Is a 1915 classic Craftsman bungalow now sitting at Costa Mesa's TeWinkle Memorial Park a pile of rotting timber or a historical treasure?
The Costa Mesa City Council will take up that question tonight, when it is scheduled to decide whether the vintage home should be restored or destroyed. Refurbishing the structure to its former glory would cost $222,400, far more than the $56,200 tab for tearing it down.
But for preservationists, it's about more than money.
The Huscroft House was built in Santa Ana and moved to Costa Mesa in the mid-1950s. A developer donated it to the city in 1998, and it was moved to TeWinkle Park the following year. With faded paint and boarded-up windows, it stands like a haunted house next to the area's dog park.
The city already has spent nearly $82,000 to store and move the home. Some on the City Council are willing to spend more to preserve what they consider a prime example of early 20th century architecture in a city that has so little of it left.
Councilwoman Linda Dixon wants to move the home from TeWinkle Park to Fairview Park on the west side of town, where it would be refurbished to attract visitors and tourists.
City staffers suggest that the Huscroft House could be used as a meeting room that the public could rent for weddings, party space and other events.
But other council members are not keen on spending more money on the home and want to cut the city's losses.
"There are a lot better things we could be spending our money," Councilman Gary Monahan said. "We're not awash in cash."