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Sunday, May 27, 2018
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Zephyrhills moves ahead with purchase of Jeffries House

ZEPHYRHILLS — The Zephyrhills City Council has decided to move forward on the purchase of the historic Jeffries House.

The council had agreed on Feb. 10 to make an offer of $111,000 on the home at 38533 5th Ave., which was built about 1910 or 1911 by Zephyrhills founder Captain H.B. Jeffries. Over the years, it has been used as a residence and business offices, but it has recently fallen into disrepair. The offer called for an allowance of 45 days to evaluate the cost of repairs.

The city’s building director, Bill Burgess, said he asked Bobby Hilton of Bobby Hilton Construction Co. of Zephyrhills to do an informal appraisal for renovations.

Hilton returned an appraisal of about $41,000.

Burgess said the appraisal didn’t include the outbuilding, which is not in good condition.

“I’m quite confident in the structure itself,” said Burgess. “It’s in really good shape for the age of the home. I’ve been in the attic, I’ve been underneath it a little bit … . It is substantial. It’s weather-beaten more than anything — just lack of maintenance is the issue.”

Councilwoman Jodi Wilkeson said she was concerned that the appraisal did not indicate the cost of window restoration.

“I can see that costing quite a bit,” she said. Wilkeson said that was the reason she voted against the purchase, though she has spoken in favor of rescuing the historic building in the past.

The council voted 3-2 Monday to approve the purchase with Wilkeson and Councilman Charlie Proctor dissenting.

Zephyrhills Mayor Danny Burgess has championed the purchase during the last nine months.

“We owe it to the city and we owe it to future generations to be able to tell the story of the history of our town ... . In a lot of ways it’s the home that started it all,” he said.

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