The city of Richardson is recommending a permanent home and a renovation project for Miss Belle’s House.

Miss Belle’s House was located on the Owens Farm property at Plano Road and Lookout Drive since 1979 until spring 2021, when it was temporarily relocated to the city’s Fire Training and Emergency Operations Center on Lookout Drive.

After a year of seeking public input, city officials provided a recommendation to Richardson City Council during its April 4 meeting. As part of the proposed move, Miss Belle’s House would permanently relocate to the southeastern corner of Huffhines Park, which is located at 300 N. Plano Road.

The city recommended the park because it is close to Duck Creek Trail, a recreation center, a school and a neighborhood, which provides opportunities for multiple uses. City officials also said the proximity to the Huffhines Recreation Center, which is located in the park, would allow for easy access to parking and restrooms in a safe environment.

Miss Belle’s House was originally built at 206 Sherman St., Richardson, in the late 1800s. In 1902, Margaret Robberson purchased it for her daughter Virginia, known as “Miss Belle,” who ran a school on the bottom level and lived on the second floor, Assistant City Manager Shanna Sims-Bradish said.

The house changed ownership several times before being donated to the city of Richardson in 1979, when it was moved to the Owens Farm property at Plano Road and Lookout Drive. The structure was designated as historic by the Texas Historical Commission in 1982. After a slew of renovations, it reopened to the public for tours in 2001.

To move to the park, the city said it plans to work with HD Snow, a historic mover, to move the home on Plano Road from Lookout Road to Huffines Park in coordination with police, traffic and parks staff. The move is estimated to take three hours and is likely to take place on a weekend morning, Sims-Bradish said.

Sims-Bradish said the city's plan to relocate the historic house would occur in two separate phases. An ongoing maintenance program is also expected to be implemented for the house, which would be funded by the city's hotel/motel tax, Sims-Bradish said.

In phase one, the house would be moved to the new site while a stabilization of the house would occur. Additional security measures, including exterior lighting and a security system, would be added. This phase of the project is estimated to cost $500,000 and is expected to be funded from operational budget savings, according to city officials.

Phase two would include landscaping the new location, providing interior repairs and furnishings to the house, and creating local historical displays. Interior repairs involve refinishing the interior floors; replacing lights and electrical fixtures; and replacing the house’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning. This phase of the project is expected to cost $350,000 and would be funded through philanthropy and grants, according to city officials.

With a recommendation given to council, city officials said they plan to refine cost estimates while finalizing funding strategies and a timeline for the relocation. Sims-Bradish said they plan to provide another update to the City Council in late 2022.