My final opportunity to spend a little time with Historic Boulder’s family. Thank you for your support and continuing interest in HB’s mission. Without you, we would not be here…and Boulder would be a far different place.
Two years ago, when I first came onto the board, I challenged the members of the board to look at WHY? Why were they were part of HB and why HB, at all? The “WHY” is very important. Since then, I have come to realize that a good WHY leads to ARE WE RELEVANT? Can Historic Boulder, begun with an idea and an ideal, keep evolving as an ever-moving target: a continuing source of change, challenge and development in the 21st century? Historic Boulder cannot become complacent. Yes, we have been here, at an annual meeting, for 45 years now. But today is not the world of 1972. We have new threats, new problems and new, immerging theories on how these are to be handled. Today’s changing philosophies make 45 year old decisions look different in the eyes of the current generations. It would be a mistake on our part to assume complacency; complacency is a danger to preservation.
“People and businesses are drawn to great places.” “Jobs follow people.”
Relevance and authenticity are two words I have heard consistently over the past year. The people who will come here to fill those overwhelming new buildings along 28th Street work for companies with a different way of thinking: they are a culture, new, tech savvy and creative. Note patios, atriums, human-friendly, pet-friendly, child-friendly, baby-friendly spaces are included throughout the new work places. But these innovative companies are coming here because they, also, understand a need for roots in cities like Boulder.
We have a “history” and a culture that is “real.” Unfortunately, most of the people working in these buildings may not be able to reside in Boulder. Only a select few will be able to afford to live in one of Boulder’s more desirable neighborhoods. We have a few: consider how those neighborhoods of the 1950s and 1960s, Boulder’s “affordable housing,” will be changed…are changing. Do we have a part to play there? Finally, consider our public spaces as they become more important. Perhaps, this is where Historic Boulder and its mission may be best realized in the near future?
Think about the “new” Civic Center development the city has undertaken. While it has all the bells and whistles of the finest and cleverest designers the city could hire, will it contain what the residents want…will it be life-friendly, refreshing, fun, relevant, authentic? Will it be an amenity? Will it evolve? Does relevancy and authenticity…”realness” take time or is it magic? What happens to turn a space like that, all new and shiny and concreted and arranged into someplace where people want to be? Why? Only time will tell. On the other hand, the 1968 Atrium Building has attracted attention because it is here, already in place, can be made exciting and is already [mostly] relevant, adjacent to Boulder’s wildly popular Farmers’ Market. It’s potential to serve for another 50 years is boundless. Economic reality makes serious consideration a prerogative. So, too, for the neighboring Glen Huntington Bandshell. Both may need some refurbishing…but not too much, please. Leave a space from the past to be filled by the future. Then, fill it with activities and events and laughter…relevancy…value…history.
Historic Boulder must evolve, too. No resting on our laurels. We need to emerge from the thinking of the 20th Century and embrace an actively changing world with different perspectives. HB should be an active part of the coming world. I challenge this new board to look forward.
This past year, the board took steps, outlined in our Strategic Plan, to become a little leaner and meaner. You will see a smaller board, more agile. Some of our incoming board members have never served on HB’s board before. They will certainly give a new perspective. The board is term limited to two terms with a mandatory one year break…a chance to get out of the board room and into the neighborhoods to catch up. HB’s board members work hard; our advocacy is continual and pressing. As a board, we looked back over 15 years of tours and events to see if these activities are still giving the organization the financial support required, the public involvement/interest/attendance necessary, while understanding the enormous amount of people-time and energy it takes to create each one. Are we relevant? Where else should we be working to stay abreast of the new challenges preservation must face? I hope the new board continues to ask themselves important questions, and to make innovative decisions.
Historic Boulder launched a new web site this past year. If you haven’t looked, do so. Perhaps not entirely complete, we can grow it and make it more relevant and exciting.
We have made great strides in improving our data base and understanding our membership and donor base. You WILL be hearing from us on a more regular schedule!
And, as the icing to a busy year, Historic Boulder has been honored with a State Honor award at the Dana Crawford and State Honor Awards Ceremony and Dinner. Presentation will be on Thursday, May 18th at the Seawell Grand Ballroom, Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Please consider attending. And, if you can, consider assisting in sponsoring an HB table. So many people, over the years, have been responsible for this great honor and achievement; we would like to see them – and you – attend.
Again, thank you.
Gail K. Gray
President, Board of Directors, February 2015 – February 2017