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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Milton buys old landmark for parks system.

By Patrick Fox
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Milton just got the perfect emblem of its dream of preserving a rustic lifestyle for residents.

The city, not quite 5 years old, has purchased what may be one of the oldest structures in Fulton County, a building so old it has had nearly a dozen names.

It has gone by the Hopewell House, the Stagecoach Inn, the McClesky-Day House and other names, mostly those of former owners. City officials estimate it was built in 1805.

"I believe it's the most historic structure within our city limits," said Patti Silva, a member of the Milton Historic Preservation Commission. "I screamed aloud when the city bought it."The building, which sits on 3 acres near the corner of Hopewell and Birmingham roads, originally had four main interior rooms. A two-room extension was used overnight by Moravian preachers as they passed through in the 1820s. Three more rooms were added in recent years.

The house was listed for $350,000 by Branch Banking and Trust, which owned the property through foreclosure. The city paid $250,000 for the property as part of its recent drive to bolster its parks and recreation portfolio.

In its first three years Milton spent a total of $51,000 on parks and park improvements.

But the city has been busy. So far this year, it has sunk $224,042 into restorations at the Bethwell Community Center, parkland acquisition and improvements at Bell Memorial Park off Hopewell Road. It also has budgeted $65,000 to develop plans for its parks and recreation department, its trail system and the yet-to-open Birmingham Park.

Overall, there are $1.85 million in capital expenses budgeted for parks and recreation this year, although it is likely most of that will carry over to 2012.

City officials said they were concerned Milton might lose one of its most historic landmarks when the house went into foreclosure about a year ago.

"The house was vacant and it was deteriorating," City Manager Chris Lagerbloom said. "Frankly, we got the bank down to about as low as they could take."
City crews have been out this week clearing dead trees and working to stabilize the structure.

No firm plans have been made, but City Councilman Bill Lusk said he would like to see the building restored for use as a culture center, much like Alpharetta's Mansell House.

It also could double as an archive for local memorabilia and documents from old Milton County, he said.

"I think it ties in well with the vision of the city as being interested in its history and promoting the rural character of the city," Lusk said.

44 comments:

Norm B. said...

The purchase of the property is great news for historic Milton. The council has done well in acquiring this piece of history. However, as a member of the HPC,I am curious as to who is supervising the city crews' work on the structure.

Anonymous said...

Council member Bailey of course!

Anonymous said...

We don't want anymore little dumpy houses!!! Start saving for the rec center for the kids and traffic light improvements. Also do not hire a park director for $85,000 when there is no money for a real park and recreation building.

Anonymous said...

Patti, why is a 4 room run down building exciting? Who has time to visit a historic piece of junk? Get a real life and take care of your family.

Anonymous said...

OMG! Election day cannot come soon enough for my and me who would love to see some REAL parks and recreation for Milton. These purchases are MADDENING!!!!

Anonymous said...

Amen!!!!

Anonymous said...

We definitely need a functional and inviting recreation center!!! A small house is really unacceptable.

Anonymous said...

We do need a parks director in my opinion. As many residents have stated, Tim is the most qualified person for this position. I rally behind these voters of conviction. He loves this area, has worked continuously for the community and would make the city proud of his innovative ideas.

Anonymous said...

These purchases are so irresponsible and serving some bizarre whim of a few people who are in, in my opinion, the very dangerous position of spending our very limited parks and recreation resources. This cannot continue!!

Anonymous said...

Remember this when re-election year rolls around for several council members plus mayor. We have to elect honorable and accountable people. That ethics course supposedly taken by the above failed miserably. Let's clean house starting with the so-called No. 1 position.

Anonymous said...

i guess everyone forgets about the survey results from a few years back where quite a few people wanted senior activity centers and similar places.this would make a great place for that and I'm sure Alpharetta spent quite a bit more on theirs, and this was a good deal, but I certainly do agree that a better job could be done with the money around here. develop some of the land we already own and don't waste any time on stupid bike or walking trails. if people want that its a short drive to Alpharetta or Cumming so no sense in wasting money there

Anonymous said...

Some one, or two of the over 20,000 residents wanted a city about 5 years ago. The nerve of all those people voting for incorporation.

Anonymous said...

To the 6:37 post,
How would an old dilapidated house serve as a good sr. center? The amount of money it is going to take to make this property available for public access is going to be ridiculous!!!

Anonymous said...

Who pays for the taxes, insurance, electricity and general lawn maintenance for this property? Tax payers of course. When did we ever say we wanted to buy and renovate old houses that fit less than 20 people? Someone needs to get council members to respond!!!

Anonymous said...

to 9:47 poster have you been to the house or just driven past it it won't take much to 10:31 again have you actually been to the building

Anonymous said...

