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Historic Hopewell House closer to opening



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March 11, 2013
MILTON, Ga. –The historic Hopewell House took another step toward reopening in one of Georgia's youngest cities.

The 19th century house secured a design firm at the March 4 council meeting in a 6-1 vote. Councilmember Matt Kunz was the sole dissenter.

The Wiley and Wilson architectural firm from Lynchburg, Va., was chosen for the $115,500 renovation.

"We chose Wiley and Wilson based upon their vast experience on historic structures," Public Works Director Carter Lucas said. "They take into consideration the historic nature of this project as well as the use that we're going for."

Wiley and Wilson were chosen out of 10 firms on a qualifications-based selection. City leaders did not negotiate price with any of the firms and only with Wiley and Wilson once they were picked from the 10.

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The contract will be broken up into three different parts and allocated different portions of the $115,500 budget. The first is pre-design and will take $36,300. The second is architectural and civil drawings for construction documents and will be given $37,700. The final part is construction administration and will have the remaining $40,000. The city is on budget with the previous concept plan drawn up for the house, according to city officials.

"I wish the city didn't own this land," Kunz said. "If it has got to be done, it's got to be done well. At some point, I hope we are able to put a statue of a horse in the middle of it, but at the same time, I wish the city didn't own it."

Council approved the rezoning of the site at the last council meeting. The historic building will be renovated as a senior center. Kunz also objected to the rezoning because of potential traffic risks at the Thompson and Hopewell Road intersection.

Once renovated, the Hopewell House is eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.

The money for renovation came from a $295,000 fund from Fulton County, mainly thanks in part from Commissioner Liz Hausmann.

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ALSO AT THE MEETING

• The Milton City Council heard the first reading of a proposed zoo at 14325 Hopewell Road. The decision will be voted on at the next meeting.

• Fulton County Schools presented their new five-year strategic plan to Milton. They spoke on investing more than $2 million in the schools' technology programs. Fulton County School leaders said they plan to focus on accountability, enhancing the students, teachers and staff as well as creating more of a supportive culture. Several goals are for 90 percent of students to graduate on time and 85 percent of them ready for college. School leaders said Milton more than hit that mark, and they had to create stretch goals for the students here to reach. Ultimately, leaders said, the goal of this new plan was to create more freedom within each school from administration to classes.

• Councilmembers also heard the first reading of new zoning proposals to rezone the northeast corner of Bethany Bend and Cogburn Road by Arrowhead Real Estate Partners from Agricultural to Townhouse Residential and Office-Institutional.

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