Preservation Ordinance to protect Richmond Hill’s historic buildings

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RICHMOND HILL, GA (WSAV) – As Richmond Hill grows, many of its historic buildings are in danger of being lost.

Many buildings are connected to Henry Ford’s legacy on the city.

“We really have embraced our historic roots here in Richmond Hill and the Henry Ford story here in Richmond Hill is a charming one of a kind story,” says Paige Glazer of the Richmond Hill Historical Society.

And it’s his story and influence they want visitors to see and hear about for years to come.

So the city unanimously voted on a historic preservation ordinance to keep structures, like the Ford Bakery, not just standing but also in tip-top shape.

“It began as an interest in creating a local historic district and then it was realized that in order to have a local historic district you have to have a local historic ordinance,” says Rebecca Fenwick of Lominack Kolman Smith Architects. “The historic preservation ordinance specifically outlines the creation of a historic preservation commission.”

The commission will have five members who will over see the preservation and protection of not just buildings, but artifacts. They will work closely with the Richmond Hill Historical Society, the Downtown Development Authority, Convention & Visitors Bureau, the City of Richmond Hill and Arts on the Coast. 

So who are some the people who make up this commission?

“Local city residents who have backgrounds in history, architecture, real estate, or a related field.”

Fenwick and her team are restoring the bakery to it’s 1930’s glory and it’ll become a visitors center and art gallery.

According to Glazer, the ordinance is adding a level of protection to Richmond Hill’s history.

“They (buildings) were always in jeopardy,” says Glazer. “If someone came by and if the real estate was worth more to them than the story, then those buildings could have possibly have been torn down. And now it will take a lot more for that to happen.”

With the addition of the ordinance, the city will be eligible for preservation grants from the state.

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