Building Restoration Vetoed
The city council voted six to four in favor of preserving the house, but seven votes were needed to overrule the veto. Mayor Landwehr says the city's needs outweigh the building's historical value. Downtown Jefferson City has many fine historical buildings that are used for businesses and offices. The historic but vacant Bassman House on West McCarty will likely be torn down.
"The problem with that house isn't so much the house whether or not its historic or not," says Mayor Landwehr. "It's the location. It's in a very sensitve location for us."
The city bought the house for $200,000 in 1998 with plans to demolish it to make room for a conference center.
In a three page veto message, Mayor Landwehr says, "The problem runs much deeper than whether it would be nice to see an old building rehabilitated at this location. The problem is accountability to taxpayers for funds expended, consistency of purpose and planning and maintaining a perspective that is larger than one house on one lot."
The Bassman House was built 100 years ago in 1907. The builder used bricks from the Price Mansion which was named after the first mayor of Jefferson City." An organization called "Historic City of Jefferson" is working hard to save the building. President-elect Steve Veile believes the conference center could be built while still preserving the house.
"It's clear that the location is the problem here because the mayor doesn't believe they can co-exist," says Veile. "Again, we don't agree with that."
There are no official plans to build the conference center, but the mayor expects the Bassman House will be torn down by the end of the year.