Belen woman may lose historic building

Posted at: 04/16/2014 10:34 PM
By: Tessa Mentus, KOB Eyewitness News 4

A woman in Belen is in a tough spot. She has just 30 days to come up with a solution to a problem or lose something that means a lot to her and the city.

The city of Belen has issued a citation to Joan Artiaga, owner of the Kuhn Hotel, a historic building in the city.

The building has been standing since the early 1900s and has been in Artiaga's family since the sixties.

Artiaga has been given just two options.  Fix the building, mainly the unsafe roof, or the city will demolish it.  Artiaga isn't the only person who wants to avoid seeing it come down.

"So many things we had years ago, they're being torn down and I understand some of them have to be because they're literally falling down, but this building could still be saved," Ronnie Torres of the Harvey House Museum said. "It's going to take some work but you can save it."

Artiaga says the city is helping her apply for grant money. But if that doesn't come through, she's willing to give it up, to keep it standing.

"Maybe a younger person could take this on, and I'd be willing to sell it, let somebody else pick up the banner and the baton and maybe save this building," Artiaga said.

At one time, Artiaga hoped to turn the hotel into an artist co-op, but her money has gone toward taking care of her husband, who is very ill.

She didn't say how much it would cost to fix the roof, or how much she would want from a buyer to sell the building.