- Associated Press - Sunday, March 2, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Restoration work at The Hermitage in Nashville is on track to be completed in time for former President Andrew Jackson’s 246th birthday on March 15.

Tony Guzzi, who is vice president of preservation and site operations, told The Tennessean (http://tnne.ws/1ewBWZr) that the renovations will improve the structural and cosmetic integrity of the mansion.

The work will focus on sidewalks outside the nearly 200-year-old structure and doors and woodworking on the inside, which has been worn down by visitors.

“When visitors come back and see us again, they really won’t see a lot of difference in how the house looks,” Guzzi said, “but there will be important differences under the ground, managing the water, preventing water from flowing into the foundation and moving it away. It will better preserve the home.”

He said old sidewalks will be demolished and new sidewalks would be built over sand, which will allow more water to soak into the ground. Preservation architect Joseph K. Opperman said the new brick pathways will look like the original sidewalks.

The work is being paid for with a state grant of $660,000.

“We are so fortunate to have received this grant from the State of Tennessee,” said Hermitage President CEO Howard J. Kittell. “It is this sort of preservation work that will ensure the longevity of The Hermitage as an historical site to be visited by generations to come.”

The Hermitage was built for and named by Jackson, who was the seventh president of the United States.

The mansion has undergone renovations before. It was remodeled twice by Jackson himself. More recently, a major $2.2 million restoration of the interior that lasted from 1989 through 1997 received national recognition and historic preservation awards.

Tours of the mansion won’t be affected by the work.

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Information from: The Tennessean, http://www.tennessean.com