Community wants to save Alben Barkley’s funeral visitation home
Members of the Lower Town Homeowners Association want to protect the home of Vice President Alben Barkley’s funeral visitation before it’s beyond repair.
They say the current homeowner is neglecting it, and they want the city to protect it because the home’s history is it too meaningful to Paducah to let it go.
“You don’t need me to tell you that house is crying out for someone to save it,” Patience Renzulli said. She lives near the pre-Civil War home and doesn’t want the history of it lost. She says it’s our responsibility now to preserve it for future generations.
“I don’t know of any other dwellings in Paducah that have had a president, two vice presidential candidates, and an actual vice president lying in state,” Renzulli said.
The home is falling apart, and you can see through the roof in several spots.
“We’ve got fall weather and then winter weather coming, and then the integrity of the structure is at serious peril,” Renzulli said.
As a private citizen, Renzulli can’t do anything but knows the city can. “To protect this house from further decay and certain demolition,” Renzulli said.
The city can take action through its property maintenance code, in that the home code be considered a public nuisance due to its deterioration. The current owner doesn’t live in Paducah, but received a correction notice in April about the state of the house.
“There can be legal charges brought against him that could make him serve jail time,” Mayor Gayle Kaler said.
At Tuesday’s commission meeting, Kaler said she wants to reach out to the homeowner first.
“I’ve always felt that it was better to try to talk to someone face to face first. I would like to try to do that with him,” Kaler said.
Renzulli, along with others living in LowerTown, hope that’s acted on soon to help keep Barkley’s memory alive for future generations.
City spokeswoman Pam Spencer said the city has had the home on its radar for a while. She said that the code enforcement officers are moving through their process with a foreclosure as a possibility.
The owner received a code of enforcement citation in August because of high weeds and grass. Eventually, they were trimmed back at the city’s expense.
The LowerTown Association hopes that, once someone else is legally allowed to take over the home, it will be restored and preserved.