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Family wants memorial at site of old Flowery Branch plant
New developed structure on Gainesville Street to be named for Mr. Mooney
1222Mooney
The old Mooney Manufacturing Co. sits on property that Flowery Branch is converting into its new municipal complex. The family that sold the property is urging the city to establish some sort of memorial to the plant’s founder, Gene Mooney. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Patti Mooney Spencer recalls as a child getting a quarter for an evening's work at her father's furniture factory in downtown Flowery Branch.

"And then we played in the sawdust pile, and there were five of us (siblings) to get sawdust out of our hair and clothes," she said.

Now 60, she wants the South Hall city to erect at least a temporary memorial to her father, Gene Mooney, honoring him for bringing many jobs to the area, including during World War II, when Mooney Manufacturing made ammunition containers for the armed forces.

"I don't expect them to do something permanent when they don't even know what they're going to do with the property," Spencer said.

The city voted in October 2009 to spend $262,500 for 7 acres at Main and Gainesville streets for the site for a future government complex. The property includes the Mooney plant, which opened in 1936 and closed in 2002.

As part of the sale, the city agreed to put up a historical marker "stating the history of Mooney Manufacturing and Mr. Mooney."

The marker "will be comparable to those erected at the Flowery Branch Depot" at the corner of Main Street and Railroad Avenue.

Also, the city "will name one of the new developed structures in honor of Mr. Mooney on the Gainesville Street site," according to the agreement.

Spencer spoke to the Flowery Branch City Council on Dec. 8, asking for some urgency on the matter.

"We didn't want (the city) to wait until we're dead and gone," she said Tuesday.

City Manager Bill Andrew said he isn't so sure about placing a temporary marker at the site.

"Temporary could mean three or five years. It could be five or six years, I don't know," he said. "I'm not sure what would be appropriate to put there."

As for the site itself, city officials were planning to look at the city's budget closer to spring "to see if we have any funding to demolish some of the buildings there," he said.

"We haven't formally done an assessment of what all that would cost."

A rusting water tower on the property "probably needs to come down sooner rather than later," Andrew said.

Also, a metal structure resembling a grain silo that houses sawdust, as well as a large boiler at the site, might need to go.

"In terms of a large-scale (improvement project), it's not really on the horizon at this point, which is why we haven't really looked at doing a memorial," Andrew said.

"We always thought that would be more appropriate with something there nice to put a sign beside."

 

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