Archive for Thursday, June 26, 2008

Council will further discuss Durr House

June 26, 2008

Eudora City Council members decided to set aside time at a budget meeting Monday to discuss the city's role in the purchase of the Durr House.

Earlier this month, the council discussed the possibility of purchasing the 109-year-old home and transforming the homestead of three generations of the Durr family into a historical museum and headquarters of the Eudora Chamber of Commerce.

The property, located at 2241 N. 1400 Road, was sold by the Durrs in January and will be the location of the new $27 million elementary school.

The school district plans to advertise the home and auction it off. The buyer of the home then would have to move it off of the property.

Robert and Virginia Durr have until Oct. 1 to vacate the premises. However, they hope to be out of the home sooner than that, as they plan to move across the street to a prefabricated home that already has been delivered.

For all intents and purposes, the board would donate the house to the city. However, in order to make contract legally binding, the city would have to pay what Eudora Interim Superintendent Don Grosdidier said would amount to about $1.

School board has requested the city notify them of its intentions July 1.

Eudora City Administrator Cheryl Beatty said the house would need to be moved to a location on or near 10th Street because moving it elsewhere would involve removing power lines. She began looking for open property Friday but has not heard back from any of the house movers she had tried to contact.

"We're still looking at our options," Beatty said. "Whatever we do, it can't be moved very far."

Furthermore, neither the Eudora Historical Society nor the Eudora Chamber of Commerce said they would be able to afford to maintain the house once it was moved.

"I'd love to be able to save the home, but the logistics of it and the fact that it's a two-story home make it very difficult," Beatty said. "We're pursuing it and still see it as an option, but right now it seems like a bit of a long shot."

Longtime Eudora resident Tracy Trefz is one of many who would love to see the house preserved. After Trefz's and her family discussed saving the home, her sister, Nancy Mannucci, approached Tom Pyle with their idea.

"Since I was a little girl, that house has always been here," Trefz said. "Years ago, when we didn't have K-10 Highway, it was the first thing you saw when you drove into town from the east."

Trefz said the home should be saved because it is one of only a few still existent links that can bridge the gap to Eudora's past

"My grandfather passed away when he was 97-years-old and he said to me 'Tracy, I've gone from a horse and buggy to rockets on the moon in my lifetime,'" she said. "As we gradually move forward with technology and everything, we lose a lot of the heartfelt history that we have."

Grosdidier said the school district hopes to have a buyer for the house by Aug. 15 so that construction can move forward. If the city does not buy the house, the school district will move forward with its plans to auction off the home.

If no buyer is found, the house will be demolished.

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