Board Meets to Decide Fate of St. Joseph Street Houses

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COLUMBIA - Two houses on three contiguous lots owned by Boone County Family Resources could be demolished or moved, depending on a decision that could come Wednesday from the BCFR board. Last week, BCFR officials heard from neighbors and the Historic Preservation Commission and board members will discuss the issue further Wednesday night.

Area residents said they were concerned about the lack of a specific plan, and the commission hoped to save the house at 308 St. Joseph St. in particular. One compromise that some neighbors pitched was to destroy the house at 302 St. Joseph, but move the house at 308 to a lot nearby.

Adam Saunders lives two houses down from the lots the BCFR owns and said he hopes the board can bring in an independent facilitator to look at the situation objectively. The meeting Wednesday night will include Debbie Shields, a local historic preservation consultant. BCFR officials said the group is careful not to spend public funds unnecessarily, and therefore is hesitant to hire a facilitator.

BCFR officials said it could take more meetings to make a final decision on the issue. The meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. at 1209 East Walnut and is open to the public.