By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Days could be numbered for historic Dahlonega building
City Council approves demolition request
The historic Parks building in downtown Dahlonega is proposed for demolition to make way for a hotel, and City Council gave its approval to the proposal Monday night. - photo by Lamar Bates

Plans to demolish a historic building in downtown Dahlonega and build an upscale, boutique hotel in its place can now move forward after the City Council gave its OK Monday night.

The battle over the fate of the Jeremiah Payne House, also known as the Parks Clothing building, along East Main Street, had been waged for months.

And the council’s vote runs counter to a decision last year by the Historic Preservation Committee opposing plans to tear it down.

Members of the citizens group “Preserve Historic Dahlonega” said the proposed development does not fit with the character of the city, which is known for its gold rush lore, small-town charm and draws an estimated quarter of a million tourists annually.

The building survived the Civil War and a hotel fire nearby in 1904. It is recognized as the second-oldest building standing in the historic district.

But the council’s decision was foreshadowed weeks ago in a memo from City Manager William E. Schmid recommending approval of developer Roberta Green Garrett’s plans.

“The building is old but has not been previously identified as a building of significant contributing historical importance to the overall district,” Schmid wrote. “The building’s poor condition has a negative impact on other buildings, adversely affects the character of the district and may be a hazard to the public. It is not fit for occupancy for any purpose.”

Penny Sharp, one of the lead organizers of the citizens group, said her members are reaching out to historic preservation groups across the state and country for advice and will continue the fight to save the historic building.

“We will file an appeal to the City Council if we can and are in the process of reviewing our legal options,” she added.