By Stewart Voegtlin
Jackson residents Bill Mauldin and Cheryl Hilderbrand have taken up the torch for historic preservation.
Cheryl Hilderbrand spoke to the Jackson City Council at its April 9 meeting about the recent formation of a "Quality of Life Committee," and asked the council members what the committee could do to improve the quality of life in Jackson.
"Sheri Hudson and I recently went to a tourism conference," Hilderbrand said. "We learned many things at this conference and most importantly we learned there is a lot of money out there, particularly for historic preservation."
Hilderbrand said some of the more important points discussed at the conference include "community," and emphasized working together.
"It was repeatedly stressed that if the community is fragmented, nothing happens," Hilderbrand said. "Every small town is unique. We have to ask who we are and what is special about us. We are working towards securing money for historic preservation." Jackson Mayor Charlie Brown told Hilderbrand the city had twice attempted historic preservation.
"The city had a historic preservation committee," Brown said. "They determined the entire town was historic, so we backed off."
Mayor Brown said the city funded a historical study executed by the University of Georgia, but it wasn't completed.
Mauldin told the Progress-Argus he confirmed the study was done but said it fell through the cracks somehow.
"Jackson initiated a historical study years ago," Mauldin said. "Historic designation could allow the city to do a lot of things it can't do right now, like circumvent certain codes and apply for grants. Historic designation would set guidelines for the downtown square and for city streets that would be beneficial to the area."
Hilderbrand told the Progress-Argus she was concerned with the intangibles.
"We need to ask ourselves why we want to live in a small town," Hilderbrand said. "What is it that makes our city great? We need to celebrate and feel pride in our community.
Mayor Brown said the survey must be completed before anything is done.
"We are not opposed to historic preservation," Brown said. "If we were we never would have funded the survey."