Casper architect Jeff Bond is the chairman of the Casper Historic Preservation Commission. Commission members are interested in getting the public’s feedback about local buildings and areas they’d like to see the group focus on in the future. A survey is available online with copies at Casper City Hall and the library through February.
We chatted with Bond about the commission and the survey.
How long have you been with the commission? I’ve been involved for the last 12 years or so. I’m not a “native” native, but I moved here in junior high, graduated from NC, went away to college and then came back and have made my career here thus far.
How did you get involved with the group? I was interested not only personally but professionally in the unique architecture in Casper and the surrounding area and I think it’s important that we can preserve it and celebrate it.
Talk about some of the commission’s successes. Prior to the Downtown Historic District, we’ve seen a number of buildings that have been listed (on the National Register of Historic Places). The old Odd Fellows Building on Wolcott that they call the Wolcott Galleria now was recently listed. Grant Street Grocery was listed a number of years ago. There is a large list of individual properties and buildings that are listed.
And the districts are what some would think of as neighborhoods. Yes, the Downtown Historic District is more recent and the South Wolcott Street Historic District was before my time on the committee. Those are two historic districts that are within Casper. There is a potential for more in the future. Part of what this survey is for is to kind of give us a direction where we feel like we need to focus our effort and also what the community as a whole feels like we can focus our efforts.
Tell us a bit about the survey. There are maybe a dozen or so questions, some are very open ended, asking what people feel like are the most unique or special properties in Casper. Some are a little bit more focused and specific, what people feel like are specific threats to historic properties or how they feel like we could better focus, what kind of tools are available to preserve and protect those properties. It probably takes five to 15 minutes to complete, depending on how much you write for the open-ended questions.
And you are collaborating again on this survey? Yes, with architectural historian Kerry Davis of Boise, Idaho, who conducted the survey that led to Casper’s Downtown Historic District being listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
What happens after February? We gather all the data collected, and working with Kerry Davis, we’ll compile that data and it will become part of our preservation master plan. It will include not only input from the community but recommendations from our group and Kerry on how we can better plan and focus on dealing with those properties. We hope to implement them if there are specific things we can do. The timeline for completing the master plan is mid-2019.
Tell us about the commission. It’s approximately 10 to 12 members, local professionals and interested citizens who volunteer to serve on the committee. Anyone who takes an interest in historic Casper is welcome to come to the meetings the second Monday of every month at City Hall at 8:30 a.m.
And to get a survey? They are available at City Hall and at the library, and there is an online link to it on the City of Casper website (www.casperwy.gov) as well.