Dillon considers partnership with Historical Society to relocate structures to Town Park | SummitDaily.com

Dillon considers partnership with Historical Society to relocate structures to Town Park

Christy Nelson, local historian and "school-marm" rings the bell at Dillon's historic 1883 one-room school house on Thursday, Aug. 22.
Local historian Christy Nelson rings the bell at Dillon’s historic 1883 one-room schoolhouse Aug. 22.
Liz Copan/ecopan@summitdaily.com

DILLON — A new partnership between the town of Dillon and the Summit Historical Society could be brewing as the two entities consider the possibility of bringing new museum experiences to Dillon’s Town Park.

Representatives from the Summit Historical Society were in attendance at Dillon’s regular Town Council meeting Tuesday night to pitch the idea for new museum integrations into the Town Park, developed in cooperation with Dillon’s Public Works Director Scott O’Brien and other staff.

“Our purpose today is figuring out, how do we engage the town? How do we become more active partners with the town in both walkability and getting people moving over toward the Historical Society,” said Sally Queen, acting executive director of the Historical Society. “What makes things exciting is part of the planning process: Where do you have landscaping and outdoor signage that makes people want to move from one area to another and that makes them want to learn that history?”

Queen noted that the idea popped up recently when the Historical Society was offered the Ray Hill Cabin — built in the 1960s — to add to its collection of historical sites. Queen noted that while the structure isn’t particularly old, it does help to provide a look at the evolution of the area’s cabins when juxtaposed to other sites like the Lulu Myers Cabin built in 1885 and the Honeymoon Cabin built in the 1930s. And while the Historical Society has grant money to move the building, they don’t have any land.

In comes the town of Dillon. O’Brien said the town has been considering concepts for the area — the northernmost part of the Town Park that leads into the museum — since 2013, hoping to create a more passive use for the area that wouldn’t affect nearby homes.

“In terms of our planning since then, we still have our passive use plan for that northern area, but we did meet with Sally and (Bruce Queen), and they presented us with a concept of some kind of historic campus that would connect to the Town Park, and have connections and walkability to the marina and the town center,” O’Brien said.

The idea is that the Historical Society would relocate historical structures to the Town Park, and Dillon would create a landscaped pathway through the area that guests could walk through. The concept presented Tuesday included the relocation of the Honeymoon Cabin and the Ray Hill Cabin into the park, along with the potential of other areas set aside for historic artifacts, gathering spaces, gardens and interpretive plazas. The concept also calls for informative signage to direct visitors through the area.

“The continuity would include similar signs that would provide snippets that lead you to another sign,” Queen said. “It would tie it all together.”

Courtesy town of Dillon

For its part, the Town Council largely responded positively to the idea, and asked town staff and representatives with the Historical Society to continue pursuing the concept.

“I think it would be great,” council member Brad Bailey said. “A lot of people around here celebrate their history with little pocket parks that are well done. And I think we could incorporate something like that here in Town Park. I like having it in our backyard, and we could even make it more progressive and animate it in different ways to make it fun.”

O’Brien noted that the idea hadn’t been included in the Town Park Master Plan, though he said it would be an easy addition. It’s also unclear what the project would cost the town.

“I’m excited to see everyone on board, and I’m excited to see what this could turn into,” Mayor Carolyn Skowyra said. “I think this is so great, and I would love to see this as part of our Town Park.”

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