The Milton Historic Preservation Commission recommended that the former Hardeman's Groceries on Hopewell Road be given a historic preservation designation during its meeting Monday, July 16 at .
A slight bit of controversy came to light when commission member Norman Broadwell said in his discussions with residents of that part of Milton, he learned that the store was built in the 1950s, not in the 1900-1910 era as the report prepared by the Community Development Department seemed to state. But that same report said the store was used as a country general store beginning in the 1950s, and staff revealed that's that the application by the current property owner stated.
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Broadwell said that interior changes weren't that critical in historic preservation status, but external changes were. So the metal roof that replaced the original shingles roof, and the addition of a covered porch and double doors to replace a single door were problems for him.
He also said that the store wasn't used as a true general store, which sold staples for the farm such as feed as well as groceries.
"I see this more as a convenience store than a traditional country store," Broadwell said.
But to Commission member Patti Silva, the 60-plus-year-old building definitely deserved the historic status.
"It does have cultural significance," she said.
The store's original architecture is considered a prime example of the country store that was built between the 1890s and the 1930s, the staff report prepared by Angela Rambeau said.
The original store was wood framed with wood clapboard construction, she said. It sits on a stacked stone pier foundation. Originally it had two gas pumps out front and a propane tank at the side of the building, but those have been removed. The building is vacant.
In 2006 and 2007, renovations were performed on the store that added the front porch, a new roof, updated heating and air conditioning and electrical systems. But the original floor plan remained.
Mark Hancock, another Commission member, read a detailed explanation that he doesn't have a conflict of interest in the issue because the division of his company in which he works has no business interests with the property owners, Reunion Park LLC. He said he checked with the city attorney to make sure there were no ethical problems.
After making that statement, Hancock made the motion to recommend the store be given historic status. The motion passed on a 4-2 vote, with Hancock, Silva, Pam Gillig and Ken Sisson voting in favor. Chairman Travis Allen and Broadwell voted against the designation, and Allison Byrnes was absent.