Commissioners set specs for Ceres plans
Published 12:03 am Saturday, June 19, 2010
Guidelines have been set for anyone who wants to move the Ceres Plantation House before it is declared a state landmark.
Warren County Port Commission officials have asked for firms submitting proposals by a July 16 deadline to have at least five years experience in moving residential structures; a specific plan for how the old farm house can be moved and how long it would take; and three references to vouch for successful past work. A site visit with a commission representative and indemnity for the county, if and when moving begins, is also part of the county’s public request, geared to preserve for future development the 41 county-owned acres surrounding the house.
On July 23, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History Board of Trustees is set to vote on whether to designate the six-bedroom, two-story house a Mississippi Landmark. Such a status would limit future development of the site, under the state’s antiquities law. Oldest parts of the house at Ceres Research and Industrial Interplex date to the 1830s, but had been considered altered enough to avoid the designation since it was included in the county’s purchase of the 1,290-acre tract at Flowers in 1986. Supervisors have resolved to take any legal action necessary to fight the designation.
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Nearly all public comments submitted to the agency spoke in favor of the designation, according to the MDAH Historic Preservation Division, which gathered the mailed letters. One submitted by port commissioners and the Warren County Board of Supervisors was one of few who opposed it. Proposals to demolish the house, along with a pool house and a barn behind it, were taken earlier this year, but were put on hold by a petition drive started by a developer whose idea to convert it to a 19th century cultural showpiece was shunned by the commission.
The last business to operate at Ceres plantation, a plant nursery, closed in 2007. It has since fallen into disrepair, with a leaky roof and broken windows.