City mulls grant for historic Potato Growers building

The Potato Grower’s building on West Main Street.

Potato Growers Association building owners hope a potential grant, applied by the City of Montrose, will help with renovation work because otherwise, they’ll be “stuck” in their restoration efforts.

The city considered applying for a $200,000 grant from the History Colorado State Historical Fund for rehabilitation work to the historic Potato Growers Association building, 38 W. Main St. The city won’t pay for the structure but will act as a grant administrator for the project.

The city is working with High Oasis, LLC, the company of the present owners of the building, Greg and David Fishering.

The grant application is due in the first part of April. Applicants will know if they receive funds in August. Before then, the city council will either approve or deny the application at a future council meeting.

“We’re pretty much stuck until we find out (about the grant application),” David Fishering said.

The historic brick structure was built in 1908 after the original wooden structure burned earlier that same year. The building was a warehouse for the Montrose Fruit Growers Association, the Montrose Fruit and Produce Association, and, later for the Montrose Potato Growers Association.

City of Montrose grant coordinator Kendall Cramer said the building “played a vital role” in the community when it was first erected but that, since the 1960s, it has been underused and has become dilapidated.

“The building is one of the most historic structures in Montrose,” he said.

The Fisherings have already put in around $435,000 in repairs, including roof and floor replacements, as well as establishing a support system for the building, Cramer said.

Being able to seek capital backing through historic preservation funds is possible after the city created its own registry of historic properties. The building was designated as a historic property.

A structure can receive historic designation if it’s more than 50 years old. The city’s historic preservation ordinance also allows the city to seek Certified Local Government status or CLG.

The program creates partnerships with local and state governments as well as national preservation organizations. The CLG permits the city to have a say in what structures are deemed historically important.

One such structure selected was the Potato Growers Association building.

David said the plans for the property are up in the air for now, as they want to see the final cost of this current construction phase. He said they will determine that by discerning what business plan will recoup investment costs.

However, Fishering also said each discussion that’s taken place has revolved around turning it into a mixed-use retail space.

Andrew Kiser is the Montrose Daily Press’ sports/business writer. Follow him on Twitter @andrew_kpress.

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