Fort Valley’s preservation board gets new member

FORT VALLEY – Historic districts are not the place for rotting wood, falling gutters and trash or for indoor furniture to be displayed on porches.

However, those are the things Joanne Dankel sees in her historic neighborhood where she works hard along with her neighbors to keep her property clean and maintained.

“These things are unpleasant to look at and it hurts all of us,” Dankel said.

During Thursday’s regular meeting of the Fort Valley City Council, Dankel’s voice was heard and she was placed on the city’s Historic Preservation Commission.

Dankel said she wanted to raise consciousness about the problems facing her neighborhood. She also brought up concerns about the need to update the commission’s guidelines.

“There is nothing to insure those guidelines are followed,” Dankel said.

Mayor John Stumbo acknowledged there was a gap between the regulations and their enforcement and said he would work with Dankel on the guidelines in the future.

The City Council also heard from Mildred Lindsey, executive director of the Literacy Education for Adults in Peach County, who showed them the resolution where Peach County was declared a Certified Literate Community by the State Board of Technical College System of Georgia.

In 1998, LEAP was formed with the goal of reaching a majority of the people in Peach County without a high school diploma within a 10-year period.

At the time, the U.S. Census Bureau indicated that number was 4,792, meaning the program had to reach 2,397 students.

Over the past decade, the program reached more than 2,700 students.

But Lindsey focused on looking forward at Thursday’s meeting. She pointed out how the designation will lead to more students trying to get their general education diplomas, more economic development and a greater focus on education.

“We must realize education is a foundation for all,” Lindsey said.

To contact writer Natasha Smith, call 923-3109, extension 236.