Renovate, Preserve or Develop
It's a matter of three choices to fix the houses or tear them down. The Jefferson City Council could decide to sell the homes to private owners for renovation, allow a local historic preservation group to fix them up, or let developer Richard Groner tear them down and use the site for a hotel.
From a distance, the Bassman House doesn't look too bad. Up close, many people consider it an eyesore. Although the city council could name a new owner in two weeks, it has until Sept. 20, to make a final decision and end what has been more than a two year debate on the future of the homes.
"We think that's probably the worst thing that could be, that there's an uncertain result. We need to go up or down - renovate it or tear it down," Fifth Ward Councilman Ron Medin said.
Although local preservationists believe the Bassman House and others down West McCarty Street could make fine old homes once restored, others say the houses need to be knocked down for the benefit of Jefferson City.
"If you want true economic development, you basically need to bring money into the community from outside the community," Richard Groner said.
Medin doesn't have feelings either way, as long as the new owner meets two requirements.
"Those are the two principal things: the committment, and the financial wearwithall to back it up," said Medin.
And now the council must decide who's most likely to meet those demands.
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