The day we had coffee, we drove down to Capitol View and walked through the house, a sprawling Second Empire style-home built in 1903 by one of the neighborhood's first families, the Deckners, according to TCP's website. The Deckners were German immigrants that ended up in Atlanta in the mid-1800s via Wisconsin. Family members owned lots of property throughout the neighborhood and this home's owner, Charles Deckner, was a well-regarded agricultural expert and "well respected in the community as a public figure. He served as the vice president of the 5th Congressional District of the Georgia State Horticultural Society from 1908 to 1909. He also had a pivotal role in the "Last Man Club" of Atlanta. This group was made up of Civil War veterans and met in the Masonic Lodge (1310 Metropolitan Parkway) in Capitol View," according to TCP's website.
Charles' home, which had been added on to over the years, had a huge kitchen, a wrap-around front porch, enough space to house four artists and their studios. Years of neglect had left the house somewhat a mess on the inside. Abghari estimates renovation costs would have run TCP $20,000-$40,000. Now, a quick renovation to get artists in by the end of summer is out of the question. But TCP is moving forward, considering its options for keeping the HeART House on the current property or moving it elsewhere in the city. I spoke with Neda yesterday about the fire, TCP, and the future of HeART House.
What is the vision for the HeART House?
[The HeART House] could happen on any property. As we look to move forward, it doesn't necessarily have to be a house, but at this particular property we were going to provide four artists with subsidized housing and studio space. They would all live and work there and in exchange they would do outreach through our our outreach program, specifically in this neighborhood. The idea was to provide cultural and creative offerings to the community. Specifically working with youth, but also on a larger scale through lectures and studio visits and workshops with the community at large. So we really envisioned this property as a place where the community could gather for special creative occasions.
And our goal really was to honor the history of the house, and bring it back to life because it was a historic property in our neighborhood. So we were hoping that by having the artists there and by working with the youth, it would make the neighborhood aware that the property was there. At one point, it was a beautiful beautiful home. It was a landmark. Metropolitan Parkway used to be a highway, a state highway, where people would actually stop and view the gardens at this house. So we really wanted to bring the gardens back to life, to have the artists there, we wanted it to be a place that was a source of inspiration for the neighborhood.
Why this neighborhood in particular in selecting this property?
Living here I've realized that the youth they need creative outlets. Recently we've had a spike in crime, and as a long term solution to the crime we have been experiencing the last couple of years, I wanted to create programming that's gonna give the kids an extra outlet, give them an alternative.
What happened to the house as far as you know?
We are not exactly sure how the fire started. The actual cause hasn't been determined yet. It started in the back of the house. But I can say that the house was not secure. I was there that Sunday before and the front door was wide open and a window had been broke. I had contacted the bank a number of times to tell them to come secure the house. As of Thursday late afternoon when I was there, it was still not secure.
What happens now?
It just happened Friday so we are still under contract because we want to explore all our options at the property, whether that means figuring out if we can buy the land and build something new or figuring out if the house is salvageable. We don't have enough information yet to make any decision on it because we're still waiting to hear back from the bank. Obviously, it's going to cost us much more to rebuild a house. And the only way we could rebuild this property is if we had some angel patron step up and want to honor the history of the house. Because the way that it was set up, a local patron was going to finance it for us, so we would still have a mortgage, you know? And knowing how much it would cost at this point to completely renovate this home, although we would like to stay there, unless someone steps up, we'll have to locate another property. We're already having meetings across the city to figure out what our other options are. We might end up looking more toward a building instead of a house. We're just trying to see what's out there.
@ Plain Talk
The State owns it and gets all the rent, even though it…
"Last month, Loring Heights Neighborhood Association president Jeremy Faughtenberry said that Stoddard's representatives approached the…
And people think I'm an Arthur Blank shill.
Dayum, Plain Talk, can your…
@ Last Democrat
Since we have contracted our prisons to private companies, there are…
I have traveled throughout the Middle East, and why is Israel the most loathed nation…
the hell?? Atl is the Hollywood of the South??
I was just in New…