Thursday, June 28, 2012

New Milton library site sits on history.

Members of Carroll Realty, Glenn Fletcher (left) and Wes Williams (right), with Williams' daughter, Colleen, said they are proud of their part in bringing Milton its own library, on the Dinsmore farm in Crabapple.

Courtesy Jonathan Copsey; The Milton Herald

June 25, 2012

MILTON, Ga. — Milton's new public library will be at the corner of Charlotte Drive and Mayfield Road, in downtown Crabapple. The county paid $1.1 million for the 4.09-acre piece of historic property where the homestead of the Dinsmore family still stands.

With a large white house sitting up on a slight rise from the road, there are two barns and a smaller, yellow house on the property. There are plenty of large trees on the property, including two massive oaks. A family of turkey vultures has taken up roost in one of the barns.

The Dinsmore farm belonged to Theodore Roosevelt (T.R.) Dinsmore and his wife Imogene. While the white farm house dates back to the 1950's, the property has been in the family for much longer.

"You would see [T.R.] sitting on his porch at all times," said Wes Williams, a long-time area resident and real estate agent for the property.

At one point, the Dinsmore family owned a large percentage of the Crabapple area, Williams said.

T.R. died in 2005 and Imogene died in 2009.

Drivers-by might recall that the property has had a "for sale" sign out front for the past several years.

Williams and Glenn Fletcher are partners in Carroll Realty, the Realtors who have tried to sell the property for the past seven years.

It was slow going, Fletcher said, trying to find the right developer and development for such an important site in Crabapple, especially with the newly formed City of Milton.

"This is the last big parcel in Crabapple that wouldn't require an assemblage of lots," said Fletcher. "We went looking for the right fit."
They then heard about the $275 million library bond.

"When Wes and I happened to along how Fulton County passed their bond and they were looking for a library site, we knew it was a perfect site," said Fletcher.

The lot has road visibility and is within walking distance of several schools – Milton High School, Northwestern Middle School and Crabapple Elementary School – all important criteria for site selection by the library board.

The realtors reached out to the library director, John Szabo, and invited him to walk the site.

This was all in 2008. Two years later, Fletcher, Williams and Williams' 10-year-old daughter, Colleen, went to a Library Board of Trustees meeting to make their case.

They think the decision was made easier for the board when young Colleen stood up and wanted to speak.

"She told them, 'I think that Charlotte Drive would be a great location for your new library,'" said Williams. "She got up there and was unfazed by the people in the room."

The Fulton County Commission voted at their June 6 meeting to approve the $1.1 million to purchase the Dinsmore estate. The motion to approve came from North Fulton Commissioner Liz Hausmann and was unanimously approved.

The 25,000-square-foot library is part of 10 new or renovated libraries that were approved in a 2008 referendum worth $275 million, and work has been moving on a few sites since then. The library in Roswell already has preliminary designs drawn up, and the new Alpharetta Library is part of the new designs of downtown Alpharetta. The next step for the library is for architecture and designs to be drawn up.

For Fletcher and Williams, it's a perfect fit for Milton.

"It's nice to think this piece of property will be the center of learning for young kids," said Fletcher, who also helps teach special needs children at the Old Milton High School.

"This is one of the main entrances into Milton," said Williams. "What better way for a city to be represented than a landmark to learning?"

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