The home of Dr. Thomas Price, Tipton County’s first African-American doctor, is one step closer to becoming a museum after Tuesday’s vote by Covington’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen to have it evaluated.
Last year, the Association for the Preservation of African-American History and Culture asked the board to purchase the property, which is located on Highway 51 North, next to Sonic, for the purpose of a museum to preserve the county’s African-American history.
However, little has been done in nearly a year and the museum’s fate has been unknown, so the group asked again.
Speaking on behalf of the organization, on Tuesday night Hattye Yarbrough requested a favorable answer from the board.
“We are prepared and we are ready to establish a museum,” she said. “If you give us this property, people will stop here.”
Gina Tynan, the program developer and historic preservation planner for the Memphis Area Association of Governments, told the board having the museum will bring tourists’ tax dollars to the county. In 2012, tourism to Tipton County accounted for $980,000 in local tax revenue and $1.8 million in state tax revenue.
Before the city will purchase the property, which is currently valued at $99,200 according to property assessment data, it will need to determine the investment to bring the home up to code.
Tuesday night’s unanimous vote by the board enables the city to spend up to $2,000 to have the structure evaluated.
Property assessment data shows the parcel was originally purchased in 1912 and the 3,392 square foot home was built in 1928. It is listed as needing minor repairs.
Data shows it has been owned by Alonzo Beard since 2003.
Mayor David Gordon said the city may consider splitting the cost of the property’s purchase three ways with the county and the organization.
APAAHC members seemed pleased with the progress, at least for now.
“The Price house has a lot of history for us,” said Syvilla Armstrong Fields. “We need a place for our artifacts, our books, our schools, our churches.”