Century-old Parks Building demolished
The end has come for the Parks Building and is imminent for the Butler Building.
The demolition on the downtown structure began a day early with the taking down of the Parks Building commencing early Tuesday morning.
Several locals watched as two pieces of heavy machinery started to take down the more than century old Parks Building from the backside.
Mayor Sam Norton said property owner Roberta Green-Garrett had “a completed demolition permit” and that all paperwork for the demolition project had been filed.
“The Parks building is coming down today,” he said. “But, the Butler building will come down at a later date as there is still some abatement being done on the building. The two buildings are on two different time tables.”
Norton wasn’t sure when the demolition of the Butler Building would start, but he believes it could be as soon as the end of the week.
The demolition of the Parks Buildings marks the end of one of Dahlonega’s oldest buildings near the downtown square which, according to Anne Dismukes Amerson’s Dahlonega Historic Public Square; Then and Now Stories About the Buildings and the People, served as stores and residences for years and housed the Parks Clothing Store for over a half a century.
On July 2, the city council voted 4-2 to approve a consent order that sealed the fate of the two downtown buildings. The vote ended a three-year saga between the City and Green-Garrett about whether or not the property owner could construct a proposed hotel project at the location.
The terms of the city's consent order require that Green-Garrett build a hotel on the property, that the hotel will be limited to a maximum of 75 rooms, that the hotel's central heating and air-conditioning be prohibited for those rooms fronting Main Street and that the hotel will include an exercise room, a lobby, a business office area and an outdoor swimming pool.
The building is also not supposed to exceed 36.2 feet in height and the size of the meeting space in the hotel should be a minimum of 1,000 square feet with unobstructed views and designed and constructed consistent with International Association of Conference Centers (IACC) standards. On-site parking in accordance to city ordinances is supposed to be provided as well.
Hints of the looming demolition became evident last week when the city asked Green-Garrett to construct a barrier fence around the two properties.
The barrier fence was completed and noticeable on Monday morning.
“It is more of a defensive posture,” Norton said. “With increased tourist volume for Gold Rush, the fencing will help protect visitors from the broken windows and the dilapidated condition of the buildings. It’s a public safety thing.”