The guiding principles for the Civic Area Master Plan call for preserving central Boulder's historic character while creating a vision for the future of the area between Ninth and 17th Streets along Boulder Creek.
But several of the plans for the area submitted to the city as part of an ideas competition omit one historical structure, the band shell in Central Park. Some of the plans move it to a new site within the proposed civic area boundaries, while others don't show it at all.
City planners are in the process of taking ideas from those concept plans and turning them into three or four alternatives to present to the community and the City Council.
The omission of the band shell has caught the eye of members of the city's Landmarks Board, some of whom want to see it stay where it is, between 13th and 14th streets on Canyon Boulevard, and all of whom don't want to see it disappear.
"Moving the building has implications," said Landmarks Board member Mark Gerwing, who said the site was carefully chosen and is part of the historic aspect. "Once you move a building, it's no longer eligible for the national registry, and that speaks to funding for renovations."
Gerwing noted that the community has organized repeatedly to save the band shell, including the push that resulted in its landmark status in 1995.
"The community has spoken, though it was a long time ago," he said.
The Glen Huntington Band Shell, named for the well known Boulder architect who designed it, was built in 1938 and dedicated to the city by the Lions Club. Denver-based city planner and landscape architect Saco DeBoer worked on the placement of the band shell and the amphitheater seating.
The band shell is a rare example of Art Deco architecture in the city and one of only a few park band shells in the state.
The band shell received landmark status from the city in 1995, partly in response to discussion about moving the band shell to make way for the historic (and peripatetic) train depot that now sits near 30th and Pearl streets.
To change anything about a landmarked structure requires getting a landmark alteration certificate and is subject to review by the Landmarks Board.
Boulder Comprehensive Plan Manager Lesli Ellis, who is co-managing the Civic Area Master Plan process, said city officials are aware of the significance of the band shell for many people in the community. The participants in the ideas competition were encouraged to think outside the box, and the final plan won't look like any one of the submissions.
"What's probably not on the table is any proposal to demolish the band shell," Ellis said. "There isn't a lot of support for that in the community. But we do see some support for moving the band shell to another location where it would be more conducive to performances and have better access."
The site near Canyon Boulevard has a lot of traffic noise that competes with the music when concerts are held there.
Ellis said at least one of the alternatives put together by staff will show a new location for the band shell, but other ideas include improving the landscaping and adding other amenities to Central Park.
City Councilman Tim Plass, a former Landmarks Board member, said he would support moving the band shell and would like to keep it in central Boulder. He believes demolishing it would violate the spirit of historic preservation behind the landmarks ordinance and set a bad example for the private sector.
"I'm not sure it can still serve its purpose where it is on the corner of Broadway and Canyon," Plass said. "I don't want to see it demolished. I don't want to see it go away. I think it might be moved so that it can better serve its purpose. It's also a prime corner for maybe doing something else."
Boulder Mayor Matt Appelbaum said he's never cared for the band shell, and the way it backs up to Canyon detracts from the pedestrian experience of the street, which the city would like to turn into a tree-lined boulevard.
"We have a lot of opportunity to really re-imagine the space, and to do that, I think you have to be willing to talk about moving the band shell," he said.
Contact Camera Staff Writer Erica Meltzer at 303-473-1355 or firstname.lastname@example.org.