Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff Parsons house.

J.J. Gaetz house gets a new roof, while jury’s still out on fate of Parsons house

Questions surround two historic homes

The future of one Red Deer’s oldest homes is looking brighter, as the fate of another remains hanging.

The J.J. Gaetz house, near the Red Deer Cemetery, is looking less neglected these days, since the provincial government fixed its leaky roof. The Parsons house site, in downtown Red Deer, however, still could be replaced by a new courthouse complex, or incorporated into it.

The J.J. Gaetz residence sits boarded up on Michener Centre grounds. But the provincially owned home is looking less dejected since Alberta Infrastructure replaced its sagging roof in December. The government is also conducting a hazardous materials assessment, with the final report expected this spring.

Other ongoing site maintenance has included lighting repairs, the removal of wind-damaged trees as well as hedge trimming along 55 Street.

Michael Dawe, a city councillor and local historian, is pleased to see this upkeep of one of the oldest farm houses in the Red Deer area, built by the nephew of Red Deer founder Rev. Leonard Gaetz.

Since the deteriorating condition of the J.J. Gaetz house caused much concern last spring, Dawe hopes recent provincial efforts mean there’s a longer-term plan to put the property to some community use.

The City of Red Deer has been interested in taking over ownership of the residence now surrounded by a chain link fence. ReThink Red Deer proposed using the house and land as an urban educational farm, and other proposals have also come in, said the city’s director of planning, Tara Lodewyk.

She’s pleased the province is keeping up with needed house maintenance. But before any purchasing decisions are made, Lodewyk said the city wants to review the results of the hazardous materials assessment to determine the costs involved.


House is deteriorating

ReThink Red Deer’s proposal

According to Alberta Infrastructure, “there has been much public interest” in the future of the downtown Parsons House, now occupied by law offices. It could be torn down, moved or built into the Justice Centre project – but not much is yet known since land negotiations are still ongoing between the property owner and provincial government.

The $97-million Justice Centre will provide 12 courtrooms, with the capacity to expand to 16, and is expected to take four years to complete, across from the public library.

Dawe has unofficially heard that efforts will be made to incorporate the century-old Parsons House into the courthouse design. He hopes so, since the building that housed Red Deer’s first medical clinic was at one time a designated provincial historic site before being converted to municipal historic resource.

To have the province wreck a structure that it once sought to protect would make no sense, added Dawe. Whatever changes are proposed would require city council approval.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

WATCH: Trekking through the foam in Red Deer

The fourth 5K Foam Fest was held at Heritage Ranch in Red Deer Saturday

WATCH: Red Deer residents protest for more equal family court treatment

Despite unfavourable weather, Matias Battauz was “stoked” to have three other people… Continue reading

First-come first-serve for Red Deer’s 35 cannabis retail licences

Starting July 11, interested businesses can get their application started

Central Alberta school divisions to support rural students through agreement

Wolf Creek to bring Enhanced Learning Model courses to Clearview schools

WATCH: Red Deer Catholic students re-envision a local wetland for school project

Father Henri Voisin Grade 3 teacher introduces ‘real-life’-based education

WATCH: Celebrating Highland culture in Red Deer

The 71st Highland Games was held at Westerner Park Saturday

Red Deer man and woman charged for shoplifting

Two people from Red Deer were arrested after allegedly shoplifting from an… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Red Deer, Central Alberta kids get their chance to compete in Woody’s Triathlon

The kids of steel Woody’s Triathlon saw kids between the ages of… Continue reading

US moves 100 coffins to inter-Korean border for war remains

SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — The U.S. military said it moved 100… Continue reading

First lady’s ‘don’t care’ jacket is a gift to memers online

NEW YORK — I really don’t care, do u? Perhaps one day… Continue reading

From boat makers to farmers, US-led tariff war inflicts pain

WASHINGTON — A Florida boat builder absorbs $4 million in lost business… Continue reading

Vatican convicts ex-diplomat of child porn distribution

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican tribunal on Saturday convicted a former Holy… Continue reading

Charges dropped against Alberta property owner in rural shooting

OKOTOKS, Alta. — All charges have been dropped against a man accused… Continue reading

China blocks John Oliver on social media after scathing show

BEIJING — A popular Chinese social media site is censoring discussion of… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month