PERRYVILLE —The Perryville Battlefield Preservation Association voted Tuesday to dissolve officially.
Bruce Richardson, chairman of the PBPA board, said in a letter the group felt it had “fulfilled much of their mission,” which focused on the preservation of, education about and fundraising for the battlefield and the city of Perryville.
In 2010, state funding to the organization was cut, following the departure of the director. At that point, the Main Street program began staffing the offices of the PBPA, which also included a museum of history about the area.
“We’ve made great progress in preserving our rich historical legacy,” Richardson said in the letter.
During the meeting, members of the PBPA voted to turn over the organization’s historical books, supplies and documents to the Main Street Program, as well as any money left following the payment of the final bills. The five properties that were owned by PBPA were turned over to the city of Perryville, leaving the City Council to determine who will take on the management and restoration of those properties. They include the Bond House, The Mill, the Opera House, the Johnson House and the adjacent corner lot.
“It’s a big step to take over all of this,” Mayor Anne Sleet said. Sleet believes the most important part for those vying for control of the historic properties is to make sure they preserve them.
“They are our history. We have to preserve our history. Once that’s gone, it’s gone,” Sleet said.
Since learning about the PBPA’s plans to disband in May, the Main Street Perryville program has hoped the city would lease the properties to them. However, Perryville businessmen Paul Webb and Jerry Houck approached the city council in June, wanting to submit a proposal for the leases, as well.
Mayor Sleet asked the PBPA board, during Tuesday’s meeting, if they had suggestions for raising funds to preserve the properties. She fears it will be a costly undertaking for whomever takes over them, and wonders if the group that takes them over will “be able to maintain them.”
The City Council will meet in the coming weeks to determine the fate of the leases. Currently, City Attorney Lynne Coleman is researching the deeds, an endeavor that has to be completed before the city can make any decisions regarding the properties.
“We have to look at it and see what we are able to do,” Sleet said.