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Fate of historic Dahlonega building still up in air
City Council meeting on issue delayed by winter weather
The historic Parks building in downtown Dahlonega is proposed for demolition to make way for a hotel. - photo by Lamar Bates

The battle over the fate of a historic building in downtown Dahlonega will have to wait another day, thanks to wintry weather that blew through town Wednesday.

City Council was set to consider overturning a Historic Preservation Committee vote that denied

Roberta Green Garrett’s request to demolish the Jeremiah Payne House, also known as the Parks Clothing building.

A mix of snow and ice put off a special called meeting to hear the appeal from Garrett’s lawyer, Joseph Homans.

"We'll have to get the council together to schedule another (meeting)," Mayor Gary McCullough said.

Garrett has proposed tearing down the 160-year-old building and replacing it with an upscale, boutique hotel along East Main Street.

In a Jan. 15 memo to Mayor Gary McCullough and council members, City Manager William E. Schmid recommends approving Garrett’s request.

“The building is old but has not been previously identified as a building of significant contributing historical importance to the overall district,” Schmid says in the four-page document.

Also, “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,” he said. “It is not fit for occupancy for any purpose.”

Still, the move has generated opposition in the Lumpkin County community.

A group known as Preserve Historic Dahlonega has posted updates on its Facebook page and otherwise encouraged opponents to “save the building” and let the City Council know it supports the Historic Preservation Commission’s decision.

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.

The city, known for its gold rush lore and small-town charm, draws an estimated quarter of a million tourists annually.

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