,000 or less. The new regulations raise that limit so that an offense with damages valued up to $2,000 can be handled by the Municipal Court.

City Casino Acquisition

  The City is purchasing the buildings at 211 and 260 Gregory Street (the former Eureka Casino and Winners’ Haven Casino) from Mutual of Omaha Bank. The purchase price is $1,400,000. By adopting Resolution 31, the Aldermen ratified the decision to purchase the property, which was made on June 28, 2013. The deal is to close no later than July 31, 2013. The newly acquired properties will be added to the City’s inventory of buildings comprising the Gregory Street Corridor, an area of Black Hawk that is to be developed for commercial enterprises.

Public Comment

  Terry Peterson, member of Black Hawk’s Historic Preservation Commission, asked the Council if Black Hawk would be interested in pursuing a $1,000 grant from Colorado State University’s Global Community Relations program. He suggested the funding could be used to enhance the City’s website to include a listing of the historic landmarks and residential renovations, a history of the properties and tell the story of Black Hawk’s rise from a mining town to its current influential commercial status. Peterson’s connections to CSU-Global and his position as an HPC member meets the grant qualifications and Peterson offered to write the grant application. Although it isn’t required to receive a grant, Peterson recommended that, if Black Hawk was awarded the grant, the City acknowledge the grantor by displaying the CSU-Global logo on the City’s website. The Aldermen were not in favor of adding an outside logo to the City’s website. Noting that Black Hawk’s website will be undergoing major enhancement in the near future, they felt the historic information could be added without need of the grant, but thanked Peterson for his offer.

Executive Session

Following the business meeting, the Council met with their attorney in Executive Session to discuss matters related to the City’s grant program. The Council took no further action.

Heads Up

  Black Hawk City Council meets next on July 24, 2013. Attorney Hoffmann told the Aldermen to be prepared to discuss what the City wants to do regarding recreational marijuana regulations.

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