Columbia County officials want input and awareness of the county’s history and historic properties.
Commissioners approved Tuesday the formation of the Columbia County Historic Preservation Advisory Committee.
“I think it’s a good step for Columbia County,” Commissioner Bill Morris said. “The (Columbia County) Historical Society has done a great job, what they do. I just felt like we need to formalize the process a little bit more, of preserving history and recognizing history.”
The seven-member committee will have no authority, but will advise county leaders. They are charged with raising awareness of Columbia County’s history, making recommendations about historic properties and other preservation issues and collecting and preserving historic documents and artifacts.
“This is not another layer of bureaucracy that will look at every set of plans that comes through here to see whether or not it meets approval of the (state) historic preservation commission,” County Administrator Scott Johnson said. “They will be an advisory group to the commission to remind them of the importance of history in the county and historical buildings and landmarks.”
Each commissioner will appoint one member to the committee and Chairman Ron Cross will appoint three, similar to other county committees, Johnson said. He expects commissioners to begin appointing members within a few weeks.
The historical society already collects artifacts and documents and promotes county history, but Johnson said the committee will augment the historical society since the two organizations have similar goals.
“We appreciate what the historical society of Columbia County has done for many, many years,” Johnson said, “and Columbia County just wants to be a part of that process and we want to partner with them.”
The committee gives those interested in county history a voice in government affairs, Morris said. He brought up the idea of the committee after hearing about the King Cemetery, which was threatened last year with having Georgia Power Co. lines run through it.
Advice of the committee may not stop development, but Morris said “we do want to respect what’s been there before.”
Morris said he hopes to see the work of the committee develop into something more.
“I think (the purpose of the committee) is just to raise the awareness level, that there is a lot of history here,” Morris said.
“Eventually, I’d like for this to maybe move into some type of museum for Columbia County.”