By Kathy Gilbert
Odessa American
July 8, 1998

The house can be repaired, but if the problem is not corrected soon, construction costs will continue to rise as the damage worsens.

Ector County's oldest house may founder if money for repairs isn't found soon. 'We are threatened not only with the (structural) problem becoming more severe, but with having to block off the entire second floor,"said White-Pool House director Damon Kennedy.

Portions of the second floor of the 111-.year-old home, now a museum, were recently closed because the floor is sinking and pulling away from the walls, Kennedy said in an interview Tuesday. When visitors walk across the second floor, the first-floor ceiling shakes and a shower of plaster flakes trickles down on passers-by; he said.

The house can be repaired, said Kennedy; but if the problem is not corrected soon construction costs will continue to rise as the damage worsens. City and county engineers have observed the damage, but have not performed an in-depth study; said Kennedy. What is known is that the structural damage is typical for a house of this era and type.. "This is not a balloon-frame house," Kennedy. explained. "The bricks are the actual structure of the house.

The floor sinks as the walls expand and contract, and eventually bow. Attempts to raise repair money so far have fallen short. The White-Pool House Friends were "extremely disappointed" when their bid for $200,000 in Community Development.

A Block Grant was rejected by the City Council on June 2, Kennedy said. "We had a lot of communication with the CDBG board and a lot of positive feedback. So we were somewhat surprised when we got shuffled out," Kennedy said.

The Friends requested $60,000 for structural repairs, $80,000 for building rehabilitation projects, $60,000 for barn expansion and $24,000 to pay an employee to supervise construction and maintenance operations.

'We thought the barn would be singled out and scratched off and we'd end up with the $140,000 we really need," said Kennedy The Friends immediately grouped to find alternative sources of funding, said Grace King, a board member. "It's the major thing facing us," she said.

An executive committee met Monday for planning sessions, she said. Grant funds from CDBG, the city, the county and private sources were pooled to create the White-Pool House in the early 1980's. "This is our first request from CDBG since then."

Operating funds for the White-Pool House are relatively low, said Kennedy" But there are things we just can't manage, like $60,000 for structural repairs."

Courtesy: The Odessa American
July 8, 1998
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