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Lavonia Condems Old Cannery Building to Save It

The City of Lavonia is applying for a grant to renovate the Lavonia cannery.

In May of 2013, City manager Gary Fesperman approached the school system and asked that the City take over ownership of the cannery building.

Calling it an historical asset to the town, Fesperman said the cannery had deteriorated over the years and with the tight budget cuts facing the school system, the city would be better able to run it and the school board agreed .

Last fall, the City officially took over operations and maintenance of the facility from the Franklin County Board of Education. In February, Fesperman told the city council he and his staff have been working to secure grant money to fund the repairs the building needs.

“We’re working with John VanBrundt, who is with the Georgia Department of Community affairs on a stabilazation grant to repair the exterior of the building,” he said. “It will allow us to do some stablization on the windows, the roof, the soffets, and the columns in the front of the cannery.”

But in order to receive the grant, city attorney John Dickerson said Monday, the cannery must first be condemned.

“The first thing you must do is declare the cannery is in a blighted and slum condition,” Dickerson told the city council. “If you agree the cannery is in a blighted and slum condition, the next thing you need to do is approve a resolution to apply for that block grant.”

After hearing from Dickerson, the city council voted unanimously to approve condemning the building and then also voted on the second resolution to move forward with the grant application.

Once renovated the cannery will continue serve as a facility for use by the FFA, but plans are also in the works to use the front offices for an extension to the Carnegie Library.

So far, there is no time line for when those renovations will begin.

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