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THE DOBBINS MINING landscape is an important historic industrial site in Georgia and deserves listing on the National Register of Historic Places. The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation stands behind the Keeper of the National Register’s recent decision regarding its eligibility for the list, which is a final determination and not reviewable.
The Dobbins Mining Landscape is a largely intact, nineteenth-century manganese mine that provides a great amount of information about the way manganese mining was conducted more than 100 years ago.
Archeological features present in the landscape today correspond directly to a map from the historic period, which shows an unusually large open cut, an incline shaft, an ore-processing facility, and a road bed which was laid by the mining company to transport processed ore from the mine to the main railroad line and ultimately to the steel mills.
The early mining industry played an important role in the development of Northwest Georgia in the late nineteenth century through World War I, when manganese was used for the steel in our soldiers’ helmets.
Manganese had many other uses and was mined at Dobbins until the mid-twentieth century.
INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT in Northwest Georgia is an extremely important theme in our state’s development. If you are looking for history in this part of the state, textile milling and mining are far more prevalent than the plantation economy, which was never dominant in this region.
Industrial heritage sites do not possess the same kind of physical beauty normally associated with historic sites; however, many people are fascinated with these sites and the important story they tell.
Aesthetic values are not what determine whether a site is historic or not; rather it is the site’s role in the telling of our nation’s history. Dobbins Mine is a site which represents the heritage of Bartow County in a profound way.
GDOT itself recognized the historical significance of Dobbins Mine in a July 2005 publication and recommended a northerly route which would avoid adverse impacts to Dobbins and other historic resources.
There are several other industrial sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places: Sloss Furnace in Birmingham and the Central of Georgia Railway Shops in Savannah are both National Historic Landmarks. Both have taken advantage of this listing and now contribute to their local economies as heritage tourism sites.
We are hopeful that the owners of the Dobbins Mining site will agree to open their property to special tours to people interested in historic preservation. The Georgia Trust has already begun discussions about arranging periodic access to the site for such tours.
ADDITIONALLY, the Georgia Trust is strongly in favor of connecting I-75 to the historic city of Rome. We care greatly about the future of Rome and believe that economic development is the key to protecting the historic resources in Rome and Floyd County.
The Georgia Trust has been quite active in preservation in Rome, where we have had several successful ventures through our Endangered Properties program. The Trust also held its 2010 Annual Meeting and Spring Ramble in Rome, where Trust members from all across our state got a chance to view the remarkable progress made in Rome’s historic downtown and neighborhoods. Several preservation projects in Rome have received Georgia Trust preservation awards, such as the Curry and West Buildings and the Double-Cola Bottling Company building.
The Trust is aware that the Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce is in favor of the GDOT route that will destroy Dobbins Mountain; however, that option appears to be closed.
We firmly believe there is an alternative route to connect U.S. 411 with I-75, which will protect historic and environmental resources and save valuable time and over $100 million because it does not require blasting through a rock mountain. We are further committed to working with GDOT, landowners, our State Historic Preservation Office and the residents of Bartow and Floyd counties to accomplish this objective.
Mark C. McDonald is president and CEO of the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation. He has more than 25 years of professional involvement in historic preservation. Founded in 1973, the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation is one of the country’s largest statewide, nonprofit preservation organizations. The Trust works for the preservation and revitalization of Georgia’s diverse historic resources and advocates their appreciation, protection and use.
CORR’s ad appeared in today’s Bartow Neighbor, Cartersville Daily Tribune News and Rome News-Tribune.
Read why it’s long overdue for GDOT to select a cheaper, shorter and less environmentally impactful alternate route – “Let’s Get On With It“
The below letter to the editor – which corrects several inaccurate claims – appeared in today’s Rome News-Tribune.
IN A RECENT editorial the paper questioned the discoveries of state-protected plant species — the Georgia Aster and Pink Lady Slipper — on Dobbins Mountain and located very near GDOT’s proposed US 411 Connector route.
This means GDOT must conduct additional surveys to locate and study habitat for these and other protected plants that may be located within Route D-VE. Presently, the re-evaluation of Route D-VE cannot be considered complete without the necessary botanical studies.
Additionally, the newly identified Georgia Aster population (which is near the 107-acre wildlife refuge) is considered one the largest in the state. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources recently said the discovery was significant.
