6/04/2006

Eminent Domain Continues For Fall House: KFOX-TV (El Paso TX), 5/23/06

The historical [Las Cruces NM] landmark known as the "Fall House" is still in a deteriorating stage.

On Tuesday, the property owner, William Abraham asked city council to lift the order of eminent domain. But the city voted 5-3 to continue with the process.

Abraham declined an interview with KFOX and left city hall with obvious dissapointment.

The scaffolding on the side of the house on 1725 Arizona is a sign of work — work that has been stopped too many times.

"I realize it's a complex issue, anyone who owns an old home like this has a lot of responsibility," said Marthana Bethune.

Bethune would like to see the historical home on preserved. Her great grandfather, Sen. Albert Fall, built the house in 1901 and it's full of history.

"It stands for a fabulous and interesting person, New Mexico's first United States senator," said Bethune.

Abraham has promised to fix the home, but complained about unnecesary road blocks.

"Given the opportunity to get passed these failed inspections with regard to something that's structural in nature that I've hired a structural engineer, to give his opinion, we'd be able to proceed on this project," said Abraham at Tuesday's city council meeting.

City Rep. Beto O'Rourke voted against lifting the order of eminent domain.

"I have a time line here that starts in December 2003, it has a number of mile stones and public meetings in which promises were made by the owner to improve the building and those promises were not followed through," said O'Rourke.

At one time, the "Fall House" was known for its glorious architecture and rich history. It's unfortunate that time has eaten away at the structure and its preservation is unknown.

"We want to have our roots, our background," said Bethune.

O'Rourke said there are some possibilities for the home turning it into a museum.


KFOX-TV: http://www.kfoxtv.com