PARKERSBURG - The home of West Virginia's third governor is likely to stay in the hands of the Urban Renewal Authority.
City Development Director Ann Conageski said the person who agreed to purchase the dilapidated home of former William Erskine Stevenson has had no contact with city officials since April 15.
"I sent the contract in May and hadn't heard anything," Conageski said.
In April, the Parkersburg Urban Renewal Authority accepted a bid from Anita Evans, who listed a Parkersburg post office box as her address, to purchase the house. Conageski had corresponded with Evans primarily through e-mail.
Earlier this week, Conageski sent Evans a letter giving her a deadline of July 14, when the authority next meets, to decide if she is purchasing the property.
"I told her if we don't hear from her we will put a for sale sign in the yard and put it back on the market," Conageski said.
Conageski doesn't have much hope.
"What do you think," she said. "You can speculate as much as I."
Attempts to contact Evans by The News and Sentinel were unsuccessful. A phone message left for an Anita Evans of Belpre was not returned.
Wood County has had four residents serve as governor. Of those four, only Stevenson, who served from 1869-71, has a home still standing.
The Juliana Street house is in deplorable condition and will require hundreds of thousands of dollars to restore it.
In April, the URA voted to sell the property to Evans for $1,000. Prior to making an offer, Evans toured the property with Conageski and a contractor.
Conageski said Evans offered to live in the home and restore it to original condition. In an e-mail to Conageski, Evans estimated about 10 weeks to repair the exterior at a cost of about $50,000.
Prior to the meeting, Conageski said she received an e-mail from Evans, who was "anxiously awaiting" the URA's decision on the property. Evans also said she would be unable to attend the meeting due to illness.
After the URA accepted the bid, Conageski sent Evans the contracts. Twice.
"I sent it to her and never got it back," she said.
City Councilman Sharyn Tallman, who is president of the URA and whose district includes the Stevenson house, was disappointed by the developments.
"We were so enthusiastic that someone has the means, time and passion to bring this place back up to where it was," she said. "The excitement of having that happen and then losing touch ... We found what we thought was the ideal person for the home and then go back to square one."
Tallman said the URA will put the house back on the market with the hopes of finding another buyer.
"We want to give this house all the opportunities we possibly can."