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Dahlonega nonprofit grows to preserve citys history
A rendering of the hotel planned for the Parks Clothing building site.

Members of a Dahlonega nonprofit say they are expanding their reach to protect the city’s historic charm and gold rush lore after losing the fight to preserve the Jeremiah Payne House, also known as the Parks Clothing building.

“We were able to make a good showing of people who wanted to stop the building’s demolition,” said Diane Bates, a member of Preserve Historic Dahlonega. “It’s just sad that our efforts failed.”

Located along East Main Street, the Parks building is recognized as the second-oldest building standing in the historic district. It survived the Civil War and a nearby fire in 1904.

An upscale boutique hotel has been proposed and approved for the site.

Attorney Joseph Homans, a partner with the Fox, Chandler, Homans, Hicks & McKinnon law firm based in Gainesville who represents Green-Garrett, told The Times last month no bids were received to remove and relocate the Parks building to another location in Lumpkin County.

But the group has been galvanized, Bates said, to preserve the most historic buildings and monuments across Lumpkin County, such as the Civil War-era Mount Hope Cemetery.

In the meantime, the group said it wants to ensure that the hotel fits the character of downtown when it is developed.

“We’re staying on top of the Parks Building demo and construction of the new hotel,” Bates said.

This includes a hearing scheduled for August with city planning leaders.

One of the group’s ongoing challenges is opposing plans to reduce the number of required parking spaces for the proposed hotel and a request to extend a portion of the building.

“It is still standing and the demolition permit cannot be issued until the building plans for the replacement structure are approved,” Penny Sharp, one of the leaders of Preserve Historic Dahlonega, said. “The last meeting they would not consider what the architect submitted because it was an entirely different design than what they were working on.”