UGA project creates comprehensive inventory of Georgia’s historic properties

Athens, Ga. — The University of Georgia’s College of Environment and Design has received a $750,000 grant for a five-year project that will significantly improve efforts to preserve historic properties statewide.

FindIt, the Georgia Historic Resources Survey Partnership, will send UGA graduate students in historic preservation all over the state to identify properties that have historic value. The program, funded by the Georgia Transmission Corporation, will aid GTC in its work building and upgrading electrical transmission lines and substations — by preventing unknown historic properties from being damaged or demolished.

Additionally, the information gathered through FindIt will be entered into a database at the state historic preservation office. Faculty member Pratt Cassity, lead investigator for FindIt, said that creating a centralized source of information is essential in preventing the loss of Georgia’s historic resources.

“As fast as we can document these historic properties, just as many are being lost,” Cassity said. “This partnership is precedent setting for Georgia and could provide a blueprint for states that want to start the historic preservation planning process.”

Eventually, Cassity hopes the database will be made available to the public. Access to such information would aid those planning land-use projects: state transportation workers planning roads, or developers planning subdivisions, for example. And the process of gathering and compiling the information is valuable to students, who get the opportunity to practice the skills they’ve learned in class.

“This program offers our students a great real-world experience while adding to the state inventory of identified historic resources,” Cassity said. “That’s win-win in my book!”

Secondary partners for the FindIt project include the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Historic Preservation Division, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and the Rural Utilities Service.