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It's Just an Old House

So, why save it? Why now?

There's been quite a bit of discussion over the last few months about the Chivers House located on Bellevue Avenue. The future of this lovely, Spanish revival house, built in 1920 is unknown. That's not to say that there are any intentions to demolish the house necessarily, but any historic property without a plan for preservation could be considered in danger of being razed.

Today's edition of The Courier Herald contains an editorial written by publisher DuBose Porter as an appeal to the members of First Baptist Church, the owner of the Chivers House. The commentary provides a little more insight about the decision the church faces tomorrow if you would like to check it out. I've shared a portion of it below.

The active members of First Baptist Church will vote tomorrow on whether or not to sell the property to the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation. The sell of the property would help to prevent further deterioration and potentially set a plan in motion for its preservation. It's not the only option to save it, but it's a good one.

It is a tough decision for the church, and I wanted to take a few minutes to talk about it.

First, to the congregation of First Baptist Church, know that we love you and we support you. Additionally, we truly appreciate the tireless work and dedication you have put into your campus over the years, preserving your historic sanctuary, and serving as an anchor to not only our downtown but our entire community. Strong and active churches are the bedrock of our community, and I want to make sure that is not lost in the conversation.

So, why now? Why all the interest in saving a house that's been sitting vacant and slowly deteriorating for years? That's a fair question. And, if I were a member of the church, it would be a question I would ask.

Here's my thoughts -- The revival of our downtown is not simply about the historic buildings. It's about the preservation of our community. It's about recognizing what makes our community unique and building an appreciation of our history. The work to revitalize our downtown - the downtown that First Baptist Church is a part of - is the work of many, many people over several decades. It is the culmination of years of re-educating ourselves on the cultural and economic impact of a strong city center, anchored by small, locally-owned businesses, beautiful public spaces, and safe, family-friendly events.

It's also about the money. Now, that may not be the best way to phrase it, but it's the simplest. The quality of life in our community depends on the economic impact of strategic investment. We've seen first hand what the investment in a historic downtown can do. It can save public facilities like Theatre Dublin and the Carnegie Library. It can transform eyesores into centers for higher education like the Skyscraper. It can create jobs, increase tax revenues through small businesses and tourism, and most importantly it can instill a since of belonging for future generations. The greatest economic benefits of preserving our historic buildings and investing in downtown and the joining neighborhoods are yet to be seen. It's important for us all to understand that we are not making these decisions for us, we're making these decisions for our children and grandchildren.

As parents, don't we all think about setting our children up for the future? We invest in things like their education and their health to make sure they will be viable members of society. The same applies to our community. Making the right investments now will leave a legacy of prosperity for future generations.

So, is it just an old house? Or, is it an opportunity for us to leave a historic home for our children and future visitors to enjoy? I hope the members of First Baptist Church will understand how much our community values their contributions. And, I hope the church will consider selling the house to the Georgia Trust or restoring it. Most importantly, thanks for your consideration of community input.

-Tara B.

An exert from "Our Take," The Courier Herald, May 6, 2017, written by DuBose Porter:

Dublin has made a recognizable reputation in historic preservation. The renovation of Theatre Dublin from the old Martin Theatre, the saving of the old Carnegie Library building, the Fred Robert's Hotel renovated for offices and living spaces, the renovation of the old Post Office and the renovation of the Skyscraper have garnered state and national awards for repurposing historic buildings.

 

The redevelopment of downtown Dublin has brought a renaissance for cultural events, parks and activities and investment in business, but more than anything an appreciation of historic architecture of our community and making it special.

 

The First Baptist Church has been a big partner in this effort. The congregation has the opportunity to continue that partnership by voting to allow the sale of the Chivers House to the Georgia Trust so that it can be stabilized and restored.

 

There are enough covenants and restrictive easements that can be applied to the future use of the property to alleviate any concern of the congregation.

 

To not allow the sale would be setting the fate of the property to further deterioration to a point of dilapidation. That would be a shame.

 

The Chivers were members of First Baptist and in fact the first couple to wed in the now-historic sanctuary. Their grandchildren have raised the resources as a gift to the Georgia Trust to purchase and save this house.

Our community has lost so many of its historic houses and buildings over the years due to a lack of resources to fix them. What we have left in historic structures are just so precious. In this case, with the Chivers House the resources are being provided to purchase and save the house.

 

We encourage the congregation to vote to sell the property to the Georgia Trust, so the Chivers House can be restored.

-DuBose Porter

An exert from "Our Take," The Courier Herald, May 6, 2017, written by DuBose Porter:

Dublin has made a recognizable reputation in historic preservation. The renovation of Theatre Dublin from the old Martin Theatre, the saving of the old Carnegie Library building, the Fred Robert's Hotel renovated for offices and living spaces, the renovation of the old Post Office and the renovation of the Skyscraper have garnered state and national awards for repurposing historic buildings.

The redevelopment of downtown Dublin has brought a renaissance for cultural events, parks and activities and investment in business, but more than anything an appreciation of historic architecture of our community and making it special.

The First Baptist Church has been a big partner in this effort. The congregation has the opportunity to continue that partnership by voting to allow the sale of the Chivers House to the Georgia Trust so that it can be stabilized and restored.

There are enough covenants and restrictive easements that can be applied to the future use of the property to alleviate any concern of the congregation.

To not allow the sale would be setting the fate of the property to further deterioration to a point of dilapidation. That would be a shame.

The Chivers were members of First Baptist and in fact the first couple to wed in the now-historic sanctuary. Their grandchildren have raised the resources as a gift to the Georgia Trust to purchase and save this house.

Our community has lost so many of its historic houses and buildings over the years due to a lack of resources to fix them. What we have left in historic structures are just so precious. In this case, with the Chivers House the resources are being provided to purchase and save the house.

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