Councilman Matt Kunz cast the sole opposing vote, arguing the historic designation would limit the uses for the property and that its economical value would depreciate.
Kunz would rather see the property owned by an outside organization, not the city.
Mayor Joe Lockwood said while it can be argued the designation may decline the financial value of the property, others may see it as adding historical value in the city.
“Sometimes as a governing body, we have to make decisions that ultimately are in the best interest of our city and that doesn’t always mean only financial,” Lockwood said. “We’re saving something that can’t be replaced.”
Councilwoman Karen Thurman said, “Although I have, at times, not been in favor of us spending the amount of money we’ve talked about spending on the Hopewell House, I do believe that it is a true asset of the city.”
City manager Chris Lagerbloom said the city initially budgeted about $700,000 for a renovation project to prepare the house for public use.
Councilman Bill Lusk said he thinks the Hopewell House could generate revenue for the city from groups and private citizens renting it out for events, similar to the Mansell House in Alpharetta.
Ultimately, as Councilman Joe Longoria said, the vote came down to whether or not mayor and council deemed the structure as historic, not how economically viable the property would be to the city. Community development director Kathleen Field said the next step is to get the property nominated for inclusion in National Register of Historic Places.