Looking to the past, planning the future

Friday, June 6, 2008

Marshall County edged closer toward preserving its urban and rural history in separate meetings on Tuesday.

In the morning, members of the Marshall County Historical Zoning Commission, led by Fern Greenbank, identified their purpose as the preservation of Marshall County's rural history, mostly farms, structures on farms, and crossroads communities. They only have the authority to make recommendations to the County Commission, and these recommendations must relate to the rural areas, not to any of the municipalities.

The first step appears to be identifying what needs to be preserved. Commission member Don Jeter has a tremendous amount of data on the historic structures in the county, including more than 2,000 photographs. These, plus copies of the Marshall County Historical Quarterly, are all housed in the Museum at the Hardison Office Annex. Greenbank is going to obtain a copy of a Middle Tennessee State University study of historic structures.

Dr. John Kiser of Cornersville, another panel member, said he thought the general attitude toward preservation was one of "apathy." He said the Heritage Foundation in Franklin had become so important because the people who worked on it were the economic, political and social leaders of the community.

"You've got to have support of the 'movers and shakers' in the community to do any good," Kiser said.

Once the locales to be preserved are identified, the commission can suggest a zoning "overlay," which means that property owners in the area have to ask permission before building new structures or modifying old ones. It does not mean that they cannot build or re-model; it just means the Historical Zoning Commission has a chance to make recommendations that would keep the appearance of the area intact.

Kiser and Jamie Ledford will work on a survey to identify historic areas and structures and determine landowners' willingness to work with the historic zoning commission.

They agreed that it would be a good idea to add members to bring their total up to the permitted nine. Gilbert Hunter from Anes Station, a third-generation dairy farmer, was suggested, as was Georgann Blackburn, who has historical renovation experience and is currently working on an old residence she bought in Cornersville.

Mayor Joe Boyd Liggett, who has been active in the Farm Bureau, has promised to come to the next meeting, which will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday, July 8.

Tuesday evening Lewisburg Mayor Bob Phillips welcomed a ...Pick up a copy of today's edition, Friday, June 6, 2008, for entire story.