GOSHEN — The fate of a potentially historic South Third Street house could be decided within the next couple of months.

During their meeting Tuesday afternoon, Goshen Redevelopment Commission members heard an update from Goshen Community Development Director Mark Brinson related to the pending fate of the house, located at 401 S. Third St. and 204 W. Madison St., that is owned and being considered for demolition by the redevelopment commission. The property consists of two houses that have been connected.

Originally brought as an item for consideration during the RDC’s May 14 meeting, the call for demolition essentially involves a desire by some on the commission to demolish the property, rather than make any substantial investments in the aging building, which in recent years has served as a rental property. The commission’s long-term goal is to clear and redevelop the half-block in which the home is located.

However, commission members ultimately ended up voting to table the request until their June 11 meeting after several community members raised concerns that the home, built in the 1860s, may have historical significance for the city, and thus warrant preservation.

During their June 11 meeting, commission members again discussed the issue, eventually agreeing to table the item for an additional 90 days to allow time for more research on the history of the building and to accept any proposals from people who may want to save the house.

Speaking to the commission Tuesday, Brinson said his department is in the process of preparing an official request for proposals for the property, the language of which should be ready for review by the commission’s members at their upcoming Aug. 13 meeting.

“We did commit to preparing a request for proposals and appraisals have been ordered, not just for this property, but for the adjoining, vacant properties to the south,” Brinson said of the area in question. “We have not received those appraisals yet. We didn’t think we would have them before this meeting, so I would expect the RFP to be ready for you at the next meeting.”

According to city attorney Larry Barkes, the last of the rental property’s tenants have now been vacated, and an appraisal of the property is anticipated as early as next week.

“To my understanding, there is some cleanup of the property that is going to be necessary. We want to do that, to some extent, before we let the appraisers in there,” Barkes said of the property. “The thought is that, sometime next week, we should be ready for the appraisers to do the appraisals. And we’re in the process of putting together the nuts and bolts of the request for proposals, but obviously we can’t put it out until the appraisals come in.”

Brinson noted that members of the Goshen Historical Society, which has taken the lead on researching the potential historic nature of the property, have also expressed an interest in touring the home, adding urgency to the need to get the property cleaned up and ready for inspection.

“We have been contacted by the Goshen Historical Society, and they plan on going through and taking a tour of the property, but we have some cleanup we want to do before we start with the tours,” Brinson told the commission. “So we’re going to remove some carpeting, and there are just some other things that we need to take care of before that happens.”

As Tuesday’s update was just a discussion item, no official action related to the Third Street property was taken by the commission during the meeting.

John Kline can be reached at john.kline@goshennews.com or 574-533-2151, ext. 315. Follow John on Twitter @jkline_TGN

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