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Historic Columbus Celebrates 54th Annual Meeting & Preservation Awards

Earlier this week, Historic Columbus hosted its first-ever virtual Annual Meeting and Preservation Awards.  The program was launched on the HCF Facebook Page and YouTube Channel - so if you missed it, you can check it out now on those sites. The evening covered a current financial update and a brief year in review.  Of course, the most important piece in our annual meetings is the awards presentation. This year, ten awards were given to individuals and organizations for their investment in our historic neighborhoods. The 37th Sarah Turner Butler Award, HCF's highest honor, was also presented to an organization for its long-standing contributions to historic preservation.   Here they are!

Ben and Alee Link - 3244 River Avenue Seeing an opportunity for a new infill home in a historic district along the river was an easy decision for this young couple.  Ben and Alee took advantage of the topography to build a home that has amazing views of the river and the historic Bibb Village neighborhood.  Thanks to Ben, Alee, and their team of Jack Jenkins, Beth Beaudoin, Johnny Cargill, S. L. Mullin, Lindsey Mann, and Paul Bryan for their talent and contributions to create this incredible home.

Shay Austin - 837 3rd Avenue Shay has consistently been involved in the preservation scene in Columbus, helping to renovate several properties from small mill houses to historic apartment developments.  Shay has an excellent eye for detail and spares no expense to make a property correct.  Historic Columbus is thankful for people like Shay, who has a strong vision for improving our historic properties.  We are excited to see what he does next! 

Don Johnston - 1907 18th Avenue Located in the heart of the Weracoba-St. Elmo Historic District along Lakebottom Park, this home has been transformed by Don Johnston.  It is now an eye catcher driving by and is a welcome improvement along 18th Avenue.  One of the largest historic districts in Columbus, Weracoba-St. Elmo continues to thrive because of people like Don and their investment.

Fernando and Mallory Vergara 1408 Wildwood Avenue The Vergara Home is unique with its cedar shake siding and is an excellent example of the architectural variety of homes within the Wildwood Circle – Hillcrest Historic District.  Fernando and Mallory have been excellent stewards, and their recent renovation will help strengthen the surrounding neighborhood for many years to come. 

NeighborWorks Columbus

304 35th Street, 425 Walnut Street, and 526 Walnut Street Focused on providing fit and affordable housing in Columbus, NeighborWorks has found itself concentrating many of its housing efforts in the North Highland and Anderson Village Neighborhoods.  Historic Columbus is grateful to be a financial partner with NeighborWorks helping make strategic investments within The Mill District, providing stable and affordable housing in Columbus.

Ken Henson, Jr. - 1147 6th Avenue Now one of the best looking streets in Uptown, 6th Avenue has another jewel in its crown with the adaptive reuse of the Coca-Cola bottling plant.  Ken Henson purchased and renovated the building to take full advantage of all the historical character the building had to offer.  Ken even hired UGA art students to recreate a historic Coca-Cola sign on the front façade based on historic photographs.  Ken did a great job with this project and has already moved onto improving other historic properties nearby.

Alexa Meadows - 20 5th Street This home at 20 5th Street marks the second of three homes purchased by Ms. Meadows that she has renovated in the original city historic district and sold as single-family homes.  This property, finished with a variety of historical details, is a gift to the street and provides for some visual interest with its colorful paint scheme.  Historic Columbus is thankful to Ms. Meadows for her ongoing investment on 5th Street.  We look forward to seeing number three!

Brian Turner -  900 Overlook Drive, 840 Cooper Avenue, and 1328 Elmwood Drive Working for many years updating and improving historic homes, Brian Turner has made a significant mark in Columbus, taking on projects that may have been too daunting for others.  His eye for improving spaces to meet the desires of today’s homeowner, coupled with a nod to historic architecture and detail, has proved to be an ongoing adventure for Brian.  He has renovated numerous homes in Columbus, but Historic Columbus is excited to recognize his work today in the Historic Overlook neighborhood.  1328 Elmwood Drive, 840 Cooper Avenue, and 900 Overlook Drive all three represent the positive investment Brian is making in our community and historic districts.  Historic Columbus is thankful for those individuals like Brian, who are willing to do the hard work of preservation and showing the value of historic homes.

Justin and Katie Krieg - 38th Street & 2nd Avenue Having just completed a renovation of the historic Skinner’s Furniture building and the Bibb City Studios buildings across the street, Justin and Katie help people think differently about a long-disinvested gateway into Columbus.  Apartments, offices, studio spaces, a gift store, The Food Mill Café, and a small market are soon to come.  Bibb City and North Highland are beginning to experience some of the vibrancy that was common when the mills were running at full capacity.  Historic Columbus thanks Justin and Katie for their ongoing investments in the Mill District, and we hope for more to come.

John Crenshaw - 804 Cooper Avenue 804 Cooper Avenue was in dire need of renovation both inside and out.  John has done a fantastic job showcasing some of the original features, along with some new updates and additions.  John has an excellent eye for style and has done a wonderful job marrying modern amenities with historic character.  Thank you, John, for your ongoing commitment to historic preservation and making investments in our historic districts.

2020 SARAH TURNER BUTLER HERITAGE AWARD - Housing Authority of Columbus

The Sarah Turner Butler Heritage Award is the Historic Columbus Foundation’s highest honor, awarded annually since 1984 to an individual or organization for outstanding contributions to historic preservation in our city and region through demonstrated leadership and commitment to the mission of Historic Columbus.  Over Historic Columbus’ 54 years of existence, there have been numerous organizational relationships that have aided in furthering our mission to Revitalize, Education, Advocate, and Preserve.  In many cases acting as the redevelopment and real estate investment arm of the City early on, the Housing Authority of Columbus, Georgia, has been a critical player in helping to assemble property and provide appropriate, affordable housing and sensitive rehabilitation since their beginning.  When other federally funded housing groups across the country were taking urban renewal to new extremes and devastating historic neighborhoods in the name of progress, our housing authority worked diligently to ensure the original city was left intact.

Historic Columbus has also enjoyed a close relationship with the Housing Authority. One of the most notable relationships was with Brown Nicholson, who retired from leading the Housing Authority in 1993. Brown was involved with HCF since its inception in 1966.  He was a champion of Historic Columbus’ Revolving Fund, and he developed the widely successful Façade Loan Program, which has loaned over $1.5 million since 1997.  Brown also helped to facilitate Columbus’ very first National Register Historic District. After Brown’s long tenure at the Housing Authority, Stan Keene - who served with Brown for 12 years and was also a friend to historic preservation - continued the legacy of revitalization priorities set at the Authority.  Then came Len Williams, serving nearly two decades as CEO, continued the strong involvement and relationship with Historic Columbus.  Len’s leadership at the Housing Authority has strengthened both our community and residents alike.  Best stated by Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson, “He’s been able to change the way people look at public housing and the way residents feel about their neighborhoods.”

And the culture of strong leadership at the Housing Authority did not end with Len’s retirement.  Lisa Walters, who served as the CFO of the Housing Authority with Len, has assumed the CEO position and hit the ground running with her involvement on the HCF Board and providing leadership to The Mill District project located along 2nd Avenue in Columbus. Historic Columbus is greatly appreciative of the longstanding contributions of our Housing Authority.  We are therefore humbled to present this years’ Sarah Turner Butler Award to the Housing Authority for its enduring contributions not only to historic preservation but also to our community as a whole. 

Congratulations to the Housing Authority of Columbus and

thank you to ALL of our Preservation Award recipients for their investment and support of preservation efforts in Columbus!

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