Bradenton moving forward with demolition plans for historic home

By Angie Angers, Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, December 07, 2017, 2:19 PM EST

A historic home in Bradenton designated for demolition months ago due to its poor condition is still standing, with no sign of the structure coming down any time soon.

  • Covington House built in 1911
  • Oldest structure left in Manatee County built by African-Americans
  • Restoration efforts for home collapsed following recession

The Covington House, as it is known, was built in 1911 by Charles Covington and his sons. It's the oldest structure left in Manatee County built by an African-American.

The City, however, believes the structure is dangerous due to its present condition.

"This is like our family home," said Bradenton resident Isaac Hart. "This is our grandma's and grandaddy's home, so why would you not fight for this?"

There has been an effort to save the home in recent years. In 2007, the Bradenton Front Porch Community, a nonprofit led by Bradenton resident Rodney Jones, took ownership of the home and attempted to raise money for its restoration.

However, with the onset of the recession, fundraising stalled. The nonprofit dissolved soon after, and the house was condemned.

"It was hurtful to watch it go down over the years and not being able to put the brakes on because you just didn't have the resources," Jones told us.

Currently, the structure is in sad shape. Part of the roof has caved in, walls are buckling, and the foundation has been disrupted by roots of nearby trees.

The property has been vacant since the 1970s. With the fence around the structure down, there's nothing preventing people from going inside, and thus the city has seen issues with trespassing.

"It had become somewhat of a homeless refuge at times," Jones said. "We'd nail it up and batten it up, then the city would come out and try to secure it and they would still break in."

In August 2017, the city finally decided to move forward with demolition plans. However, no demolition date has been set.

The city's community redevelopment director has said if someone steps forward to with the funds to restore the house, demolition plans would be halted. Given the lack of support for a restoration effort in the past, though, they're moving forward, and will soon put out a bid for a contractor.

The city is also working to document the house property. Officials are in the process of contacting an architectural salvage group to safely pull historical artifacts from the building, and an application has been filed for a historic marker for the site.