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Cortez Historic Preservation Day set for May 20

Event will honor history of Cortez parks
Courtesy Photo/History Colorado<br><br>An artistic rendering of the Cortez Cultural Center, which has participated in past Historic Preservation Day events.

The Cortez Historic Preservation Board on Wednesday voted to schedule its annual town history celebration for Saturday, May 20.

May is National Historic Preservation Month, as established by the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. Every year, the preservation board schedules day in May to celebrate an aspect of Cortez’s history. This year, the board decided to focus on the history of the town’s parks.

“We’re thinking about landscapes in terms of preservation,” board president Dale Davidson said. “In this town, I think our parks are a really big part of that. It might be something we can generate a little public interest around.”

Past Historic Preservation Days have highlighted the town’s oldest buildings or the history of the local economy. Davidson said he again hopes to hold the event outdoors, but board member Janet Weeth said they should have a backup plan in case the weather is bad. Since they plan to coordinate the event with the Cortez Parks and Recreation Department, she suggested the Recreation Center as a possible indoor location.

“There have been a couple of years when we could not effectively be outside,” Weeth said.

The board didn’t go into details about the activities at the event, but Davidson said Chris Burkett, the former Parks and Recreation director, has tentatively agreed to speak. Past celebrations have included documentary screenings about historical sites in the Southwest and lectures by local historians.

The board recently received a $500 advertising grant from the Colorado Retail Enhancement Association, which Davidson said they’ll use to promote the event.

But Historic Preservation Day isn’t the only project the board hopes to use to draw more public attention to Cortex’s past this year. Whitney Wyngaert, the board intern, recently spent some time working with the Durango Historical Board to get ideas on how the Cortez board could improve public outreach. She suggested the board create podcasts with stories about historical figures in the region. She also plans to start a Facebook page for the board soon, if she gets permission from the city.

Weeth suggested that possible podcasts include a walking tour of some of the town’s older buildings. Board member Terry McCabe asked if they could “practice” before committing, by making a YouTube video. No final decisions were made.

Wednesday’s meeting was the last one the board will hold in the current Cortez City Hall building. In March, they’ll meet the new city hall building at 123 N. Roger Smith Ave.

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