After threatening to close the doors on the historic structure Sunday, the Historic Mobile Preservation Society has decided to keep the Oakleigh House open for two weeks while it searches for a solution.
The two week timeframe will allow the society to lobby the city for additional funding, but also give it an opportunity to receive community support, President Herndon Inge said.
“We’re keeping it open for two weeks on our nickel,” he said.
The house and museum’s future is still unknown, however, as the HMPS is hoping the city will increase funding for operations and maintenance to $70,000.
Starting seven years ago the annual city allocation to the house in the form of a performance contract was reduced to $30,000. However, the “bare-bones” cost of operating the home and museum is $70,000 per year, according to statement from the society’s board.
The statement also claims the board’s budget was cut by an additional 10 percent, or $3,000, in the 2019 budget. While Stimpson’s budget proposal did cut many of the city’s performance contracts by 10 percent, the Mobile City Council restored that funding before passing the budget on Tuesday.
If the house does close its doors, board members have indicated the property could be sold.
City spokeswoman Laura Byrne wrote in a statement that discussions between the Oakleigh board and the administration are ongoing and no decision has been made on the house’s future.
“Our goal is to ensure a successful pathway forward for the Oakleigh House and the surrounding neighborhood,” Byrne wrote.
As for selling the property, Byrne acknowledged the city has been dealing with ways to deal with a large amount of maintenance costs on city owned structures.
The board is looking at all alternatives for funding and is keeping its options open, according to the statement.
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