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I.Q. Hurdle House makes slow but steady progress

Wednesday, July 3, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

The old adage that slow and steady wins the race came into play during a discussion about the status of the I.Q. Hurdle House at the June 24 Historic Landmark Commission meeting.

Pam Madere with the Jackson Walker firm, who is representing Eureka Holdings on this property, told the commissioners that the developer had followed last month’s deadline-driven directives and that the I.Q. Hurdle House was on its way to restoration.

In May, the commission voted that in lieu of filing a demolition-by-neglect case against Eureka Holdings for the Hurdle House property at 1416 E. 12th St., which would oblige Eureka Holdings to secure the house up to Austin City Code health and safety standards, they would work with the developer to devise a commission-approved voluntary restoration.

The scope of work includes securing the house, repairing or replacing any rotted wood, painting the house an appropriate color and inspecting the roof to repair any damage. To complete the work appropriately, Eureka Holdings hired preservation architect Donna Carter of Carter Design Associates.

Madere told commissioners that Carter has already begun developing a restoration plan that includes paint colors and has installed a plaque in the yard to inform passersby of the site’s historical importance.

While future plans are underway, commissioners remain concerned about the immediate needs of the house, like painting and securing the windows.

“I think the contractor is having to remove some of the underlying coats of paint and that work is starting this week,” said Madere. After that, pending weather events, she said the work will be continuously ongoing. She claimed the windows had their coverings replaced and are secured.

Neighbor Patrick Howard, however, brought photos to show the commissioners that a day before the commission meeting, boards were missing from the windows.

Madere said, “I personally am out there several times a week,” adding, “We have made sure that the home has been continuously secured.”

Still, the neighbors weren’t convinced. Kealing Neighborhood Association President Megan Ellis asked the commission to “compel the applicant to take a more serious approach to restoring this facility.” She said as it stands, their efforts “feel like a day late and a buck short.”

Howard echoed her sentiments and requested that the commission require a restoration plan for the home in time for its Sept. 23 meeting.

Madere gave the commissioners assurances that they will see a plan before them at the Certificate of Appropriateness Committee meeting in two weeks.

To reassure commissioners who were rankled by the slow pace of the restoration, Historic Preservation Officer Steve Sadowsky told them, “If you get to the point of getting frustrated with the pace, (demolition by neglect) is always an option as well.”

To encourage the continued steps toward stabilization of the I.Q. Hurdle House, the commissioners voted unanimously to put the case back on their July agenda to hear further updates. Commissioners Emily Hibbs and Kelly Little were absent.

Photo courtesy of Google Maps.

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