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The meeting announcement (left) lists rapacious developer Gino Falsetto under the rubric "Historic Assets." Presumably that means the 120-year old E.W.F. Stirrup House, which his Aries Development controls through a 50-year lease. Falsetto claims he wants to preserve and renovate the house, turning it into a Bed and Breakfast. If that were truly the case, why has he been allowing it to undergo Demolition by Neglect for the better part of a decade? Why wouldn't Falsetto do the bare minimum to protect his asset by -- at the very least -- sealing the windows to keep out the weather? Wood, water, and Florida humidity don't mix very well and Gino's given them 8 years to work their moldy magic on this architectural gem.
However, lo and behold: Yesterday a crew was cleaning up the Stirrup property by removing the vines and bushes that had grown all over the back of the house. This blog has documented how the property becomes an unruly garbage dump between citations from the City of Miami. The property is always cleaned up before fines are levied. Then it's allowed to slowly fall into disarray until the next city inspector posts a citation on the property about all the garbage, weeds, and graffiti. Despite occasional landscaping, the vast Westerfield Archives has several year's worth of pictures that prove these bushes and vines have never been cleared away. This was not just another minor clean-up.
Could it be that Gino Falsetto realized that eyes would be on the E.W.F. Stirrup House again this week because of the Charles Avenue Historic Preservation meeting? After 8 years of inactivity, is it possible that Falsetto wants to be able to say at Wednesday's meeting "Things are happening," only to let it slid into disarray until the next time it gets cleaned up?
[Continued after the jump.]
|BEFORE - September 14, 2012|
|AFTER - February 22, 2013|
You can clearly see the damage of vines having 8 years to work their way into the structure and what happens when they are finally ripped out indiscriminately. [Above]
|Before - July 17, 2012|
|After - February 22, 2013|
However, that's just the property. This clean-up is primarily superficial, except for the new scars left on the structure from the brutal landscaping job. Sadly, the E.W.F. Stirrup House, the object of my affection, continues to rot away. To be fair: There has been some very minor work inside the house, which will be the subject of an upcoming post.
Continue to Part Two: Inside The E.W.F. Stirrup House ► Before and After
For more on the E.W.F. Stirrup House, please read my continuing series: