There are numerous (non-profit or government owned) historic structures in our community that are in need of renovation work (i.e. historic churches, community buildings, theatres, and schools).  Three applications were selected as the finalists for the 2017 Public Participation Grant.

The next phase of the grant process is to involve you!  In the coming months, Historic Columbus will not only showcase the three project finalists, but also get you more involved and aware of how historic preservation works in our community.

Historic Columbus will host an Open House at each of the sites of the three finalists on Saturday, September 23, 2017 from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. The public will then be able to vote on their favorite project on our website.  Voting will start on September 23rd and close on October 20th.  The grant winner will be announced at Historic Columbus’ Annual Meeting on Tuesday, October 24, 2017.


  1. The Springer Opera House, c. 1871, built by Francis Joseph Springer and soon became nationally known as the finest theatre between ExteriorNew York and New Orleans. The grant would fund a new roof for the theatre, repair damage to the ceiling on the third floor balcony caused by a water leak, and remove the mold from the basement under the saloon.

The Crown Jewel of Columbus’ historic treasures, The Springer Opera House, is also the State Theatre of Georgia and a National Historic Landmark. Tons of tourists and local patrons visit this majestic theatre each year. The Springer is also home to the hundreds of students who participate in classes year-round. To these children, the Springer is their second home. This community also relies on the Springer to continue traditional, artistic and vibrant entertainment. The Springer serves this community in a myriad of ways and it is imperative that we continue this tradition for Columbus, the region and the nation.

  1. The Liberty Theatre Cultural Center, c. 1924, served as a social hub for African Americans having movies and famous entertainers on their stage. The grant would fund a new roof for the theatre and main lobby and replace the HVAC systems in the theatre, dance studio, dressing rooms, costume workshop, and green room.

The Historic Liberty Theatre merits philanthropic funding because it is one of the only two historic African American theatres in the state, is on the National Register of Historic Places, and has a 501c3 designation. Almost 20 years after its restoration, it is again time for the beloved libertyLiberty Theatre to receive upgrades. Venue rentals are an integral part of the theatre’s operating budget and really help to keep the doors open. Restoring the roof and repairing interior damage would allow the space to be utilized for rentals again and provide a more aesthetically pleasing environment. A new HVAC system in the theatre will provide consistent, predictable heating & cooling and restore patron/rental client trust thus increasing revenue. A heating and cooling system added to the dance studio will allow the space to once again become an additional revenue stream for the facility. Lastly, a heating and cooling system in dressing room area will provide a more comfortable environment for actors, performers, costumers, and special guests needing to utilize those areas during shows and events. Ultimately, it is time for the Liberty to again be restored to its original splendor and give the community at large a venue reminiscent of its glory days!

  1. The Wynn House, c. 1839, Greek Revival mansion that has been lived in by a number of Columbus’ leading citizens. The grant would fund the repair and replacement of the balustrade and supporting structure on the uppermost portion of the roof, the cupola. This includes replacement of the balusters and Wynn House2rains, repairing to mounting points, and repair of the dormer structure. The existing wood balusters and rail will be replaced. The roof will be replaced. The entire house will be cleaned and painted.

We are more than just a house! We are active participants in the economy of MidTown, helping to guarantee its future.  By connecting with the community through philanthropic programs and cultural events, we ensure that the public directly participates in Columbus’ history. History grows by being shared! Help the Wynn House continue to educate the public about the past while engaging them in the present through preservation, history, art, etiquette, and culinary experiences.


There are 9 other great projects that you should read about and try to get involved. No matter your views or interests there is a project that will peek everyone’s interest!

Hundred Man Ministry

  1. Total Man Ministries, constructed in 1884, is dedicated as a church and to our community as a place to worship, request, and receive assistance from an organization that cares, praises the Lord, request and receive prayer, and hear the word without traveling far from home.

We aspire to be a living example of God’s love and evangelize, disciple, and meet the needs of the unreached. The grant funds will be used to hire contractors with experience, supplies, and equipment necessary to restore the foundation, façade, and front door of the church. We want to continue the integrity of the historic area. We want to ensure people are knowledgeable of its historical beginning and to do our part in conserving that heritage for our children. We take pride in what this property represents and want others to be able to do the same, not just by our words, but by what they see.

Project Director: Barbara J. Tolbert 706-761-5972

  1. Lakebottom Park is the oldest, large-scale, daily use recreation facility in the City of Columbus and is bounded by three National Register Historic Districts—Weracoba-St. Elmo, Peacock Woods-Dimon Circle, and the Village of Wynnton.

Light Up Lakebottom seeks funding to design and install historically appropriate lighting- to reveal beauty and enhance safety- on the Pedestrian bridge north by playgroundpedestrian and vehicle bridges that traverse Weracoba Creek in historic Lakebottom Park. This project is designed to illuminate the area’s natural character and define gateways for travelers to and through the park. Grant funds will directly support the design and installation of lighting on four interior, pedestrian bridges that traverse Weracoba Creek in Lakebottom Park and on the three historic 1930s concrete bridges at Garrard, 17th and 13th Streets. The pedestrian bridge lights will be mounted on standards that echo lighting along the walking trail. The addition of bridge lanterns will possibly complete an unfinished Depression-era project, evidenced by the interrupted progress in the installation of the connecting lines for gas.

Adequate and well-designed lighting reveals the inherent beauty of parks, bridges and streetscapes, and gives residents and visitors a greater security in their setting. Lighting is an important element that can add definition to MidTown’s historic character and make it a happier, safer place. The project’s goal is to enhance sense of place, well-being and safety in Lakebottom, Columbus’ own well-loved “Central Park.” Lighting can illuminate the natural character of the area as it defines gateways to and through the park for walker, cyclists, and drivers.

Project Director: Bitsy Dedwylder 706-494-1663

  1. The Girl Scout Little House at Lakebottom Park

Since its dedication is 1949, the Girl Scout Little House has served the Columbus community with a safe, convenient, heritage–rich meeting and activity space for the Columbus area for nearly 70 years. Scores of young girls remember this gathering place where they learned Girl Scout Little House exterior Photo Credit Paula Maddoxpractical skills while developing relationships and problem solving, all while enjoying fun with purpose activities. The five room building, complete with a great hall for meetings, a kitchen, a Council office and storage rooms, was a conveniently located recreational facility with plenty of adjacent outdoor space. A grant is needed in order to replace 3,045 square feet of roof, replace broken window panes as well as rehabilitate and re-glaze the existing window frames, and to replace kitchen countertops, sink, cabinets, and flooring. With more than 6,000 community visits each year, including Girl Scouts, the area Council and members of the general public, this historical building is an enduring legacy to local Girl Scouting. Rehabilitative work is needed on the exterior and interior in order for this building to continue to provide a functional, welcoming, and historical gathering place for generations to come.

Project Director: Debbie Caballero 706-530-2866

  1. The Restoration and Preservation of the CSS Jackson Fantail

unnamedThe National Civil War Naval Museum requests funds to restore and preserve the Fantail of the CSS Jackson, a Confederate ironclad gunboat built here in Columbus at the shipyard on the Chattahoochee with local materials and labor. The Fantail, physically separated from the ship itself after its sinking in 1865, is the only surviving ironclad fantail in existence. The restoration of this part of the ship will preserve a unique piece of maritime history that is not only nationally significant but also integral to the history of Columbus. The museum will contract with maritime and architectural consultants to advise on several steps of the process. The grant will fund labor and equipment for preservation of the wood and iron, possible storage of the original wood, specialized transportation from the museum’s boathouse to exhibit hall, and finally proper mounting of the exhibit. The CSS Jackson, a poignant reminder of the last major land battle of the American Civil War, depicts a unique and significant chapter in the rich history of Columbus, GA. The largest ironclad built from the hull up by the Confederacy, it was constructed in part of with lumber supplied by former slave and well known bridge builder Horace King. In its totality, the ship and the Fantail highlight the key role that Columbus, GA played during this critical time in our nation’s history.

Project Director: Holly Beasley Wait 706-221-1074

  1. Church of the Holy Family Stained Glass Restoration

Holy Family’s sanctuary is the only example of Gothic Revival with Byzantine influence in the city. Tudor arches define all openings of the church including the Munich-style stained glass windows created from two European studios that are irreplaceable. All 23 stained glass image2017-08-01-121714-2windows are currently protected by Lexan, or Plexiglas, covering on the exterior of the sanctuary. They have become faded, dingy, and opaque and significantly hinder the view of the windows from the outside as well as constrict light from entering the sanctuary. The grant will allow the removal of the Lexan coverings, needed repairs to the original wooden casings and stained glass, and install laminated safety glass to the exterior of the windows. The product’s lifespan is indefinite and will all protect, preserve, and restore 23 snapshots of historic religious artwork and again allow the pubic to see them in their full glory. The Church of the Holy Family and its stained glass windows are almost as old as Columbus itself. The brilliant windows, created in Munich, Germany, illustrate our religious heritage in stunning color and beauty and have saved Columbus Christians a place to worship for over 100 years.

