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Historic Macon house may be torn down | News

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Historic Macon house may be torn down

Mercer University has offered $200,000 to Lou Patel, the developer of the land where a new Dunkin' Donuts is being built in Macon.

But Patel says he has no plans to accept that offer, and argues he's already invested $300,000 into the property.

He says even if he did take Mercer's money, he'd still be left with property too narrow for a business and parking lot, so the building has to move or come down just like Tremont Temple Baptist Church.

Historic Macon Director Ethiel Garlington says the organization's already looked into moving it.

"We priced out the move. We priced out the cost of lowering utilities for that move. Truthfully, every lot that we looked at was just too expensive," Garlington said.

He says paying to move and rehab the Douglass House would cost $600,000.

"From a financial perspective, it makes so much sense to just keep the house here so the money can be used to save it in place," he said.

Now, activists, members of the Douglass family, Mercer, and Historic Macon are all hoping the developer will change his mind so the house can stay standing, because they say what it stands for is too important to go away.

"A lot of people didn't see the value of it, but now that you're about to lose it, we have to fight to save it."

When Camellia Simmons learned the Douglass House may be torn down, she was devastated because to her, it's not just an old house.

"How can they tear down something that has so much importance?," she said.

It's one of the last surviving pieces of her grandfather Charles Douglass' history.

Simmons says though the home's sat vacant for 42 years it's still worth saving and hopes developer Lou Patel will accept Mercer University's $200,000 offer to keep it standing where it is.

"Everybody needs to know the history of this man," Simmons said.

If those trying to preserve the home don't reach an agreement with the developer, the Douglass' future will be decided at a planning and zoning meeting August 11th.


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