Nearly half the funds needed for a restoration project at the Texas Governor's Mansion in Austin--badly burned last summer in an act of arson--will come from federal stimulus money. No injuries resulted from the fire, but the structure, a Greek Revival-style mansion more than 150 years old that sits near the state Capitol, was gutted by the fire.
The renovation project, estimated to cost $22 million, will be overseen by the State Preservation Board. The Austin American-Statesman reports (May 22) that "once the funding bill is signed into law, [the] search will begin for a supervising architect for the project."
The bill authorizing the budget to fix the damaged abode has been passed by the Texas Legislature and sent to Gov. Rick Perry(R), who has received national attention for "reluctantly" accepting stimulus dollars, particularly $555 milllion that would go to the state's unemployment insurance program. Meanwhile, Perry resides with his wife, Anita, in a "6,000-sq-ft gated rental house" near a local country club, the Statesman reports.
Strings attached? Not unless you count some $10,000 a month in rental fees paid by Texas taxpayers, the vast majority of whom consider ourselves citizens of the United States of America.