Progress versus Preservation near VSU

| September 17, 2014

NICHOLS+HOUSE+VALDOSTAChip Harp, Valdosta Today:

VALDOSTA — Progress versus preservation.  Since the 1960’s this issue has, rightly, been a concern for developers as the need for expansion conflicts with the obligation to preserve historic structures.  Anyone driving down Patterson Street in Valdosta can see the results of this struggle.

Case in point is a home near the Valdosta State University campus that may affect plans for a new student housing development.

In last week’s Valdosta City Council meeting, Council voted 5-2 in favor of re-zoning nearly 4 acres of land in the Alden Park Community, near the campus. Some neighbors in the community stand firmly against the development, which would include a 180-bed student housing complex, and say it takes away from their neighborhood, based on a report from WCTV’s Winnie Wright.

“Safety has been one of our concerns.  We see no need”, residents of Alden Park told Wright.

Is it safety, preservation, or a desire to stop change and progress?  Regardless, residents have voiced concern and want it blocked.

Preservation may provide residents the block they seek.  The Valdosta Historic Preservation Commission claims one house, the so-called Nicols House, could determine the future of the entire neighborhood.  The house was most recently home to the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity as a tenant.

“Because an application has been filed for that historic designation, there’s interim protection, currently in place for the Nicols house”, says Emily Foster, City of Valdosta Historic Preservation Planner.  That application will at least delay further action by the developers.

Why is a former fraternity house so special? According to the Preservation Commission the architectural style is important.  Is it?  That is always the question in the Progress versus Preservation debate.

Here’s the timeline.  On October 6th, The Preservation Commission will make a recommendation to The City as to their opinion of the significance of the structure.  Then, on October 23rd, Valdosta City Council will vote on the home’s historic status. If deemed Historic, the commission will have to give permission, to move the home, demolish it, or re-purpose the house.

According to reports, the Attorney for the Alden Park Home Owners Association has filed an Ante Litem Notice with The City of Valdosta because of the rezoning request.

Valdosta Today will update you as the process continues.

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4 Comments on "Progress versus Preservation near VSU"

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  1. Mike Argonne says:

    Really? I can understand if the people just don’t want it in their neighborhood…. But to call that house historical just because of the way it was built????

    That house is ugly!!!! Make your argument based on the impact on the neighborhood, not because of some house.

  2. Jacob Fox says:

    This is why Valdosta will never grow or advance. You have idiots that claim this junky house is a historical place, I don’t see them stepping up and fixing all the broken windows and the dilapidated structure.

  3. Sarah P says:

    The house with all the broken mirrors is historical? If it is, someone needs to step up to the plate and fix it so it is not the ugly eyesore that it is on the corner. It is dangerous with all that broken glass. Such a shame that it is in disrepair from the former tenants who obviously didn’t care that it was “historical.” Maybe they should be made to pay for repairs to restore it to it’s glory days!

  4. Sam W says:

    There are deeper issues going on in the neighborhoods surrounding VSU that need to be addressed before any more apartment complexes are allowed to be built. The entire Toombs Street corridor south from VSU is littered with vacancies. The huge project planned for the block on Brookwood between Toombs and Oak appears to be on hold. Another project a little further up Baytree from the Alden property appears to be on hold also.
    There are renovation projects; several houses have been renovated and several more are in the process; two on Patterson and two on Oak.
    Perhaps the continuing drop in enrollment at VSU needs to be taken into consideration by all interested city leaders.
    Fall, 2011, 13,089; Spring, 2012, 12,277; Fall 2012, 12,515; Spring 2013, 11,760; Fall 2013 11,885; Spring 2014, 11,265.