A vocal group of preservation advocates and some members of the Atlanta City Council are none too happy over the dismissal of the city’s top preservation officer, Karen Huebner, during the recent round of 222 layoffs.
Huebner was the executive director of the city’s Urban Design Commission (UDC), and there is concern that her firing jeopardizes the future stewardship for historic buildings and neighborhoods.
A dozen people, among them preservationist leaders and residents of historic districts, made a vocal appeal to the City Council’s Community Development/Human Resources Committee on Dec. 9 to have Huebner rehired.
One council member, Ivory Lee Young, was sympathetic to those pleas. “Karen has served neighborhoods in every quadrant of the city,” Young said. “Her institutional knowledge can’t be replaced. I am going to exhaust every means, personal, professional and political, to reverse that decision.”
The Urban Design Commission has an 11-member mayor-appointed board of citizens supported by the department Huebner ran for 20 years. Among its duties is the regulation of 54 officially landmarked buildings and 15 districts.
— John Schaffner