Dear Spirit House Society Member,
There have been some developments since Rexie Friedman, aka Rexie Dimaculangan purchased Spirit House.
At a meeting with several steering committee members late last year she stated that she was interested in restoring and preserving the house but had no interest in honoring its Spiritualist roots. She implied that she was possibly interested in turning Spirit House into a museum or something similar. She gave no firm restoration plans or how the restoration would be financed.
She offered the following statement to convey to the SHS membership:
"The House is now in the hands of one individual that cares about conservation and preservation. She will honor the history and past and develop an economically sustainable structure within the town without being dragged by its spiritualist past."
We also learned that she has been living in Spirit House to save money. She was using a space heater and fireplace to keep warm.
One of our members was at a Georgetown Historical Society meeting in March were Rexie was trying to solicit interest to have her property taxes vacated. Rexie was described as being very dedicated and determined.
In late April two meetings where held in Georgetown where Rexie presented her case for why she should not have to pay property taxes for Spirit House. The town board eventually agreed to reduce taxes on any subsequent improvements to the house—a ten year hiatus on any improvements that would increase at a 10% rate per year. For example, if $100,000 in improvements were made the 1st year there would be no tax on the improvements, Year 2 taxes would be paid on $10,000, Year 2 pay taxes on $20,000 and year 10 she would have to pay taxes on the full $100,000.
No tax abatement was given on the house. She has to pay the full property taxes on $97,000.
At the meetings there were several queries about finances and restoration plans. Rexie said that there was $5,000 to $6,000 at hand for restoration work and that she was going to apply for a grant for the rest. I believe that I was told that she expected that the restoration costs for Spirit House to be about $5 million.
I will keep you posted on further developments.