Saginaw – The Saginaw City Council has agreed to a development deal that will save a historic 144-year-old mansion from demolition.

The council voted last month to accept the agreement from Ann Arbor Builders, The Saginaw News reported.

The city had initially resolved in 2016 to demolish the property to make room for development in the area, but the decision was overturned following the community’s response.

“I didn’t really realize how much the community cared,” said Alexander Mixter, who helped in the campaign to save the property.

The property will soon be redeveloped to be “The Front Door to Downtown,” he said.

“So if anyone is coming to Saginaw, they can stop in and find out anything they need to know about Saginaw,” Mixter said.

The mansion will include community meeting space, a gift shop and office space, and will provide historical information about the city, he said.

“I’m on cloud nine about the whole thing because it has been such a long process and there has been so many players,” Mixter said. “It’s been really, really great working with the city. They’ve been great. I (am) glad that it got this far, and it crossed the finish line.”

The city purchased the home from Rosemary Degesero for $19,900 in 2011. The building has been considered for demolition since then.

The property is also known as “the cat lady mansion” because Degesero had a pet leopard named Chichu. The home also features ornamental lion heads on the front porch.

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