MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — After months of debate, the Mobile Architectural Review Board voted against relocating historic homes located on Conti Street.
This decision was made after a local mystics organization that owns the homes wanted to remove the houses out of the historic district.
The assembly room in Government Plaza was filled with those for and against removing the two homes that sit on Conti Street. Those who were against the relocating of the homes wore red to show their solidarity.
Katie Herndon was one of many in the audience, and she’s happy with the decision made by the board.
“Mobile is known for our historic districts and houses and old trees,” Herndon said. “And the only way you protect that is by exactly what they did today, and that’s to protect houses from demolition or relocation in historic districts. This sets a precedent that, you know, an organization cannot come in by historic property, and then rid the property of the structure.”
Originally, the homes were going to be moved out of town until that effort was stopped. Then, the homes were set to be moved to Hickory Street for use by the Mobile Area Mardi Gras Association.
Members of MAMGA believe putting the homes on Hickory Street will help revitalize their area.
“These two houses will be so significant to bring new life into that area,” one MAMGA member said. “We want to go back to that community, and we think that the acquisition of these two homes and to move them to that location would be a spur for that community.”
“It’s something that MAMGA has wanted to do for some time,” another MAMGA member said. “We feel that the project is a perfect, perfect opportunity for MAMGA.”
“There’s nothing uniquely specific about these two homes that makes them individually significant,” an attorney representing MAMGA said. “Not trying to hurt anyone’s feelings.”
Even though MAMGA pleaded for the homes to be relocated to their district, members in the audience disagreed with their pleas.
Residents like Jim Flowers said he’s glad the fight to preserve his neighborhood is over, but he also said there’s another way for MAMGA to revitalize their area without touching a piece of Mobile’s history.
“I so support them in their efforts to revitalize the neighborhood at the bottom,” Flowers said. “I just think there are other ways and more creative ways to do it, not at the expense of, you know, one of the historic designated historic neighborhoods of downtown.”
WKRG News 5 attempted to speak with members of MAMGA after the decision, and they declined to comment.