Should it stay or should it go? The future of a West Plains landmark is uncertain

WEST PLAINS, Mo. -- A century-old home in West Plains could have it's fate decided by city council.

Should it stay or should it go? That's the biggest question surrounding the Parkside-Butler home. The group, Friends of Parkside, have big dreams for the mansion, while the city has big concerns.

The home and three acres were donated to the city in 1977 to be used for the benefit of children.

After serving as the parks and recreation office for years, the home has now sat vacant for nearly four years.

The Parkside group wishes to restore the home and make it into a small-scale children's discovery center with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math, along with art.

Estimates to repair the home range from $600,000 to $800,000.

So far the group has pledged donations totaling $200,000.

City Administrator Tom Stehn says the city supports the idea of a science center but has concerns about the project.

"Basically right now, council doesn't believe this project is doable at this location because of a lack of funds. But there is another concern and that is liability. If something were to happen here, essentially we are liable."

Gail Rowley hopes the home becomes a usable space for children.

"I say let's fix it up. Let's open it up to the public. Let's give it to kids and education like it was intended. The Butler family...that's what they wanted. Let's make it the best we can."

The city council meeting will be held at city hall Monday at 5:30 pm. It is open to the public.

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