Council to meet with School Board

Published 10:25 pm Monday, January 4, 2010

The Suffolk City Council will hold a joint work session with the School Board and will hear an update on the status of unsolicited proposals for the renovation and reuse of the Obici House on Wednesday.

The joint work session with the School Board will begin at 3 p.m. in City Council chambers, 441 Market St. The regular session for City Council begins at 7 p.m.

The School Board and City Council are expected to discuss such topics as budget concerns and capital improvements plans during their joint meeting. The two bodies typically meet together once or twice a year to discuss budgets and capital improvements.

During Council’s regular session, it will hear an update from the city manager’s office regarding unsolicited proposals for the Obici House. Two organizations — the Suffolk Professional Firefighters Union and Citizens for the Preservation of Obici House — have submitted unsolicited proposals to renovate and reuse the historic home of Suffolk benefactors Amedeo and Louise Obici.

The home is located beside the 18th hole at the Sleepy Hole Golf Course. Its future has been in limbo since Preservation Virginia in May declared it one of the nine most endangered historic sites in Virginia.

Since then, a public hearing was held at a City Council meeting for input on the home’s future. Several people, including a great-niece of the couple, came to speak, and the city issued a request for proposals for the renovation and reuse of the home.

However, the city abruptly rejected both proposals received — from Ronnie Rountree, the operator of the golf course, and Citizens for the Preservation of Obici House. Later, the firefighters’ union submitted an unsolicited proposal for the home, hoping to restore it with volunteer labor. Citizens for the Preservation of Obici House also submitted an unsolicited proposal.

The city has refused to reveal its process for evaluating the unsolicited proposals.