It’s time to confess what everybody already is aware of, even when they don’t need to settle for it.
The Rives Mansion may very properly be past “saving.”
As a lifelong resident of Downey, I do know and perceive the importance that the mansion serves to our group, each traditionally and symbolically; far more than only a “gem,” it’s a part of the very soul of town.
However let me put this right into a little bit of perspective for you.
An article written by former Downey Patriot Employees Author Christian Brown describes the mansion as “in want of some restore… with cracks, chinks and chasms seen on the outside.”
That article was written practically 10 years in the past, and issues haven’t gotten any higher.
Let’s begin with the apparent: the mansion is an absolute eyesore at this level, and daily passed by with out some form of intervention must be thought-about one other day for the property to decay.
There was a fleeting wisp of hope final yr, when present homeowners Arturo Concha and Erika De La Teja proposed restoring and changing the mansion into workplace areas.
There was just one drawback: the restoration got here with a catch 22 within the type of a retail café to be inbuilt entrance of the mansion, which the pissed off homeowners insisted was obligatory with a view to make again their funding.
It wasn’t essentially simple, however 100 circumstances later, Concha and De La Teja have been capable of woo each the Planning Fee and the Metropolis Council into approving the plans; by means of some gritted enamel, in fact, however authorised, nonetheless.
It was Councilwoman – now Mayor Professional Tem – Claudia Frometa who summed it up greatest: it was both approve what they’d in entrance of them then, as discouraging because it was, or wait and watch the mansion fall into much more disrepair earlier than inevitably being destroyed.
And now, wouldn’t you already know it, the mansion is up on the market, once more.
What appears to be the favored opinion amongst many residents is that town should purchase the property and “give it to the individuals” as a museum / occasion corridor.
As nice as I believe that will be, it’s an answer simpler – and honestly, far more expensively – mentioned than completed.
The present asking value for the mansion is $2.9 million, which – let’s be trustworthy – can be a helluva feat all by itself.
And in accordance with Frometa throughout a latest dialog I had along with her, it’s a purchase order that town is just not ready to make.
“We love that place; we completely do. It brings a whole lot of emotion on all of us. Definitely, we’d prefer to see it restored and dropped at life, and for it to proceed to be this gentle and this gem in our metropolis,” mentioned Frometa. “Sadly, once more with my place now within the council as an elected official, I can see firsthand that the price to buy that property, and to revive and protect it, to accommodate it and preserve it, actually goes past what is affordable for a metropolis. We’re taking a look at $Four-5 million.”
“If we check out intently what is required to convey [the mansion] as much as code, going, abiding by the preservationists’ guidelines, it’s actually value prohibitive.”
Frometa went on so as to add that it wouldn’t make sense – nor be accountable – to spend so many taxpayer on the mansion, when different metropolis points (comparable to infrastructure) exist and want attending to.
And earlier than you ask, procuring different, separate funding actually isn’t life like both.
“I do know that some residents say, ‘Certainly, there’s funds. Certainly there’s historic, state, and federal funds,’” mentioned Frometa. “True. Nevertheless, a few of these funds go from $500, to $5,000, possibly $10-20,000, some that may very well be as strong as a pair hundred thousand; these wouldn’t make a dent.”
And even when town have been capable of pool some form of miracle cash collectively to make the acquisition, shopping for the property nonetheless wouldn’t be sufficient. The mansion would nonetheless should be restored and repaired. God solely is aware of what number of extra taxpayer that will require.
Plain and easy, whoever buys the mansion can be taking of venture on a hefty funding.
The Downey Historic Society is commonly thrown round in dialogue as a possible match for the mansion.
It is smart; there have been comparisons made between the Rives Mansion and the Casa de Parley Johnson Home that stands on Florence Avenue, which is utilized by the Help League of Downey.
Besides, it’s not a good comparability; the Gypsy Johnson Home was gifted to the Help League, not bought by it.
If there’s somebody on the market with a sufficiently big checking account to buy, restore, after which simply donate the Rives Mansion out of the goodness of their hearts, then I’m curious what else you possibly can be doing for town as properly.
Once more, it comes all the way down to cash, and if you already know something in regards to the Historic Society, then you already know they’re even much less capable of purchase the property than town is.
Saying that isn’t a jab, by the way in which, on the historic society; they do a whole lot of fantastic work in the direction of the preservation of our metropolis’s historical past.
Sadly, it’s merely a actuality that even the Historic Society has come to simply accept.
“That might be grand,” mentioned President Bob Thompson. “It’s only a truth of cash, and how much preparations for taxes, water payments, and stuff like that.”
There have been some ideas scattered amongst our readers that if the will was robust sufficient with residents, the Metropolis may method the mansion prefer it did Measure S; invoke a tax with the only real goal of elevating cash to purchase the historic website. A “Measure RM,” if you’ll excuse the shortage of creativity.
It’s not a foul thought, however it’s not an incredible one both.
“The council can vote to convey it on the poll, and finally it could be as much as the residents of Downey to vote on it and determine whether or not that’s one thing they need to do,” mentioned Frometa. “Additionally, protecting in thoughts that placing one thing like that on the poll additionally prices town cash, and so we must have a look at some form of a examine or actually have a look at, ‘is that this one thing that collectively not less than 55% of the inhabitants [would pass].’”
That takes time; in the meantime, the mansion is at the moment in the marketplace, and in case you imagine the hooked up realtor, the mansion may have a brand new proprietor wherever from 4 to 6 months from now.
Who is aware of what occurs after then?
Wouldn’t it be unattainable to “save” the Rives Mansion and return it to its former glory? No. Is it inconceivable? I’d say that’s a safer assumption.
I – like a lot of you, I’m certain – want to see the mansion in our metropolis for years and generations to come back, but I’m pragmatic sufficient to know that if it continues on the trail that it has been, then we’d be fortunate to see it final 10 years, if that.
We’re formally on the clock; daily, hour, minute, and second that goes by brings us that a lot nearer to the mansion’s doomsday.
Do I need to see the mansion saved? Completely! However the window of alternative is closing, and it’s doing so quickly.
In case you requested me now, I’d say the way forward for the Rives Mansion appears to be like bleak.
I’ll proceed to hope for one of the best, although I can’t assist however anticipate the worst.