Albany neighbors disagree about historic preservation -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany neighbors disagree about historic preservation

April 6, 2006

Albany -- A couple of old Albany neighborhoods could become the city's first historic district, but the plan is stirring up a neighborly disagreement. Some people who live in Palmyra Heights and Rawson Circle want the area listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

The National Register of Historic Places is a partnership between federal, state and local governments to protect significant historic properties throughout the country. One historic preservation consultant says both Palmyra Heights and Rawson Circle are well qualified to be on the registry, but not all neighbors want that.

Beautiful oak trees and 70 year old homes line the streets of the Rawson Circle and Palmyra Heights neighborhoods. Some people who live here want to help preserve the area by listing it on the National Register of Historic Places.

"It increases community pride, it increases neighborhood pride, people generally take better care of their houses if they are in a historic district," said Marilyn Nobles.

Marilyn Nobles is helping lead an effort for the historic designation, but now some of her neighbors formed a group against it. They say they support property owners' rights.

"Most of the people feel like they have done an excellent job of maintaining their homes and they don't need a plaque and someone from the government telling them hey, you're in a historic district, we all know that," said Jackson Murphy.

Murphy's committee sent postcards to 300 neighbors in the area asking if they wanted to be on the list, and several said no.

"I just do not want a committee telling me how I have to upkeep my house what color I have to have it, what materials I have to use on it," said Ron Smith.

But supporters say being on a national registry doesn't require those things.

"We're going to have to clarify it, do some more talking probably bring the historian back in, and maybe even someone from the Atlanta national register office," said Marilyn Nobles.

Nobles will continue efforts to see her neighborhood become Albany's very first historic district.

According to the national register website, if a majority of private property owners object to the proposal, then the area cannot be listed as a historic district.

A historic consultant has visited the neighborhoods and may soon look toward application for the designation. Both neighbors who want to be part of the national historic register and those who don't plan to hold more meetings on the issue.