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Public passes on buying historical home

Despite several expressions of interest, none of the groups that submitted letters of intent to the Town of Innisfail were able to follow through in purchasing the Dr. George/Kemp house.

Despite several expressions of interest, none of the groups that submitted letters of intent to the Town of Innisfail were able to follow through in purchasing the Dr. George/Kemp house.

“The group that was hoping to move forward (with the purchase) was not able to get everything together and determined that it was too big of a project for them,” said Shelley Gagnon, director of community services for the Town of Innisfail.

“It is a financial commitment to purchase it, not necessarily the upkeep because there are lots of grants for that.”

The letters of intent phase of the sale was conducted in hope that the town would be able to find a group that might be able to run a bed and breakfast, a teahouse, a museum, or something that would preserve the historical significance of the municipally owned site.

Now that the deadline has passed for the submission of letters of intent the town will be discussing putting the house up for open sale.

“The intent is still to sell the house but we will have to make a decision about how to go forward from here,” said Gagnon.

The house was built in 1893 and was first home to Dr. Henry and Barbara George, and was later sold to William Hazelwood Kemp, both historic families in Innisfail.

“We were thinking it would be lovely for it to be used for something for public use such as a bed and breakfast,” said Rita Kemp.

“We are really sorry that it failed as a teahouse and museum, it was a lovely place for friends to go and have tea.”

Rita and her husband Gerry, who is William Kemp’s grandson, were both part of the disbanded Dr. George House Preservation Society.

Rita said that although the society does not operate anymore and that they don’t have a say in what happens to the home they are happy to see that the artifacts from the home will be going to the Innisfail Historical Village.

The provincial historic site currently houses the Town of Innisfail’s community services department, which will be relocating to the new library once it is finished.

As the town will no longer will have a need the house they have put it up for sale hoping that someone looking to purchase it will be able to preserve the cultural and historic aspect of the home, said Gagnon, in a past issue of the Province.