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Kenner House roof and chimney repairs to begin by Aug. 20

Jeff Bobo • Jul 28, 2013 at 11:36 PM

ROGERSVILLE — Roof replacement and chimney repair at the 178-year-old Kenner House in Rogersville will begin sometime before Aug. 20, thanks to a $10,000 state grant that will be matched by $6,666 in local funds.

Hawkins County already has some insurance funds in hand to repair the Kenner House roof, which was damaged during a hailstorm two years ago.

However, county leaders didn’t want to replace the roof until the problems with the building’s unstable chimneys was resolved.

As the 2012-13 fiscal year was coming to an end, Hawkins County received notice from the Tennessee Historic Commission that some leftover grant funding would be available.

But, because it is a historical project, the grant would have to be applied for and administered by a certified local government such as Rogersville, which has a Historical Preservation Commission.

Hawkins County and Rogersville already split the cost of maintaining the Kenner House — as well as the H.B. Stamps Public Library, which is on the same property in downtown Rogersville.

On Thursday, the Rogersville Board of Mayor and Aldermen agreed to administer the grant and to pay its half of the matching funds, which amounts to $3,333.

To meet the guidelines of the grant, the work must start by Aug. 20 and be completed by Sept. 30.

Rogersville building inspector Steve Nelson, who is also a member of the Rogersville Heritage Association board of directors, told BMA members Thursday they could spend a whole lot more on the project.

But if the city and the county each spend the $3,333, they’ll get an extra $10,000 from the state.

“The chimneys are in such bad shape, if we fix the roof and we then start working on the chimneys, we’re just going to hurt the shingles we’ve already got, ” Nelson told the BMA. “We’re going to need to repair the chimneys first. The optimum way would be to tear them down and build them back up again. we don’t have enough money for that. The other way is going to be re-point. Knock out all the softer mortar and re-point it with new mortar, and then do the roof.”

Hawkins County is also in the process of seeking more grant funding from the state historical commission to help pay for an overall renovation of the Kenner House, which was built in 1835.

Nelson noted, however, that the main priority right now is stabilizing the building with a good roof to prevent further deterioration inside.

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