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County Mulls $88K for Farmhouse Repair Project

by Ethan Rothstein — January 23, 2014 at 11:15 am 678 0

Reeves farmhouse (image courtesy Arlington County)Reeves Farmhouse, the house of Arlington’s last dairy farmer at 400 N. Manchester Street, is in line for the first step of a makeover.

The Arlington County Board is likely to approve $87,950 at its meeting on Saturday for a contractor to come up with a plan for stabilizing the deteriorating house and to removing lead-based paint on the building’s exterior. The sole source contract is on the Board’s consent agenda, meaning it’s scheduled to be approved without discussion.

“This design services contract will provide the construction documents needed for the initial work to restore the Reeves farmhouse: to stabilize the foundation, provide a full depth basement and recommendations for the abatement of lead based paint on the farmhouse exterior and adjacent soil,” the staff report says.

The funds would come out of the county’s $500,000 budget for restoring the property. The restoration, however, would still not allow the farmhouse to be used as a public facility.

“Significant additional resources would be required to adapt the building to meet code requirements if it were used for either general assembly or education purposes,” the staff report said.

Work that would still need to be done includes installing code-ready heating and air conditioning, ensuring the floors can support at least 100 pounds per square foot, providing two means of safe egress from any public area and installing adequate toilet facilities, among other things. A 2012 estimate suggested that the house needs more than $1 million of repairs before it can accommodate visitors safely

A local group has committed to donating 3,000 hours of volunteer time to help restore the property if it means the Reeves Farmhouse can become an educational center, for teaching children about “the science and practice of growing and eating healthy foods and building relationships.”

The staff report states the building still does not have a designated future purpose, but that, whatever it is, it would come out of a public process.

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