LEANDER, Texas (KXAN) — Neighbors and city leaders alike are considering whether a 128-year-old home in Leander is worth renovating or if it’s beyond repair.
The Davis House has stood on Brushy Street in the city’s Old Town neighborhood since 1891. It’s been vacant since July 2018 when the city’s planning department moved its offices to the new City Hall building across the street.
Bessie Lunsford, a longtime resident, told KXAN that she’d like to see the home brought back to its former glory.
“This house is almost as old as Leander itself,” said Lunsford said. “And there are not many structures — none that come immediately to mind in the area — that represent that period of history for Leander.”
Leander Mayor Troy Hill, however, said the city spent $50,000 on a study to figure out what it would cost to fix up the delapidating house and the results were discouraging.
“The study so far said that [the house] has asbestos in it,” Hill said. “It’s got lead in the paint. The second story is unstable. You can’t go in the second story.”
Hill said he does not want to see the Davis House demolished. He envisions it becoming like other older homes nearby that have now been repurposed and renovated, like the one that now houses the Casa Costa Bake Shop on Bagdad Street.
“The hope is that we could revitalize this whole area. The Davis House would be part of that,” Hill said. “Hopefully we can find a way we can use taxpayer money effectively and get it to where at least partially for some uses we could use it as a town.”
The mayor told KXAN that the Leander Chamber of Commerce recently looked into what renovations might cost for the Davis House. One estimate came back at about $875,000, which is much more than the city would like to spend right now.
While she admits renovations would be a big undertaking, Lunsford said the home has plenty of potential.
“It’s not something we expect for taxpayer dollars to pay for,” said Lunsford said. “But what we would like to secure from the Mayor and the City Council is the opportunity to have enough time to explore those avenues and see what can be done as far as keep this home, keeping this historical part of Leander.”
The Leander City Council will discuss the options that exist for the Davis House during its meeting Thursday at 6 p.m.