Did you know that as of July 1, Trenton-Dade County has a Historic Preservation Commission?
Photo: Restoration of the historic Dade County Courthouse is the HPC's Job One.
On Wednesday, Nov. 14, Sarah Rogers, certified local government coordinator, Jewett Center for Historic Preservation, came to Dade to do the required orientation and training for members of the new commission. Representing the city of Trenton are Audrey Jeffery Clark and Cindy Hill Richie, and county members are Rex Blevins, Sarah Moore and me, Donna Street. Trenton Mayor Alex Case and County Executive Ted Rumley are ex-officio members of the commission as is Don Townsend, who serves as clerk for the group.
Members of the HPC and several invited participants were given the history of historic preservation in the United States and Georgia and instruction on the value of such a commission to the local community. Ms. Rogers helped the members to understand the local ordinance and gave the commission a checklist of items to be completed before any substantial grant money can be applied for by the group.
After passing the local ordinances and appointing a commission, the next step for Trenton/Dade governments is becoming a certified local government. Each is currently a qualified Local Government. This certification will allow the local governments (through the HPC) to enforce state and local legislation relating to designation and protection of historic properties, maintain a survey and inventory of historic properties, provide public participation for recommending properties to the National Register of Historic Places and many other things to engage the public in historic preservation.
The need for this board became evident to members of the Courthouse Renovation Committee as they tried multiple times and failed to get grants from state agencies. The members were appointed by the Dade County Commission and started working two years ago to complete the renovation of the historic county courthouse. At every turn it seemed that they were being thwarted by what they did not know. As I said many times, “It seemed that we were doing the work backwards.”
The creation of this commission will improve chances for completing the courthouse and many other projects in an organized and timely fashion.
Ms. Rogers reassured members of the new commission that their first steps toward renovation of the courthouse, which included stopping the leaks in the building, cleaning, painting and waterproofing the bricks and installing new windows through local fundraising efforts, were exactly on target. She congratulated the city and county governments for taking steps to make this joint effort a reality. She assured all present that the work done could lead to great rewards and that the office of Historic Preservation in Stockbridge looks forward to advising and assisting Dade in every possible way.