Historic stones tipped and broken
By Jennifer Flowers
Leroy Lewis, president of the Jefferson County Historical Society, walks through the Louisville City Cemetery, stopping every so often at various gravesites.
Just months earlier, he had walked the same path to point out the rich history hidden among the headstones.
Now he points to the rubble that remains of many of the monuments that once stood proud.
Their destruction was at the hand of four youths, ages 12 to 15, who simply decided to have some risky fun while hanging out in the cemetery on July 6 and 7.
“Some of it is irreparable damage,” said Lewis. “We must teach our young generations that burial places are not playgrounds.”
In all 14 headstones were harmed.
The Cheatham plot, the William Fleming headstone in the Clark Section, two stones in the Isaac Farmer section, and the stones of T.H. Warr and Pauline Pressley were among those damaged.
Some were broken into many pieces; others were simply knocked from their foundations.
Because many of the slabs were held in place by a tongue-and-groove design rather than epoxy, the children were able to push them over without much effort.
The age of many of the gravesites, some of which were more than 100 years old, may make locating relatives who might be able to identify and restore the tombstones a difficult task.
“Some can be reset, but some are damaged pretty well,” Chief Miller said. “Some of the monuments fell on slabs and totally demolished them. Some of them can’t be repaired or replaced.”
“Some stones could be repositioned without difficulty and expense,” Lewis agreed. “Others with multiple breaks and pieces would be expensive to repair.
“While the Historical Society can’t take responsibility for repairing the damage, we can advise people of some good preservation and repair techniques and materials.”
The Jefferson County Historical Society plans to take inventory of all damaged stones, the extent of the damage, and the basic location of each according to a Global Positioning System, along with some photographs.
While the group is collecting the information primarily for informational purposes, it is also willing to share it with other people if needed.
The children all face charges of criminal damage to property, to be dealt with through juvenile court.
Voters give local seats to incumbents
By Jessica Newberry
As of Tuesday at 10:30 p.m. results from local elections showed area voters choosing incumbents in both Jefferson County commission districts one and three.
District One Commissioner Gonice Davis defeated challenger Don Hall by 53 votes, 324 to 271. Hall carried Louisville 20 to Davis' 14 and Bartow 53 to Davis' 34. However, Wadley voters showed up in support of Davis casting 235 votes in his favor and 178 for Hall. Both absentee and advanced ballots also fell in Davis' favor 24 to six and 17 to 14 respectively.
District Three Commissioner Sydney Norton retained his seat over challenger David Hastings by 56 votes, 173 to 117.
Hastings took Matthews and Avera, 11 to 10 and 26 to 13 respectively.
Norton took Wrens 124 to 58 and Stapleton 25 to 22. He also received a single vote in Louisville.
Wadley had the county's best overall turnout with 25.08 percent of registered voters casting 453 ballots. Bartow was second with 22.79 percent or 111 ballots cast. Next was Stapleton Crossroads with 20.95 percent or 75 ballots. Avera was fourth with 20.28 percent or 58 ballots.
DAJC closes on final portion of 660 acre property outside Wrens
• Tony Wren gets buy-back provision if no development occurs within the next 10 years
By Jessica Newberry
The Development Authority of Jefferson County (DAJC) has obtained the third piece of an over 660-acre tract for industrial development, completing the package with valuable access to the railroad.
The third portion, a 240-acre tract belonging to Tony C. Wren Enterprises, LLC, was purchased by the DAJC on Tuesday, June 27, despite Wren’s refusal to sell in late May.
We kept working with him and were able to resolve all of the issues,” said DAJC Chairman Bill Easterlin. “There is a buy-back provision in place so [Wren] can purchase the property at its appraised value if no development occurs within the next 10 years.”
This page has been accessed times.
The property also includes a 317-acre tract sold by the estate of Nina T. McCorquodale on May 25 and a 105-acre tract sold by Gail W. Arrington on May 26. The purchase was financed by First State Bank of Jefferson County for $1.7 million, in keeping with Easterlin’s preference to keep the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) funds within the county.
“This is a fairly large industrial tract adjacent to the railroad,” Easterlin said. “It has specific characteristics to sell, and we are looking for industrial clients.”
Located north of Campground Road, east of Kings Mill Road and west of the rail line, the property was compared to five other sites in the north end of Jefferson County. The Georgia Tech Economic Development Institute completed a detailed analysis of cost, location, cost of necessary infrastructure and total acreage versus usable acreage as a comparison between the six sites.
“We looked at several sites and had state site developers come in before we settled on this particular property,” Easterlin said. “These developers know the site well, and we are hoping that this will draw interest to the county.”
The property, referred to as “Site 1,” was the largest of the six and had the highest estimate of usable acreage. Key factors in determining which site would be most appealing to potential industries included access to the railroad and the ability to bring infrastructure to the site.
“This is a great asset to market on a regional basis,” Easterlin said, “and we would like to get additional infrastructure to the site.”
The DAJC is currently working with the city of Wrens to organize water, sewage and three-phase current for the site to attract outside industries.
According to Easterlin, the DAJC has shown the property to several interested parties and is currently involved in two active conversations with returning parties.
“With access to the railroad, we hope this will increase jobs as well as economic development in the county,” Easterlin said. “We appreciate the land owners who were willing to work with us on this project.”