07/20/12 — Winners say 'no' to prize of city house

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Winners say 'no' to prize of city house

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on July 20, 2012 1:46 PM

It was more than a year ago that the Goldsboro City Council voted to donate one of the city's historic homes to the This Old House Save This House Sweepstakes and still no one has claimed the 111-year-old Queen Anne on North Virginia Street as the sweepstakes prepares to enter its second year.

Entries online were allowed up until Aug. 31, 2011, for the contest, which would award ownership of the 3,804-square-foot house to the sweepstakes winner along with a contract filled with restrictive covenants as to how and when the house is to be renovated.

Karen Greco, a spokesperson for This Old House, said Tuesday that "a handful" of winners had been selected, but subsequently declined the prize.

Scott Kingsley was among those winners.

He toured the home in November 2011, visiting from Acworth, Ga., with all intentions of moving to Goldsboro to renovate the house, but said records with the city showed it would cost more than $200,000 to restore the house to a livable condition. He said he felt duped by the photos provided of the house, which didn't reveal it had been damaged by a fire.

The city purchased the house in 2007 for $21,000 as part of its efforts to revitalize Goldsboro's historic neighborhoods by preserving the houses until renovation-minded owners could purchase them. Nearly 40 homes were purchased in the process and a dozen were sold in the program's first three years, but interest in the program waned along with the likelihood of a speedy renovation of Goldsboro's Union Station -- a major landmark near the homes.

It appears Kingsley wasn't the only winner who didn't feel up to the challenge of restoring the house, as Mrs. Greco said that none of the winners selected since the contest ended have "volunteered" to take the house.

Still, she said the magazine truly believes in saving the house and is confident it will find someone to accept the prize and the restrictive covenants concerning renovations that come with it.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Greco said her company has no claim to the property as it is not in possession of the title to the home. The city waives all rights to profit from the sale of the house should it be donated it to the magazine promotion.