The Washington Post

Prescott house in Manassas gets new deadline; city ready to demolish

The dollars have been allocated, the law is on their side, and the house at 9300 Prescott Ave. in Manassas is in terrible condition.

That’s more than city officials need to demolish the dilapidated, more than 100-year-old Queen Anne-Style house on Prescott Avenue under blight abatement laws. But its potential charm has seduced city leaders since the mid-1990s, and all would like to see a different outcome for a house that many agree should be an inviting welcome to the city’s historic district.

The city has now set its newest final deadline: If the owners of the home, the Feaganes family, do not fix the place up, it will be demolished June 1, City Manager John Budesky wrote in a letter to the Feaganes family on April 8.

At one point, it seemed the house could avoid imminent destruction when a mysterious benefactor offered to help owner Dorothy Feaganes fix the place up. However, when the 84-year-old Feaganes died in December, the benefactor pulled the plug on the project, because his lawyer had said the goal of the project was to restore the home so Feaganes could live there.

The Feaganes family could not be reached for comment.

Since 1996, the house has been woefully neglected. Even as neighbors have sought to fight its demise, city leaders have waffled on the issue, filing lawsuits and liens and writing decades worth of letters demanding action.

The finality of a deadline has changed myriad times over the years. And, says Mayor Harry “Hal” Parrish II, who has also changed his mind before on the issue, it’s not an outcome anybody wants.

“I’d love to see this put in the hands of someone who wants to live in the home, repair it and put it back to what it could be,” Parrish said. “My hope has always been we allow the marketplace, the private sector to take appropriate action. But we’ve put it off so long ... ultimately we felt like there should be some action taken.”

Budesky said in an April 8 letter that the city would erect a fence around the property to ensure no one enters. There have been numerous reports of vandalism at the property, the letter said, and there have been 12 police reports involving the address between May 2011 and February 2012.

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