How would you like to wake up and find that Oberlin Village is a protected Historic District?
It happened in Athens, GA. Could it happen here too? If the Planning Department can come up with a new category of Historic District, there could be areas of Southeast Raleigh (College Park-Idlewood for one) saved as well.
Black history victory: Reese area now protected district
In its heyday of the late 1800s through the 1960s, the neighborhood was also home to the local black middle and upper classes, including prominent businessmen, lawyers, educators, doctors, dentists and ministers.
By Blake Aued | firstname.lastname@example.org | Story updated at 11:46 PM on Wednesday, July 2, 2008
The oldest black neighborhood in Athens now will be protected for future generations.
More than two years after a University of Georgia fraternity sparked outrage around Reese Street by buying land for a new house, the Athens-Clarke Commission designated the neighborhood a historic district late Tuesday night.
"This particular area is rich in African-American history," Commissioner George Maxwell said.
Maxwell, 70, recalled attending Reese Street Middle School, now a Masonic lodge. Two of the state's first black high schools, the Knox Institute and Athens High and Industrial School, both now demolished, were located nearby.
In its heyday of the late 1800s through the 1960s, the neighborhood was also home to the local black middle and upper classes, including prominent businessmen, lawyers, educators, doctors, dentists and ministers. Some still remain, but crime and drugs caused a decline as homeowners died or moved away. When residents and police began cleaning it up, college students started moving into new rental houses and the neighborhood gentrified.
The influx of students, specifically the Kappa Alpha fraternity, led residents to seek the historic district in 2006. New construction, tear-downs and some exterior renovations require permission from Athens-Clarke officials in historic districts, so residents will have more control over development.
"They won't have to wake up in the morning with bulldozers in their front yard," Maxwell said.
Reese Street joins nine other Athens historic districts and is the first primarily black neighborhood to gain the distinction.
In other business, the commission:
Voted unanimously to accept the donation of a new Little League baseball field at the Holland Youth Sports Complex in honor of Allen and Madison Mays, a local doctor and his son who died in a car crash last year.
Voted 9-1 to revise the county tree ordinance to set tree canopy goals for active recreation parks when approving master plans for those parks. Commissioner Carl Jordan dissented.
Published in the Athens Banner-Herald on 070308