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Victoria leaders offer new hope for historic home scheduled for demolition

By Melissa Crowe
Oct. 15, 2013 at 5:15 a.m.
Updated Oct. 16, 2013 at 5:16 a.m.


COUNCIL ALSO...

• Approved sign variance for an electronic billboard on Red River Street

• Approved allocating $209,000 to Victoria Transit for two new routes and continued bus service

• Approved a resolution to annex 5.1 acres from Ball Airport Road Development LLC.

The pre-Civil War era home sitting on the corner of De Leon and Santa Rosa streets no longer faces a future as a pile of splinters and rusted nails.

The Victoria City Council gave its preliminary support Tuesday to help fund a move and provide a temporary site for the 152-year-old Zahn House until a more permanent solution can come into play.

When the orange demolition sticker first appeared on the house's front door in June, self-described "downtowners," historians and preservationists campaigned to save it from a future in the landfill.

Jeff Wright, Victoria County Heritage Department director, spoke at Tuesday's meeting, asking for a three-year period to permanently move the structure.

The council will meet again to sign an agreement with Victoria Preservation Inc. for a $12,000 matching grant and a time limit for the house to sit on a lot at North Levi and Pecan streets.

Councilman Andrew Young, who serves on the grant committee, said the timeline will keep the project on track.

As for a permanent site, he said, "There are some ideas floating around."

One of the grant stipulations because it comes from hotel occupancy tax dollars is that the Zahn house must promote tourism and as an added requirement - the house must be permanently located in the historic district.

Write said that to move the house, the roof will need to be removed. While it is at the temporary site, the roof will not be reattached. The house will instead be covered with a heavy plastic to protect it from the elements.

Mayor Paul Polasek supported the three-year time frame on the project but added that he does not want it to be delayed.

"If interest is lost, we're going to demo it and get rid of it," he said.

At that point, Victoria Preservation Inc. would be required to return the $12,000 grant.

"I just want to make sure they (Victoria Preservation Inc.) have enough time to be successful while at the same time, protecting our interest," Polasek said. "I think we did that."

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