By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – The city awaits an unofficial opinion from the Mississippi attorney general before approving a bid to move the historic Spain House.
Kosciusko House Movers submitted a $161,454 bid to slice the century-old home in two, pick up the pieces and move them several blocks south of its current downtown location to Mill Village.
It was the lone bid.
But Tupelo could shave $16,000 from the price by performing some of the work itself – namely, tree and debris removal – and bring the bid closer to the original estimate.
Before it can ink a deal, however, the city wants assurance from the state’s attorney general that it’s not violating the bid law. Tupelo’s own attorney, John Hill, had questioned last week whether the city could perform work that had appeared in its bid request.
Hill said Monday he thinks the attorney general will give it a thumbs up, adding that a response could come today.
“If we can deduct $16,000 … then we’re under the $150,000 allocated for moving the Spain House from Point A to Point B and moth balling it,” Hill said.
A Mississippi Department of Archives and History grant will pay for the relocation. The $175,000 grant allots $100,000 for the move itself, $50,000 to stabilize and waterproof the structure, and $25,000 for a new foundation.
The city must provide a $35,000 match to the grant, which has yet to be accepted.
Kosciusko House Movers will move, stabilize and weatherproof the house. The city still needs to hire someone to build a new foundation.
Council President Fred Pitts said he doesn’t want to accept the grant until he has quotes from contractors detailing foundation prices. Tupelo Historic Preservation Commission member Doyce Deas, though, said she has an unofficial foundation estimate of $13,200 from City Engineer John Crawley.
Crawley would not do the actual work himself.
The Tupelo Historic Preservation Commission spearheaded the Spain House project. And its nonprofit arm will assume liability of the house after its move.
Other council members, including Nettie Davis of Ward 4 and Willie Jennings of Ward 7, say they will do whatever it takes to see the project to completion.
The city and the commission have until Oct. 1 to move the house before it reverts back to its previous owner, Calvary Baptist Church.