State provides update on CSH buildings scheduled for demo | News

State provides update on CSH buildings scheduled for demo |  News

The Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) recently provided an update on the state’s push to demolish four former Central State Hospital buildings.

“DBHDD is currently working with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs’ Historic Preservation Division regarding next steps for the Central State site,” Camille Taylor, senior director of communications, said in an email to the newspaper. “DBHDD will not move forward until we receive DCA’s recommendations regarding the site.”

The buildings slated for demolition are the Green, Walker, Jones and Wash House buildings. The first three are located around the Pecan Grove quadrangle of Central State Hospital, while the laundromat is located behind the Powell Building. The state agency said it is looking to demolish it because of the safety risks it poses as well as “increasing marketability” of the former CSH campus.

The buildings are in various states of neglect. It is sometimes entered by urban explorers and people interested in the hospital’s history as one of the largest in the world, posing a danger to the country.

The consultations with the Historic Preservation Department (HPD) are not surprising, but they show that the state is moving forward. Shortly after Gov. Brian Kemp signed the executive order allowing the demolition in late July, DBHDD said it would consult with the state HPD to “mitigate the historic impact of demolition of the buildings.” Kemp’s order also directed DBHDD to adhere to state laws regarding the demolition of potential historic properties.

It is important to note that HPD only provides comments on resources, in this case CSH buildings, slated for demolition. The department charged with preserving state history does not have the final say on whether the building will be demolished. This authority ultimately rests with the property owner, DBHDD, and the governor who gives the go-ahead via executive order.

Department of Community Affairs Director of External Affairs Ryan Evans two months ago laid out the HPD process when consulted. If the proponent (DBHDD) finds that the buildings are eligible for listing on either the Georgia Register or the National Register of Historic Places and HPD agrees, the demolition will be considered “adverse impact/significant impact.” The negative impact must be resolved through either “avoidance, minimization or mitigation.” In the case of demolition, avoidance or minimization typically involves considering the feasibility of “freezing the project, rehabilitating it or not completing it” versus the same analysis for demolition, Evans said.

“Most projects are resolved through mitigation, which can be an additional element added to the overall project scope that benefits history/preservation and is somewhat related to the resource(s) affected,” Evans said in August.

The DCA spokesperson went on to say that examples of mitigation often include a permanent archival record or historical marker relating to the building(s) being demolished.

“These actions are determined through Al-Moayyad’s consultation with all parties,” Evans said. “Once mitigation has been agreed, and there is no longer a need to use the building in question, including photographs to complete the archival record, the project may continue.”

Evans added that the length of the consultation process varies depending on the project. Those who decide to have a negative impact can take as little as two months, but can also last “several years” depending on the completeness of submissions and the potential need for any follow-up. HPD’s review period for each submission is 30 days from the date of receipt, Evans said.

DBHDD had previously said it was looking to demolish the four buildings this fall. No update was given on the timeline.

(tags for translation) Construction industry

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