When it rains, water flows off the McDowell House property and into Second Street. There is no storm sewer, so the water goes right back into the basement of the historic house.
Preservation architect Joe Opperman has said that the house and its collection of furniture and portraits are threatened by moisture. Water runs from the yard and the roof into the basement. There are mushrooms growing on a basement wall and the house has lost two furnaces in 20 years.
The McDowell House board of managers has been awarded $325,000 in grants to fix the water problems, but can't spend a dime of it until the city of Danville agrees to install a storm sewer. Deadlines on the grants are approaching, and without a storm sewer the grant money will be lost.
The board asked Danville City Commissioners to fix the problem in November, but was turned down in a split vote. Mayor John W.D. Bowling and commissioners Ryan Owens and Chester Kavanaugh voted against the $11,500 project. Commissioners Terry Crowley and Jamey Gay voted in favor.