NC: The city recently gave $10,000 for the renovation of the old Trinity School/Fort Henderson project and $10,000 for the renovation of the Beaty-Mason home on the campus of Athens State University. Historic structures can be found throughout the city, yet the city’s Historical Preservation Commission only addresses historic homes in a handful of neighborhoods. Do you think the city needs a commission that would oversee historic preservation of structures throughout the city? Why or why not?
Horner: I believe the commission should work with the community as a private partnership. The Historical Preservation Commission (HPC) could purchase the homes, fix them up to their standards and sell them to the community. The profit of the sale of these homes could allow them to continue this process as long as they desire. This private entrepreneur approach allows them to showcase homes in all neighborhoods.
The HPC could also work with private owners of homes where the owners would like to restore their property to the original look and colors. I am personally very familiar with restoring historical homes, and realize a lot of detail is involved with historical renewal. Most require the homes to be cleaned down to the structural framing to allow for new amenities to be installed in the same spaces. The HPC could also help with designs of new homes on empty lots near the current historical homes to compliment the original structures of their era.
I believe the private approach to design, refurbish and selling these homes will be more efficient in the private sector. I believe the city of Athens can encourage the private partnership by reducing or forgiving the permit fees of the houses the HPC chooses to take into its care. This action will encourage growth and increase the values of the homes in these areas.