Historic district proposed for Thomasville - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Historic district proposed for Thomasville

September 11, 2007

Thomasville--  One of Thomasville's most historic neighborhoods is dotted with dilapidated homes, but some of them have been torn down.  

Fletcherville, established in the 1850s is recognized nationally as a historic district.   It doesn't enjoy the same classification locally though, and so is not protected by preservation laws. Now the homeowners in the area and a local preservation group are working to change that.

Homes in the Fletcherville district run the gamut from refurbished, to rundown.  The common thread: their history.  Brent Runyon, Executive Director of Thomasville Landmarks says, "The area is a great residential neighborhood. There are many historic houses, a couple of historic churches so yeah, there's a lot of historic material left."

Thomasville Landmarks wants to save what's left of that history.  "What we're really looking to do is preserve what's left of that historic district not only for the residents who live there but for the community as a whole," explains Runyon.   A proposal to the city council would bring in oversight by the historic preservation commission.  "They basically would review any changes to make sure that the proposed changes are in accordance or will be compatible with what's currently there," Runyon says.

Those already working to restore homes in the area support the proposal.  "We're trying to bring back to Thomasville what they had instead of losing it and demolishing it like homes that they have that are run down and shabby, that need help," says Omar Jones of Paul Deese Home Restoration.

A few weeks ago, one of Thomasville's older homes that sat in a lot on Bartow street was demolished by the decision of the owner.  Thomasville Landmarks is hoping if their proposal is passed that won't happen again.  At least not before certain requirements are met.

Runyon explains, "It doesn't force anyone to maintain their house or to change their property in any way."   It just preserves what's already there. So those who can't afford renovations, will not be burdened.  "It should actually help stabilize and even perhaps raise their property value giving them equity in their homes," Runyon adds.

"Put forth an effort to see progress in action," says Jones.  That progress is already taking shape in Fletcherville and will hopefully only continue.

Monday night was the first public hearing on the proposal. After one more next month, the city council will vote to approve or deny making it a city ordinance.


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