Plano Debates Future of Historic House

There is a debate in Plano over how to preserve one of the city’s oldest homes, and it could involve giving it away for free with certain conditions.

The Collinwood home, a relic of the 1860s, sits in West Plano on Windhaven Parkway.

The city of Plano is considering a plan to give the home away for free to an interested new owner, with the terms that the buyer moves the property off the original land.

Plano has plans to build a new park on the acreage around where the home sits today.

“I think this is what draws everyone’s attention, because it has the 1861 date,” said Plano Parks and Recreation Director Amy Fortenberry, pointing to a plaque above the home’s original fireplace.

“It could be restored, it could be preserved and it could be done without taxpayer dollars,” Fortenberry said.

Fortenberry said the home needs extensive work, including siding, plumbing and electrical upgrades, aside from cosmetic restoration. That work is not in the city’s budget. Plano also has concerns about placing a historic building in a public park, where officials worry it could fall prey to vandals.

“We want to see it be moved and restored and then occupied and loved,” Fortenberry said, adding that the city has been contacted by about 30 possible new owners.

However, Russ Kissick and Candace Fountoulakis, of the Plano Conservancy for Historic Preservation, said their organization does not want to see the structure moved.

“Many times when you move a structure like this, in fact, every time, you change it irreparably,” said Fountoulakis.

“It’s better to keep a historic site a historic site. Once you move it, you lose a lot of the context,” added Kissick.

The conservancy is interested in started a fundraising campaign to restore the home, if the city is interested in keeping the house on its land.

Fountoulakis said she is also concerned that moving the house would disqualify its eligibility for a designation as a national historic place.

Plano City Council will hear a briefing about the project at its upcoming Tuesday meeting and may make a decision about how to proceed.

The home has had five owners, including a branch of one of Plano’s founding families, the Haggards.

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