Historic designation could leave couple with Highlands home they - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Historic designation could leave couple with Highlands home they can't afford

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It was love at first sight for Genny Clifford and her husband, Sean.

At 3,200 square feet, their four-bedroom, 3 1/2-bathroom home in the Upper Highlands was the perfect place to raise their family.

"You just can picture having kids in the front yard, playing and family and friends over," Genny Clifford said.

But their dream home quickly turned into a never-ending nightmare.

When the couple bought the house last September, the inspector warned it needed a lot of work. What they didn't know is how much.

"It's gotten way over there, closer to $600,000," Genny Clifford said.

It turned into a project they simply couldn't afford. So they tried to sell it.

When that didn't work, they decided to tear it down and start all over for the half the price. But there was something else the couple didn't know. 

The home may be historic.

"We started to get word through social media ... that people were trying to stage a petition to stop us," Genny Clifford said.

And they did.

"We understood that eventually it would be developed," said Ted Stone, who started the petition. "We just thought the house would remain."

Stone lives across the street. He collected 800 signatures to not only stop the demolition, but convince the Landmark Commission to declare the home historic, claiming Kentucky's first Episcopal bishop once lived there in 1836.

 "There's no doubt," he said. "It's clear as a bell the bishop was over there. It's in the deeds." 

But the Cliffords dispute those claims, and they've asked Metro Council to overturn the decision.

"It's not only put a financial strain on our family, but it has been emotionally painful," Genny Clifford said. "Thousands of dollars as it sits, every month paying a mortgage on a falling down run down structure." 

"I feel for them," Stone said. "But I think there are options they have not explored."

Metro Council is expected to hear from both sides at its meeting Tuesday.

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