Project Director: Rick Vale 706-323-6908

  1. Renovation of Bibb Elementary into The Bibb Center for ISTEAM: Stabilization

image2017-08-01-121714-1Built and opened in 1915 by the Bibb Manufacturing Company, Bibb Elementary served as a gathering place, and a focus of emotion for the numbers of residents and attendees. It was a place of hope for the early years of many children’s lives as they worked to attain better for themselves. The grant would fund a steel endoskeleton to stabilize the walls and top so that remediation and clearing of the building can occur, followed by a complete renovation and will be used as a teaching center for advanced math, science, engineering, and arts integration. Bibb City and the mill culture of Columbus formed the overwhelming basis of the city’s development in the late 19th and early 20th century. We intend to take that history of building an economic basis into the 21st century, and strongly enhance the science, technology, and integrated educational development of the city and surrounding areas through enhancement of education beyond anything we currently see. We believe one outcome of this project will be to aid the Chamber of Commerce and other interested parties to be able to say to industry, especially science and technology companies, that Columbus is invested in developing a workforce extraordinarily adept in the areas addressed by the iSTEAM Center. We will engage students in projects and learning in ways they have not been able to experience with equipment not available to them otherwise.

Project Director: Michael H. Edmondson 706-575-4546

  1. Zion Episcopal ChurchZion

Preservation of Zion Episcopal Church matters on several levels, built in 1848, the carpenter Gothic style represents the advent of cultural movements and sociological histories of America’s southern expansion and settlement. The grant will fund the replacement of the board on the exterior that are in deterioration to the point that rain is getting into the interior of the walls. This replacement is vital and in no way cosmetic, once safe from water infiltration, the core of the structure will be safe. As stated above, there are few, if any, examples of such fine historical craftsmanship in our area, much less our state. Zion has had the grace to stand tall and be a beacon of hope and faith for over 160 years, even to those who have never stepped foot inside. It is one of the few jewels of Talbot County left standing. Its exterior renovation would mean a great deal to local residents of Talbotton, to the Episocopal Church, and to the hundreds of people who have worshipped there or simply admired its beauty. Without a grant such as this, Zion will only continue to deteriorate and we will lose an important piece of our history.

Project Director: The Rev. Jeff Jackson 706-628-7272

  1. Columbus Botanical Gardens

botanical gardensThe Columbus Botanical Garden is an enduring example of a vibrant and successful rural family’s way of life over 50 years ago that is all too quickly being razed in the name of progress. The farm home, the gin house and the stables on the property poignantly tell a story by gone days and give living insight into regional history. The grant request would fund three projects: construction of a new handicap access ramp, construction of an access roadway to facilitate vehicle and pedestrian entry to improved areas of the Garden property and the area where education programs are presented for children and adults, and finally the restoration and renovation of the interior of existing office space to provide a safe and comfortable space for the Garden Education coordinator’s office and storage of educational material for Garden visitors and programming.

Project Director: Matthew P. Whiddon 706-327-8400

  1. Urban League of Greater Columbus Headquarters’ Revitalization and Beautification Projectimage2017-08-01-121214-2

The Urban League of Greater Columbus is engaged with revitalizing and moving the organization forward, mending relationships, rebuilding bridges, restoring partnerships and alliances in the community. The grant funds are being requested for the proposed exterior improvement to the main historic building that serves as the headquarters/administrative offices for Urban League of Greater Columbus. These exterior renovations will greatly improve the appearance of the building. Urban League of Columbus is committed to transforming families, individuals and communities throughout the Greater Columbus community by building strong and healthy neighborhoods through advocacy, leveraging of resources, community organizing and direct services that will stimulate holistic community development. ULGC promotes positive change and self-sufficiency to enhance the quality of life for the benefit of those we serve. ULGC wants to operate out of a facility that make our community proud to service and give through.

Project Director: Susan G. Cooper 706-681-4306

If you  have questions, please contact Callie Hecht at 706-322-0765 or