Architectural board allows stucco repair

Published 10:44am Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A Vicksburg couple can keep the stucco a contractor applied to the brick bottom at the rear of their building, but they’ll have to paint it the same color as the building’s southwest corner, the Board of Architectural review said Tuesday.

Ernest and Martha Walker, who own the building at 1014 Walnut St., which is in the city’s historic district, told the board the stucco was installed on the recommendation of the contractor, who was doing maintenance to the building. The front of the building faces east and fronts Walnut Street. The rear, or western side of the building, faces Washington Street.

The stucco was done without the board’s approval, which is required for work on buildings in the city’s historic district.

“We had severe deterioration on the lower part of the building. The contractor working on it said the wind and the rain coming off the river was really bad,” Ernest Walker said. He said a similar situation involving the brick on the building’s northwest side caused a section on that side to fall in 2009.

“We want to save the building, so whatever the board recommends, we’ll do,” he said.

“We know we can’t take the mortar and stucco off, because that will just worsen the situation,” board chairman Toni Lanford Ferguson said.

Martha Walker said the contractor was supposed to put mortar in the bricks, “but as he went to put the mortar in, the bricks had deteriorated so badly, he told us he wanted to save them, and to do that, we wanted to put something over them to keep them from falling.

“We were about to lose most of this area in here (pointing to a photo of the building’s rear), … we just rushed to judgment,” she said.

If the Walkers had come to the board when they found the problem, member Sue Seratt said, the board could have helped them find a more effective and less expensive solution.

“We’re not here to hurt anybody, we’re here to help,” she said.

Board member Tom Pharr said people have to be careful applying stucco, adding if it is not applied correctly, the brick could still crumble.

“It’s a lot of things that need to be addressed to make sure what you’re doing is stabilizing and not just appearing to stabilize,” he said.

Pharr said pulling off the stucco would destroy the brick, “so were at a point right now where we’re hoping that what you’ve done is stabilize and keep the brick intact that’s above it.”

He recommended painting the southwest corner of the building and the stucco area a darker color to help the building’s appearance.

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