In response to 12:25, I know the property, the fact is, in order to get a building up to code for public access, many changes will have to be made at our expense. And ultimately we will have a minimally functional property. I do not believe that the original intent was to procure a sr. center as there are far more suitable and functional sites. This is just one more disgraceful, irresponsible use of power by our city officials to satisfy there personal whims. Bring on election day!

Anonymous said...

yeh bring on election day and then what vote for nobody that is running against hewitt and nobody that is running against bailey. what a big difference you will make by doing that. even if santi ran against bailey I would still vote for her just because he would be worse

Anonymous said...

What a mess we are in of our own making. Maybe one, possibly two council members are worth holding on to when election time rolls around. The one official we must remove is the mayor.

Anonymous said...

hes worthless why bother

Anonymous said...

Again, we must elect a new mayor. Just look at the Roswell mayor, dynamic. Then,look at the Milton mayor.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Joe needs to wear a bow tie.

Anonymous said...

Norm B is thinking about wearing one.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Tim should wear a bow tie and run for mayor?

Anonymous said...

What could we have done with all that money in developing our 200 acre park that's sitting there doing nothing???
Who is behind all these purchases and at what point is buying a historic home part of recreation amn parks department? To do what, spend money to renovate and furnish for tours of an old house? Really?

Who's driving this spending train in our city?
I'd like a few more police officers rather than a historic home!

Why hasn't the city published the details of the city survey? Let's see exactly what the people of this town wanted? Why is the results so secretive? No transparency!!!
Time to get rid of the old timers on council and get some new blood! Too bad we can't do over the last election, I'd like to see if Thurman, Lusk and Lockwood would win again !

Anonymous said...

I agree, Tim for Mayor!

Anonymous said...

Lockwood has to go as well as Thurman and a few others. We need people who are ethical and working for the citizens of Milton.

Anonymous said...

lockwood would win again because he ran unopposed, duh

Anonymous said...

Someone would run against him if they were held again today. Duh

Anonymous said...

Maybe its not an issue about elections. This screams mis-use of public funds. that would certainly take care of some council positions. How are these purchases considered w/in the Parks and Rec budget?

Anonymous said...

The city didn't care about the house Richard Wernick the developer-builder demolished on Freemanville right before he flipped the propery to the Board of Ed.

He was punished with a tiny fine! That home was built in the late 1800's as well. Wernick is an Army Corps member and knew better than to tear it down. Amazing what people get away with to self benefit. All that's left is a slab. Hey city, the slab is historical, we need a historic marker!

Anonymous said...

George Ragsdale and Joe Lockwood both ran for the mayor's position in the first election. Too bad Lockwood won. We must have a mayor that works for the city, not his buddies.

Anonymous said...

why don't some of you who think you can do better put your name on the ballot and run for Mayor or council seat. Oh yeah, thinking twice about it? You probably are not from here anyway and don't really give a rats ass about what goes on in the city of Milton anyway.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the dynamic mayor from Roswell, could move to Milton, reside in this historic residence, run for mayor, and everything will be copasetic.

Anonymous said...

The city of Milton should be willing to give Jere Wood a house just for coming to our city and be the mayor.

Anonymous said...

we have enough nuts already

Anonymous said...

Dear 10:50 a.m. : http://www.cityofmiltonga.us/index.asp?Type=B_BASIC&SEC={31823598-9738-4A88-BD24-AC5D86BCF00F}

Anonymous said...

At this point, a bum on the street could do a better job than the current council members!!!!

Anonymous said...

Why is the city still in need of a parks director when we have the right person living in Milton? Tim is honorable, ethical and unbelievably innovative. So much interest by our citizens for him to have this position.
Wake up city hall and do the right thing.

Anonymous said...

When Tim was running for council he put out some rantings about how he hated kids and never wanted any. Why should he be in control of a park for kids? Just saying!

Anonymous said...

You are mistaken. Tim never said that. It was the work of his opponent, Neal Obrien, and his mud slinging group.

Anonymous said...

Neil Bin Lyin

Anonymous said...

The elections are going to suck, no one is even running against Julie or Burt so Lockwood gets two votes for a few years longer....
And Lance who?
Another guy out of touch with Milton who has to go around and meet and greet people to figure out what's actually going on in this town? is this all we got running out of 30,000 residents! Someone turn back the time machine to 2005 and stop us from becoming Milton!

Anonymous said...

We do not need to pay $85k for a parks director. That was such a joke what she did for that money. Get a director when there is actually money saved up to do something besides buy old houses.

Anonymous said...

Milton is not rustic, rual, cultural,or anything else...Milton is a place for half educated, silver spoon 30 somethings to steal from everyone and act like they are doing something....in 10 years Milton will look just like Roswell, Sandy Springs, Marietta, etc...This city and everyone in it is a joke......

Going back to Rhode Island where people don't lie, they just steal!