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

Improving life for people with Alzheimer’s and their families is a priority for Raitt

The federal Conservatives deputy leader is dealing with the disease in her own home

PHOTO: International Peace Day

Visitors broke bread, made crafts and trading cards at a gathering marking… Continue reading

Snowfall warning issued for Central Alberta

Environment Canada issued a snowfall warning for Central Alberta Friday afternoon. Warning… Continue reading

POLL: Most Red Deerians don’t want cell phones in the classroom

Sixty-six per cent of Advocate readers who responded to an on-line poll… Continue reading

Grassroots movement to clean up Red Deer is gaining momentum

Homeless people need more attention than shopping carts, says former councillor Cindy Jefferies

Updated: Grey Cup in Red Deer to raise funds for military families

Money raised will go to the Military Family Resource Centre and be used locally

Dustin Byfuglien scores in overtime, Jets beat Flames 4-3 in pre-season

WINNIPEG — Bryan Little tied the game late in the third and… Continue reading

Mistrial denied in Calgary murder trial over jury’s visit to hotel Denny’s

CALGARY — A Calgary judge has denied a request for a mistrial… Continue reading

Former Canadian astronaut says space shuttle is a vehicle of hope

OTTAWA — Sending messages of hope from space is a big part… Continue reading

Canada requests trade panel on uncoated groundwood paper ruling by U.S.

OTTAWA — Canada has requested a NAFTA trade panel review a U.S.… Continue reading

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

SURREY, B.C. — Three First Nations in British Columbia gathered today to… Continue reading

Tail with a happy ending: Dog rescued from fighting ring, ready for police work

Dallas’s ear-to-ear grin and bright brown eyes seem to sparkle with joy.… Continue reading

Liberal leader doubles down on notion that $75 weekly grocery bill is possible

MONTREAL — One day after being ridiculed for saying it was possible… Continue reading

Jury resumes deliberating man’s guilt in Calgary mother of four’s death

CALGARY — Jurors are continuing to deliberate the guilt of a man… Continue reading

Most Read