OXFORD, Ga. – A month after breaking ground on its renovation of the Yarbrough House, the Oxford city council has voted Oct. 15 to spend $13,000 to mitigate termite damage on the property. The amount includes $8,500 to tear down the garage adjacent to the historic house.
Council member Jeff Wearing told the council about the damage at its Oct. 1 meeting.
“We have run into a significant problem and I’m not sure what we’re going to have to do. We have considerable termite damage in both buildings,” Wearing said.
At their work session last week, council members heard from Wearing about the extent of the damage.
“We were doing some of the excavation between the two buildings and we determined that there are termites underneath the garage,” he said. “There were termites also at one time under the house. Supposedly, the termites aren’t under the house anymore, but they are active under the garage.”
Wearing said he contacted an exterminator to find out the extent of the damage to the garage who told him “At least 25 percent of that building is infested with termites or has been infested with termites and needs complete restoration, in other words taking the boards out and putting them back in and everything else.”
The city received a $15,000 estimate to repair damage to the garage.
In addition to the money approved to tear down the garage, the council also approved $4,500 to repair termite damage in the main house.
Wearing said the money will go to repair the floor in the main house.
“This is making the foundation solid, shoring up the floor that is there,” he said. “ In some cases, it will be able to be leveled, in some cases, it will not probably be able to be leveled. It will just have to be secured so that it does not sink anymore or anything else.”
Oxford bought the house at 107 W. Clark Street in 2017 for $200,000. It sits directly across the street from city hall.
The city’s preservation committee recommended that it be used as a multipurpose community venue that could include a welcome center with historical displays and a coffee shop, along with meeting rooms that could be used for activities to bring people together in the city.
Council member David Eady said the city is no longer looking at any commercial use for the property.
“An informal market survey, based on conversations, is that there is not a lot of feasibility of anything commercial in that property,” he said. “What we have had is a lot of interest expressed for it to be a place we can celebrate our history, tell our story a little bit and also have a place for gatherings.
“I think the conversation and reality is that it’s best that we focus on the community use of it because we’ve got this downtown district and we’ve got a downtown development authority. There are other people that we can be in conversation with about something at a scale that works economically.