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Preservationists still fighting for Shippey house

Efforts to rescue the old Shippey House at the edge of the Sailboat Bend neighborhood in Fort Lauderdale - including move it to a better spot - have inched forward.

Last month the City Commission reviewed the preservationists' work and concluded it should continue, though without any taxpayer money. The 1914 structure is “better than I expected,” said District Four Commissioner Romney Rogers.

Right now, the dirty-white house at 215 SW Second Ave., just behind the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, is a derelict. Paint is blistered, windows are smashed and boarded. The whole battered building, its foundation gone, sits atop huge rusted metal girders.

“The house is a contributing structure to the Sailboat Bend Historic District,” said Alysa Plummer, head of the neighborhood association and co-founder of the Save the Shippey effort. “It's one of the structures that helps identify and create the actual district.”

Plummer and her colleague, city Realtor Jackie Scott, hope to resuscitate the house and move it to city land at the Cooley Landings Marina, about 1,000 feet to the south.
The present story began in 2009, when the city's Unsafe Structures Board decreed the building should be flattened. The Historic Preservation Board ruled against the demolition and the matter went to the City Commission, which concluded last spring that a nonprofit organization was called for. It must raise about $200,000 to relocate and restore the structure.

Plummer and Scott created a website, which includes a brief bio of Judge Frederick Shippey of which the house takes its name. The website also estimates the cost of the move including everything from drywall to electrical wiring and the fee for relocating the home.

“The house can't stay where it is,” Scott said. The owner, a New York debt collection agency, bought it for the land about a year ago, she said, and has been tolerantly waiting for the house to go. The spot at Cooley's Landing was chosen for relocation, she said, “because it's at the western edge of Riverwalk, which begins with the Stranahan House to the east. We want it to end with the Shippey [house].”

Mark Budwig, chairman of the board of Riverwalk Trust, said “funds are being raised to relocate and renovate the Shippey House, which would become the offices of Riverwalk Trust upon completion.”

However other matters need to be resolved, as city commissioners outlined at their Aug. 23 meeting. What zoning laws apply? Are county and state grants available? Will FPL have access to a transmission line that goes over the water at the proposed site?
Nothing is definite but the need for more money.

Two fundraisers have produced “almost $10,000,” Plummer said. “The city will not spend any money. This is a community project and the funds are to be privately raised.” The project has a ways to go, “but that's part of fundraising.”

“You've just got to keep puttin' it out there,” she said.

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About the Reporter

DON CRINKLAWDON CRINKLAW
Don Crinklaw has covered the east side of Fort Lauderdale and Wilton Manors for the East Side Forum since 2007. Before...

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