The clock is ticking for one of Waynesboro's oldest buildings. It's a nearly 200-year-old house owned by the city, but it violates several building codes.
A public meeting Tuesday night is the first step toward saving it.
In 1955, Waynesboro City Council purchased the Arnold House for $6,000 to help make room for an expected road-widening - a project that never happened. Decades later, the city is hoping to preserve the house that it originally planned to demolish.
The 1820 Arnold House on New Hope Road is marked with yellow hazard tape because of its crumbling walls, sagging foundation and rotting porches.
Waynesboro's building inspector recently found that the city violates property maintenance codes.
"As any other property owner, we're prompted then to bring it into compliance. That compliance would be very costly and it's not one within the resources that we have," said Jim Shaw, deputy city manager.
The starting price tag is $30,000, just to fix those violations. So the city has declared the house surplus property.
The Waynesboro Historical Commission and Waynesboro Heritage Foundation have until late June to come up with a plan for restoring the house, and financing such an effort through grants and donations.
"We've already had some financial pledges. People have come out and said ‘we'll give money to help refurbish this,' but of course we're going to need a substantial amount of money," said David Geiger, with the Waynesboro Historical Commission.
Geiger points out that the house was built as Waynesboro's first schoolhouse, and has served as a Masonic Lodge.
It's next to a historic cemetery, and is within sight of the already-preserved Plumb House.
"If we lose another 200-year-old building, then we don't have that many left in the city. That's our issue. Gradually we're losing these properties," Geiger said.
The historical commission is hosting a community meeting at 6:30 Tuesday evening at the Waynesboro Public Library.
The group wants to hear from anyone with ideas, plans or pledges to help restore the Arnold House.
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