And to be expected; GDOT never fully studied the route for the threatened flowers. If you remember, GDOT also failed to study streams on Dobbins Mountain, historic Dobbins Mine, acid rock and possible runoff at the Dobbins Mountain road cut, and more.
Interestingly, the paper stated that Route D-VE is not the only possible connector route. In the editorial, the paper surprisingly promoted its own alternate route — a highway from Rome that links to the Red Mountain Top interchange at I-75. Suffice to say the paper’s recommendation is one of many viable alternate routes.
Finally, Route D-VE represents a gross waste of environmental resources and tax dollars, and is hardly a direct route for motorists.
If anything, Route D-VE will only result in more delays and a continued misuse of our taxpayer money (at least $100 million). Smarter alternate routes exist and it is time for local leaders and residents to support one of the much cheaper/efficient designs.
Letter from Cartersville Ranch, LLC attorney corrects Rome/Floyd County officials about 411 Connector
It appears yet again that Rome and Floyd County officials can’t seem to get their facts straight about the 411 Connector, GDOT’s environmental work (or lack thereof) and more. Thankfully, Cartersville Ranch, LLC attorney Henry Parkman explained the cold, hard facts to them about this ill-conceived route and took the time to correct their continued falsehoods. To read the series of letters from Parkman and Rome/Floyd County, CLICK HERE.
(It also includes letters from Senator Mullis, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Georgia Department of Natural Resources, which point out the errors in Rome/Floyd County’s original correspondence.)
Listed below is a rebuttal letter (from a Cartersville resident) to a recent Rome News-Tribune editorial that poked fun and sarcasm at opponents of Route D-VE. Not surprisingly, the paper did not publish the letter, as it was very critical of the their obstructionist past and antics on another well-known road debate – I-75 through Bartow County. We obtained a copy and wanted to share it with the public, as it raises several interesting points.
A link to the original editorial is at the bottom.
In the editorial, “Termites removed from U.S. 411,” the paper’s attempt at April Fool’s Day humor was filled with hypocrisy. Based on this paper’s news archives from the 1960s and 1970s, its editors – along with the City of Rome and Floyd County – should know what it takes to be a persistent pest (or termite).
In the 1960s, they all banded together to form and support the “I-75 West Committee” to derail the state highway department’s approved, eastern route of I-75 through Bartow County (which passed to the east of Carterville.)
When the highway department finalized the eastern route in 1965, the paper published an editorial complaining that the agency did not listen to an “imposing array of evidence” for the western route, which passed to the west of Cartersville and was all of nearly four miles closer to Rome. The paper also whined that the state did not have an “open mind” towards Rome’s preferred western route due to its “preconceived attitude.”
Following this decision, the committee did not stop there. Instead, they enlisted the help of state and national conservation groups and elected officials to block the construction of the eastern route due to its excessive cost, environmental issues and more. For years, Rome and its coalition of the willing were successful in delaying the construction of this final portion of I-75 in Georgia. Their obstructionist ways ultimately held back regional economic development, strained taxpayers and led to continued travel woes.
Thankfully, the feds came to rescue in 1972 to end Rome’s countless road blocks and threats of lawsuits, and was able to broker a compromise on the route that pleased many.
It seems to me that Cartersville residents are only playing by a set of rules those “termites” from Rome established when it was convenient for them.
Excessive Cost, Environmental Concerns and Pending Lawsuit Cited As Reasons for Study
(Cartersville, Ga. – March 3, 2010) – The Coalition for the Right Road, an organization of Georgia citizens committed to making sure the US 411 Connector is built less expensively, safer and with minimal environmental impact, announced today the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) is studying up to three modified routes for the connector. The proposed route, Route D-VE, has been reported to cost taxpayers nearly $280 million – making it $182 million more than the 2.5 mile shorter, less environmentally intrusive design, Route G.
According to a recent media report, one of the modified routes would link the connector to SR 20 and another would connect the road to US 411/SR 61. Both modified routes would provide motorists prompt access to I-75 and remain far quicker than existing routes SR 20 and US 41 through Cartersville.
If a modified route was selected, federal agencies have indicated the road would not lose its funding. Additionally, GDOT would only be required to complete the environmental studies for the modified section, thus eliminating any notion the project will have to start completely over.
“This is a very positive development for residents of Bartow and Floyd counties, said Richard Chalifoux, member of Coalition for the Right Road. “It means that GDOT is serious about potentially saving taxpayers millions of dollars, preserving several environmental and historic resources and getting motorists to I-75 faster. We appreciate the state listening to our concerns about Route D-VE and hope they select one of the modified routes.”
