Paving the way for demolition of the Norwood House

In a rare meeting initiated by PARD staff last Thursday, four members of the Norwood Posse were briefed on details to be presented to a meeting of the Historic Landmark Commission this coming Monday.
Anna Mod, a historic preservation expert and part of the team assembled by CasaBella Architects to complete the Norwood Feasibility Study, has completed her assessment of the house.
She will be recommending that, due to integrity loss, City of Austin historic designation should be removed. “The integrity of the house is so severely compromised that a restoration at this time would be fiscally irresponsible. Additionally, focusing a large amount of public money on the restoration of the Norwood House would take needed funds away from viable city-owned historic properties.”
Nowhere does she mention the fiscally responsible, not-for-profit, restoration proposal promoted, for three years, by the Norwood Posse. Nor does she mention the fact that the $105,000 (fiscally responsible?) spent on this “study” is 1/3 of the Posse estimate for house restoration.
The historic landmark designation, approved by City Council on 3-26-10 (despite it’s “severely compromised” condition), prevents demolition. It’s removal clearly permits demolition, and allows the consultants to present their own vision, rather than preserving a part of Austin’s cultural legacy. Out with the old, in with the new????
It appears that we might now be seeing a plan for “demolition by intent”. You might not have seen this news piece from last year concerning “demolition by neglect”. The timing of this was shortly after the Posse funded, and PARD approved, completion of Phase 1 of our restoration plan focused on protecting the roof of the house.

Wolf Sittler

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