Renovations and repairs to the historic Donaldson-Bannister Farm are underway and projections are to have the space open to the public this year.
The Dunwoody Preservation Trust, a nonprofit volunteer organization, presented an update on the project at the Monday city council meeting.
“The problem has been that this is not a safe facility,” said Jim Williams, vice president of property management for DPT. “The house has significant issues that need to be addressed … but the property will be done in some fashion this year.”
The farm and the 2.9 acres its sits on is a public park owned by the city and DPT has been contracted by the city to renovate and repair the building. Phase one — or the stabilization of house —began in November and includes repairing floors and walls eaten away by termites. The non-historical barn behind the farmhouse was torn down Jan. 7; bathrooms accessible to people with disabilities and a multipurpose room are planned to be built on that site.
To date, $110,000 has been spent by DPT on a master plan and $30,000 on a landscape plan, Williams explained, with another $50,000 committed from DPT. Another $450,000 for phase one is coming from city coffers.
Analysis from the master plan said a total renovation project could cost up to nearly $5 million.
“That’s not good for us, that’s not good for the city,” Williams said. “We are trying to contain costs on this project.”
City Councilman Douglas Thompson suggested DPT get members of the public touring the house as soon as possible in order to keep interest in the project alive.
“You have the passion. I sense the passion in DPT. It’s clear. But I’m not feeling it outside in the community,” he said. “You don’t need to get the whole house renovated to start programming.”
“We agree with you 100 percent,” Williams said.
Councilmembers also were curious about how parking would be handled. Plans are to have a natural lot, located out of sight, that would fit up to 22 cars including handicapped spots.