GDOT’s proposed route, which faces several, lengthy legal hurdles, would destroy Dobbins Mountain, a historic mine and a 100-acre conservation easement. Additionally, the required blasting of Dobbins Mountain will introduce acidic drainage into nearby stream and tributaries, which will needlessly harm the threatened and federally-protected Cherokee darter and other sensitive species.
Mary Martin, member of Coalition for the Right Road, stated, “It’s important to understand, the coalition is not against the road; just the current route (which mirrors the route that was previously stopped by a federal judge). We realize motorists need this road, but not one that unnecessarily burdens taxpayers and causes irreparable damage to the environment. The coalition applauds GDOT and Board Member David Doss for trying to find a compromise of sorts to help alleviate concerns about the road’s excessive cost and further project delays.”
About the Coalition for the Right Road
Coalition for the Right Road (CORR) is an organization of Georgia citizens committed to making sure the US 411 Connector is built with minimal environmental impact and at the lowest cost to taxpayers. CORR is opposed to the Georgia Department of Transportation’s current plans for the 411 Connector – Route D-VE – because of its high cost, inefficient interchange and environmental destruction. The coalition is committed to raising awareness of shorter, cheaper and less destructive routes, and is open to anyone who shares these concerns. For more information, visit www.coalitionfortherightroad.org or find us on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.
The Georgia Department of Transportation recently announced at a meeting with Coalition for the Right Road (CORR) that the cost to build the proposed U.S. 411 Connector, a road that connects Rome to I-75, will cost state taxpayers approximately $280 million.
GDOT has publicly stated the proposed design, Route D-VE, would cost $183 million. However, the agency failed to disclose to state taxpayers that an additional $96 million is required for preliminary engineering, right-of-way purchases, utility relocations, excavation costs and more. According to CORR’s engineering consultants, the cost for the road is expected to increase further.
In GDOT’s present estimate for the environmentally destructive Route D-VE, the agency is using a statewide, “unclassified” or “common excavation” average cost (per cubic yard) that it developed for the “typical” state road project. GDOT’s cost estimate for Route D-VE assumes the cost to excavate Dobbins Mountain, which is in the middle of the route, is the same as it would be for excavation work to build a road in, say, Camilla, Ga.
To view the rest of CORR’s press release, please visit http://therightroad.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/cost-release-9-8-10-final.doc
One has to think, what is GDOT thinking below? This map was one of the most popular (and laughable considering GDOT’s financial woes) at last month’s informational sessions on Dobbins Mountain.
Ironically, when they built I-75, GDOT went around Dobbins Mountain and now several years later (when they have NO MONEY) they want to cut right through it.
This portion of the road will require an 800 foot wide, 125 foot deep gash to be blasted through the Bartow County landmark. That’s roughly equivalent in width to that of four 747s, sitting wingtip-to-wingtip, and in height to a 12 story building.
We’re sure all those neighborhoods adjacent to the mountain can’t wait for this part of the project.
Last week’s events at the Rollins Ranch in Cartersville gave attendees a new perspective of the proposed U.S. 411 Connector project. Experts in engineering, transportation and biology discussed the monetary and environmental impacts Route D would have on residents of Bartow and Floyd. Guests were also invited to take a tour of Dobbins Mountain after the event to see where the center line and right-of-way will cut through the mountain.
- ACCESS: Route D doesn’t solve the problem. It doesn’t offer easy, direct access to Atlanta for Rome and Floyd County residents. Also, experts indicate that the “atypical” interchange GDOT plans for Route D at I-75 will increase congestion, safety concerns and traffic jams.
- COST: Route D costs millions more than other more feasible, shorter routes.
- ENVIRONMENT: Route D would cause environmental destruction. Blasting through Dobbins Mountain would threaten Etowah River Basin ecosystems and many “at-risk” species. The Cherokee Darter is endemic to the Etowah River Basin, meaning it is found nowhere else in the world, and is listed as an endangered species.
Over the next several weeks, this website will serve as your go-to source for information regarding the 411 Connector project. Check back in with us weekly for blog updates on 411 Connector news, applicable media coverage, upcoming events and ways to get involved. Tell us what you think. Join the discussion. Join the Coalition. Help us get the Right Road built!
-Coalition for the Right Road