City Sets Deadline For Owners Of Landmark 120-Year-Old Mansion

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WACO (August 21, 2013)—The owners of Waco’s 120-year-old Cottonland Castle at 33rd Street and Austin Avenue have until the weekend to clean out a mosquito-infested swimming pool and trim overgrown vegetation before facing penalties, according to city and health district documents obtained Wednesday by News 10.

The Waco-McLennan County Health District has given the owners, identified in the documents as Russell and Clarissa Carter Giles, until the weekend to clean up the pool after an inspection found that it’s filled with stagnant water that’s “likely to attract or harbor mosquitoes,” which is a violation of the Mosquito Control Ordinance.

City of Waco Inspection Services has given the owners until Sunday to cut high grass and weeds and remove and dispose of any brush.

If that’s not done, a letter dated Aug. 15 says, then the city could file a municipal court complaint and could trim the vegetation, filing a lien against the property to recover the cost.

Giles said late Wednesday afternoon she has not received any letters from the city or the health district, but did say she has taken steps to kill any mosquitoes in the pool.

She said she had boarded up the back door of the house to keep vagrants and vandals out, but said someone had kicked it open again.

Although at least one prospective buyer has expressed interest in the property, Giles said Wednesday she has no plans to sell.

She told News 10 earlier this month that development of the property had been delayed because of an ongoing legal battle, and said every effort is made to ensure the property is well-maintained.

A hearing is scheduled next month to resolve the legal issue.

Work began on the house in 1890 when the cotton economy was flourishing, was sold unfinished to a cotton broker in 1906 and wasn’t fully completed until 1913.

It eventually became the focal point for Waco’s Castle Heights neighborhood.