Thanks to Bill West’s article in The Telegram about Brian Bennett saving this house at 319 Marigold Street, we can rejoice about another Repairer of the Breach. Brian, like the lines from the song, is everything we hope for, everything we dream, he is so beautiful to me. In my wandering, I feel like I’ve seen a zillion houses in this condition. The gaps in the porch railings are normal. This bungalow is going to be saved because Mr. Bennett has eyes to see.
I know I don’t write about the cost of revitalization. My enthusiasm for preservation, restoration and repurposing of the amazing commercial and residential inventory of Rocky Mount is just supposed to happen, must happen. After another garden tour, I would come home raving about what I’d seen; the enclosed brick wall, the water feature, the knot gardens. Husband Bob would respond to my enthusiasm by saying, “It only costs money.” I’m sure he would tell me the same thing today after I find another shotgun or a bungalow like this one that could have a new life.
Bill West’s article teaches us that saving our housing is not an easy matter. Burnett’s adventure included an email from Kelly Cook telling him the property on Marigold had a sordid past as far back as 2007. The house needed to be completely demolished. Beyond the ‘sordid’ story, at one point hoarders occupied the house for ten years. The property had about $30,000 in back taxes and assessments. Nonetheless, Mr. Burnett, $40,000 later, has closed on the property and it should be green light-go.
When Mr. Bennett spoke before the City Council last Monday, I sat in the chairs behind him. I loved what I was hearing. A new Repairer of the Breach on the scene to save what has been ignored, by Council leadership in pursuit of their own selfish agenda. Rejoice, I say, and Rejoice again that Brian Burnett will breath life back into the bungalow on Marigold. Let’s hope the story unfolds as people tell him bits and pieces. Sounds like it will be interesting.
Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her: Stephenyhoughtlin.com
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