Even during trying times, the city of Manassas looks to present itself as perhaps Northern Virginia’s last bastion of Southern gentility and firm conservative values.
So even though it’s a small statement, what Hugh Ickrath plans to do Saturday may draw the attention of long-timers.
Ickrath is planning to stage an old-fashioned protest to try to influence Mayor Harry “Hal” Parrish II’s upcoming vote on 9300 Prescott Avenue, a long-neglected home that stands to be demolished if the mayor gives the go-ahead.
“The fact the mayor is considering that as an option is shocking to us,” Ickrath said. He said he and a small group of neighbors will look to appeal to tea party concerns about spending money on the home -- or anything else they can come up with, as long as it might help to save what they consider as beautiful house.
Ickrath, 47, said his family is the second youngest on the block. Saturday’s protest would be his and his neighbor’s first time taking to the streets (or at least Prescott Avenue).
“We were laughing saying they missed out on the ‘hippiness’ of the ‘60s and this might be their first chance,” Ickrath said. “We’re pretty stable people, we’re not going out there ‘Occupy Manassas’ types.”
Demolishing the house has never been on the table before, so dramatic action is needed, Ickrath says. He wants to influence the mayor’s vote and hopes to also get the attention of Bank of America, the servicer on the property’s HUD-controlled mortgage, to push it to foreclose on the house.
Property owner Dorothy Feaganes says she has fallen on hard times and would love the financial support of neighbors to give her money to fix the place up.
Ickrath has said if push came to shove, he would be happy to partner with his neighbors to buy the house and restore it to its former glory. Feaganes doesn’t want to sell — she says it’s a family home and she hopes to live there again one day.
Ickrath hopes the situation gets resolved in the house’s favor. As he’s said before, he can’t help but think every time he sees the place that “it’s waiting to be beautiful again.”