MILTON — When the Milton City Council appointed Heather Hathaway Nov. 14 to fill Ashley Lay’s vacant seat, Hathaway said she wanted to preserve local history as well as help the city grow.
Now, she has an idea for her first of those goals.
"Over the past week I went and looked at Lucille Johnson Park and became more familiar with that area," Hathaway said during the Dec. 12 council meeting, "and I want to create a new historic district around the (Mt. Pilgrim African Baptist Church) area."
Mayor Wesley Meiss supported the idea.
"If you look at (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive) as well as Canal Street and Alice Street, it’s been multiple things over the years," Meiss said. "At one time we had a prominent Jewish community in that part of town. Of course it’s been an African American community as well and other groups have lived there. I think a lot of stories could be told, a lot of preservation."
The church is on the National Register of Historic Places, according to National Park Service, entered in the register May 29, 1992. However, it lies west of the Milton Historic District bounded by Berryhill Road to the north, Canal Street to the west, Blackwater River to the east and the railroad tracks to the south, according to the National Park Service.
Councilwoman Mary Ellen Johnson, a member of the Mt. Pilgrim African Baptist Church, seconded Hathaway’s motion to establish the district.
"Even on Dr. Martin Luther King (Drive)" Johnson said, "there was a great business district down there that would include African Americans, Jews and I believe a couple Italians as well."
Hathaway said she wants the city’s Historic Preservation Board and the Santa Rosa Historical Society to be involved in establishing the district.
All council members expressed support for the proposal.