The Mamie Doud Eisenhower Birthplace is now for sale.
The Boone County Historical Society has listed the property with Friedrich Realty of Ames, President Janet Tait said. The property, located at 709 Carroll St., is listed on the Friedrich website for $184,000.
“The property is an asset. We had announced that if the city and the county and the community could no longer support us with funds, we may have to start selling some of our assets,” Tait said.
The historical society recently submitted a formal letter to the Boone City Council asking the council to release the 2018-19 funding that is normally awarded to the organization.
The letter went on to say that the society understood the funds were already redistributed to other organizations.
“However, we are hopeful that you could take emergency measures to release what was previously requested so we can avoid selling off the Mamie Eisenhower property and avoid reducing the Eisenhower collection,” the letter stated.
Councilman Gregory Piklapp said the letter was delivered to the Boone City Council right before the Sept. 4 meeting. The letter was not included in the council’s packet, as it was submitted too late, and no formal action was taken on the matter.
Though Piklapp added that no new information has been brought forward since the council voted to not release the requested hotel/motel tax funds for the historical society.
In January, the historical society had requested $15,000 through the allocation of thehotel/motel tax.
In a previous story, Councilman Bj McGinn said he was not comfortable releasing the funds until a resolution was found for the future of the Mamie Doud Eisenhower Birthplace.
“We have to give them to organizations in good standing and I do not feel the historical society right now is in good standing,” Piklapp said in September.
A previous story said in January that the Boone County Board of Supervisors also approved freezing funds allocated to the historical society.
Tait said the historical society did not agree with those decisions.
“We had always received funds from the city and county for ever and ever and ever until last fall, when issues came up that they were in disagreement with. They just absolutely cut us off, period,” she said.
Tait added that bills still need to be paid and repairs still need to be made. The Mamie Doud Eisenhower Birthplace has been closed since the fall of 2017.
“It’s always closed for the winter, but at that point we decided we needed a longer period of time to figure out what direction we could go in in order to make it self-sustaining,” Tait said. “This is something certain members of the community did not agree with and they have made a horrendous decision to cut off funding.”
Roundtable discussions were held, along with public meetings, to discuss the future of the birthplace.
The historical society, Tait said, then made the decision to list the property for sale in early September of 2018.
Piklapp was surprised to find the historical society moved ahead with the sale.
“There was no mention that they were going to do it, it was just to avoid it,” he said of the letter delivered to the council. “We received no notice at all that they were going to move ahead with the sale, until it hit Zillow.”
Tait added that the historical society had to move on with the sale. Though she said anything the society receives from the sale will be short-term gains.
“We always have to find new funding,” Tait said. “Right now we’re just trying to survive.”