At an event held on April 2, 2007, U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Regional Director Bob Young awarded Sandersville, Georgia the designation of a Preserve America Community. Joining HUD Regional Director Bob Young was Sandersville Mayor James W. Andrews; Mr. Ray Luce, Division Director of the Historic Preservation Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources; the Sandersville City Council; Washington County Board of Commissioners; Senator Johnny Isakson's office; Congressman John Barrow's office; the Washington County Chamber of Commerce; the Washington County Historical Society; the Georgia Department of Economic Development; the Old City Cemetery Renaissance Committee and Restoration Committee; the Downtown Development Authority; and other local leaders.
HUD Atlanta Regional Office Director Bob Young; Sandra Willis, City Clerk, Mayor Jimmy Andrews - accepting the award. Back row from left to right, Councilman Henry Watts, Councilman Tony Dominy, Councilperson Martha Armstrong, County Commissioner Horace Daniels, City employee Jim Collins, City Administrator Will Goforth, City Financial Officer Cynthia Maddox, Fire Chief Russell Riner, Public Works Director Robert Eubanks.
In an effort to promote the Preserve America initiative and preserve historic communities, HUD has partnered with the Advisory Council, other federal agencies, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the President's Council on Environmental Quality, and the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities. First Lady Laura Bush is the honorary chair of Preserve America. To date, 458 communities have been designated as Preserve America communities.
"Preserve America Communities, neighborhoods, and grant recipients know the importance of historic preservation to the economic, educational, esthetic, and cultural life of America, as well as to their residents, their visitors, and especially to their children," said HUD Regional Director Bob Young. "The citizens of Sandersville, Georgia do a great job of preserving and promoting their heritage."
HUD Regional Director Bob Young
The City of Sandersville has supported the preservation of its historic environment by participating in the Georgia Main Street program and by pursuing listing in the National Register of Historic Places for many of its eligible properties. In 2005 the historic T.J. Elder School received $20,000 in grant funding through the Georgia Heritage grant program to repair the roof and the foundation. In 2006, the historic Old City Cemetery was awarded $18,000 in funding to help with the second phase of the cemetery's preservation plan. The city also applied for and received a Preserve America subgrant through the State Historic Preservation Officer to develop much-needed signage and a new brochure for the Old City Cemetery.
Sandersville's efforts to increase tourism are reflected in the city's revitalized downtown business district. This revitalization has been spearheaded by the successful Georgia Main Street program, and revolves around the historic county courthouse, a strong community landmark. Washington County is known as the "Kaolin Capital of the World", and the annual Kaolin Festival is held each October. The city, and particularly the Old City Cemetery, is featured in March to the Sea Heritage Trail (a Civil War driving tour) that recognizes Union General William Tecumseh Sherman's campaign in 1864.
Preserve America is a White House initiative that encourages and supports community efforts to preserve and enjoy our priceless cultural and natural heritage. The goals of the initiative include a greater shared knowledge about the nation's past, strengthened regional identities and local pride, increased local participation in preserving the country's cultural and natural heritage assets, and support for the economic vitality of our communities.
"In addition to governments, the private sector - businesses, philanthropic groups, historical organizations, educational institutions, and private citizens - also have a crucial role to play. Public-private partnerships are already supporting excellent preservation work throughout our country, and they'll be vital to preserving our national treasures in the years ahead," said Mrs. Bush.
For further information on the Preserve America initiative go to: www.preserveamerica.gov