The building is the Caretaker’s Cottage, which was reportedly built in 1870.
The Paris Board of Aldermen last week learned that there may be some hope to save a historic building on the grounds of the city-owned Maple Grove Cemetery. The building is the Caretaker’s Cottage, which was reportedly built in 1870.
Over the years, it has served as a storage building and once contained an irrigation well for the cemetery.
City Superintendent Lisa Hollingsworth told the board at its August meeting that the city’s insurance company wants Paris to repair the cottage or tear it down because it is a danger. The board asked Hollingsworth to look for options. At the time, she reported that two local contractors looked at the building but declined to bid because of the poor condition of the cottage.
However, Hollingsworth told the board at its October meeting that “a gentleman from Shelby County” has called her to discuss the possibility of making repairs and making the cottage safer. She said the man was experienced with historic restoration projects, but that he did not yet want his name to be used.
“There are some things that our city employee may be able to do with a little bit of guidance,” Hollingsworth said this week. “There are some electrical issues that we can do with our guys, but there is a lot to be done. I am hopeful.”
However, while the city’s insurance company has agreed to the current review, there is still may be too much work for the city to afford.
“We really have to worry about costs, and as long as we can use our staff, we can afford to do something, but there is just so much we do not know,” Hollingsworth said.
The cottage has significant structural issues as outside walls are visibly bulging and siding is chipping away, and on the inside, several brick walls have large cracks, while the ceilings are in disrepair, and the roof appears to sag in places.
Members of the Monroe County Historical Society have impassioned pleas for the board to repair the cottage and apply to have it listed on the National Register of Historical Society. The society has floated the idea of raising money to help pay for repairs to the cottage.
However, in last week’s meeting, the board again emphasized said that city budgets are tight and that there are more urgent needs for spending taxpayer dollars.
“We understand the historical value of the building… but it has to be affordable,” Hollingsworth said.
In other action during its October meeting, the board agreed to move forward with an application with the National Arbor Day Foundation to become a Tree City USA. The action came following a presentation from Aaron Vitt, who is superintendent of Paris Schools and 2017-2018 president of the Paris Rotary Club. Vitt outlined how Rotary would like to partner with the city to plant and maintain tree around Paris.