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Carmel trying to spare home with unique history from demolition

CARMEL, Ind. -- An old home in Carmel with a neat backstory could be gone for good if the city doesn’t find someone willing to move it.  It’s set to be demolished and replaced by a new owner, but the city is doing all it can to save it.

The dwelling is on First Avenue SE, just within earshot of downtown. The city has deemed it a character home, and they have ordinances in place to delay such homes from being demolished.

“We don’t have a lot of the fine, old architecture that you would find in a normal, historic district," Department of Community Services Director Mike Hollibaugh said. “We’ve identified character buildings which are considered the best of the best—the best examples of old fashioned and old architecture.”

Neighbors said the property holds Carmel's first swimming pool in the back yard. The rather small concrete structure is now overgrown and nearly forgotten.

“I guess when it comes to no swimming pools at all, in its day, it's considered to be a wonderful thing to have," said nearby neighbor Dave Ryker. "I would like them to move [the home], that’s kind of a nice house that needs some work.”

“The character homes have been demolished one-by-one for the last decade," Hollibaugh said. That includes possibly 20 to 30 homes. “Character buildings aren’t allowed to be demolished unless they go through a process.”

The city is currently on borrowed time. The 60-day window to move the structure has passed, however, another ordinance says that until plans for the new home are finalized, they can still work to find someone to snag the house.

“This home is free if you would like it, but you have to pay for the move,” Hollibaugh said. "If we have a potential buyer, or taker, of the home we can extend it 30 days."

The Preservation Commission is willing to help pay for the moving costs if someone has land. City officials say the Preservation Society may have a spot near a local school, but that is not finalized.

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