If I’m being honest, this day looks extremely different than what I imagined it would this time last year. I was looking forward to the day I could channel my inner Chip Gaines and say “its Demo Day!” while slinging a sledgehammer into a wall. (As if I could sling a sledgehammer!) This day in 2019, we closed on the purchase of the Historic Golden Building in Downtown Tifton, GA.
After closing, I went straight to The Golden Building, shed a tear or two, and thanked God for the opportunity to cultivate a big dream and find ways to brighten someone else’s life. After more than 10 years, the realtor signs came out of the windows. I can’t find the words to describe how I felt in this moment. I was proud. I was nervous. I was scared. Most of all, I was extremely excited!
In the coming days, I interviewed with local news stations, created a website and social media pages which led to floods of emails and comments of excitement and encouragement from locals to see this building being given a new life. The local newspaper published an article about our vision and purchase of this building which went viral after being published by the Associated Press. I was in awe of the momentum behind our goals and was more than ready to begin breaking ground.
If you’ve been through Downtown Tifton recently, you’ll notice that The Golden Building looks exactly the way it did one year ago. Again, in all honesty, it’s a bit discouraging to have to type those words into reality. While we haven’t begun to break ground on these major improvements, I want to take some time to reminisce about the things we have accomplished this year.
When we began entertaining the idea of purchasing and renovating The Golden Building, we had discussed growing our family around the same time. If you know me, I have a plan for everything so I had it all figured out in my mind how this would work. As things continued in our favor of being able to make the purchase of this project, we decided to put family planning on hold for a little while longer. That was my plan, at least. The Big Man upstairs thought otherwise.
If you read my previous post, you know that I stayed extremely sick for most of my pregnancy. My motivation was minimal and my energy was even less. During these months, our designer, Meredith, was able to proceed with things that needed to be done in the early stages of planning. Justin and Judah took good care of me, while I did my best to take it easy and stay healthy. In July 2020, when we originally thought we’d be opening part of The Golden Building to the public, we welcomed a sweet and healthy baby girl to our family!
I would say the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) was the biggest setback to our plans for The Golden Building. In March 2020, many places were closing for a minimum of two weeks in attempts to “slow the spread”. (It is now August and the virus is still spreading — yikes.) The agencies and liaisons that we are required to work with closed for a period of time or were taking other precautions, which ultimately brought our progress to a screeching halt. I took this time to savor the last months with our son as an only child, took trips to seclude ourselves on the beach, as well as take a much needed mental break from all of the responsibilities that had started to pile on top of one another.
While this virus has been a terrible situation for so many, I thank God for the opportunity to slow down and redirect my focus on the things I was looking to accomplish.
Phase one consists of submitting to the National Park Service our intentions for reconstruction and if these plans are in accordance with the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation. This process includes taking measurements of the property “as-built”. Our designer and architect took multiple days to measure each window, wall, ceiling, and any other structure. Once the measurements were done, these two worked together to complete the architectural drawings of the building in its existing state. These drawings accompanied with detailed photos of the property must all be submitted for certification to the National Park Service (a federal agency) as well as the State Historic Preservation Office (a state agency).
This has been a rollercoaster of a year, to say the least. The momentum has seemed to fade away, but my heart is still filled with excitement for what’s to come. I know that when others are able to see and connect with the progress that is being made, that momentum will return. At this time, I look forward to the next phase of this project which includes designing the proposed architectural plans for the building.
While things have seemingly been “quiet” at the Golden Building as we reach our one year anniversary, trust that things are coming together for the big picture. Thank you for tagging along and encouraging us through the year! I can’t wait until the day that we can have a chat face-to-face in the coffee shop or have a big party in the event space, but until then, I am savoring these moments and cherishing The Golden Building for who she is in this season of life and can someday look back and remember just how far we’ve come!
First of all, congratulations on your new arrival!
Secondly, Covid-19 has proven exceedingly unkind to even the best laid plans. The pandemic forced us all to stop, regroup, and figure out how to proceed in this “new normal.” You have demonstrated that in times like these, we count our blessings, keep our heads up, and continue moving forward. That is the attitude that guarantees success. Good luck, Jenna! I look forward to following your progress.
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