Hendersonville Tries to Save Historic Building Through Condemnation

HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. - In a bid to take it over, Hendersonville's Mayor Jamie Clary filed a resolution to condemn a 200-year-old historic, but deteriorating, building.

The Bradford-Berry House was built in 1795 by Henry Bradford, a soldier from the revolutionary war and one of the original settlers in Middle Tennessee. According to preservationists such as Nancy Parker, the building has a sturdy structure, but is in need of serious repair.

"The house, it's roof of course is one of our major concerns," said Parker, who is a former regent of the French Lick Society of Daughters of the American revolution. "We do have water that comes in. We did have one of our friends that's in the building industry [who] did try to cover the roof. The city has been good to watch, I've been over a few of times and noticed some of the windows where the boarding was taken down."

But according to the mayor, that's the problem. The city has been performing upkeep on the building for years, but the owner hasn't compensated them for the work.

The resolution that was filed calls for the building and a portion of the property be condemned, not for destruction, but to be taken over by the city. However, when the resolution was brought before committee, it received mixed reaction.

"It is owned by the May family. Frank, particularly, throughout Tennessee is recognized as a preservationist," said Hendersonville City Alderman Scott Sprouse. Sprouse said in communications with the family, they were open to working with the city.

"They are committed, that if there is any property maintenance issue that is deficient, if they're not living up to the standard that's required by the city, all the city has to do is present that list to them and they are committed to fixing anything that needs to be fixed," said Sprouse.

Preservationists and the mayor both have said they're open to communications about the property.

'We would like for someone that could come in and have a plan and it would please the May the family and it would save a historical building," said Parker.

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