Last October there was a pair of wonderful presentations regarding
historic preservation. First was Leigh Burns,
Preservation Planner, at the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Mandy Elliott, who is a Historic Preservation
Planner for Cobb County, followed her.
I knew very little about historic preservation and the meanings of “historic districts” and how they can fulfill an important
role in protecting our heritage. I was very pleased to learn about the
differences between a National Register District and a Local Historic
District. I also learned the benefits
of Smyrna becoming a Certified Local Government (CLG) Program. We are not one now and becoming one is quite
involved, but, it would benefit the city immensely to provide the framework for
protection of our historic past. Cobb
County is a CLG and supports historic preservation in unincorporated Cobb
County; however, Smyrna is behind. Other
area cities such as Kennesaw, which is a CLG, and Marietta and Acworth, who
have Historic Preservation Ordinances
, have taken the initiative and have
committed themselves to historic preservation.
As such, I encourage our city council and mayor to pursue the process of
becoming a CLG.
Leigh provided a one-page flyer about the key personnel
involved in the Historic Preservation Division.
A more detailed version of the information is in the Staff Directory
on the Georgia DNR, Historic Preservation Division
We learned a lot about the CLG Program. There is a great flyer about the CLG program
We were enlightened regarding what the differences in
capabilities and authority are between a National Register Historic District
and a Local Historic District. (See
The Georgia DNR – Historic Preservation Division provides a
roadmap to success at http://georgiashpo.org/community/hpo
It starts with public education. I encourage everyone to learn
about the process, understand what the benefits are, and see how the actions affect
property owners. It is not as impactful on property owners as you might expect. For example, I
learned the program does nothing about the insides of the building or a building’s use.
Next, the city needs to draft a Historic PreservationOrdinance. The Georgia DNR-HPD has a model Historic Preservation Ordinance for entites to use. They also have other information that shows the
basis for preservation ordinances and Public
relations tips .
In the second presentation, Mandy Elliott talked about
various projects of historic preservation that have occurred in unincorporated
Cobb County and there are a lot of them.
She also mentioned driving tours of Cobb County; there are three
of them. She had flyers for them after the meeting; however, route maps and information are
available at the Cobb County Community Development Agency webpages, http://comdev.cobbcountyga.gov/historic-markers/driving-tour.htm
I can’t wait for the next free “top down” day
to begin my historical driving tour of the county.
Again, I think Smyrna should pursue becoming a Certified Local Government. The process will help the city define more sites that are truly historic and might even bump up our number of historic sites on the driving tour from a paltry three locations.