Walker County’s Historic Preservation Commission is no longer a thing of the past.

The county Board of Commissioners on March 11 unanimously approved appointing seven members to the commission (HPC), which has been inactive for several years. Every district commissioner was asked to recommend a candidate for appointment, and the terms are staggered with one expiring Dec. 31, 2021, and three members’ terms expiring each on Dec. 31, 2022, and Dec. 31, 2023.

“This has been done in a team fashion ... so we made sure that we had representation from all four districts and that we had a diverse group of folks in this to represent the county and bring a broad level of experience and knowledge to this board,” Commission Chairman Shannon Whitfield said.

The county is reactivating the HPC to target grant opportunities for maintenance and improvements of existing historic properties, he said.

Walker County owns the Marsh House, a house museum and events venue. The House was built about 1836. Volunteers under the board of trustees, part of the Walker County Historical Society, support, maintain and develop the house and grounds through historical tours, community events, fund raising projects and rental income, according to the Marsh House’s website.

Walker County is a certified local government, a federal preservation program that is administered as a partnership between the local, state and federal governments in which communities make a local commitment to historic preservation. The program is jointly administered by the National Park Service and state Historic Preservation Offices, and participating communities receive access to funding and technical assistance opportunities unavailable to undesignated communities.

The program had been dormant for years, and the terms of the commission members had been expired, Whitfield said.

“Commissioner Whitfield selected John Culpepper to bring some stability, experience and knowledge to the group,” Joe Legge, Walker County public relations director, said.

Culpepper served as Chickamauga city manager for more than three decades before retiring. Culpepper is chairman of the state’s Civil War Commission, a Civil War reenactor and founder of the Private John Ingraham Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. He also has secured grant funds for Walker County and has participated in regional heritage tourism initiatives.

Other appointees include Alan Slaven, Theresa Dorsey, Renee Griffin, Frances Cobb, Randall Pittman and Patrick Cook. Information on the backgrounds of the appointees was not provided.

Slaven who worked 33 years with PepsiCo, where he held positions in sales management and customer relations management. He was edged out in a crowded Republican primary race for the District 4 seat on the Board of Commissioners.

Cobb previously served on the LaFayette’s Downtown Development Authority board and Main Street Design Committee.

An initial meeting has not yet been scheduled, Legge said.

Catherine Edgemon is assistant editor for the Walker County Messenger in LaFayette, Ga., and the Catoosa County News in Ringgold, Ga.

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