Ouerbacker Mansion could be preserved -- or demolished
City government and preservation groups are talking again about saving an historic home that needs emergency repair -- or demolition. But a woman who lives next to the Ouerbacker Mansion says a decision on the building's future must be made immediately.
Elaina Hayes loves her old house and doesn't want to see the Ouerbacker home demolished. But as she waits for the city to decide what to do, Hayes' business has been shut down and her family lives in danger.
Even in its advanced state of deterioration, the Ouerbacker Mansion at 16th and Jefferson is still strangely beautiful. But it has been nothing but a problem since Elaina Hayes moved next door eight years ago.
"I've seen vagrant people in there," she says, "people doing drugs. Women of the street, up and down the street, go in with their johns."
Early this month, the Ouerbacker Mansion became more than a nuisance to Elaina Hayes. When inspectors took a close look, they discovered a wall is dangerously close to collapsing and her house is directly in the line of fire.
The danger forced Hayes to close the Apple Dumpling daycare she operates out of her home, and she and her children moved out. But after two weeks in motels and with relatives, they've had to return.