Hogansville to build park around historic marker

Published 6:30 pm Thursday, January 21, 2021

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The city of Hogansville voted during Tuesday’s council meeting to build around the historic marker honoring former postmaster Isaiah Lofton, who lived through an assassination attempt in 1897. The council plans to make it into a park for the community to enjoy and to bring more awareness to the historical marker. 

According to City Manager Jonathan Lynn, the city plans to hire Falcon Design at the cost of no more than $16,500. 

He noted that it is a SPLOST line item, and there will be no impact to the general fund. 

“Falcon Design has been part of the project since the original inception and has done a fabulous job,” Lynn said. 

The marker is located at the intersection of West Main Street and Boozer Street.

Lofton, who was Hogansville’s first black postmaster, was shot in the arm on Wednesday, Sept. 15, 1897, in an attempted assassination attempt. 

 Dr. Tony Lowe, an associate professor at the University of Georgia, first presented Lofton’s story to the Hogansville City Council in November 2017. 

Lofton had returned to the post office on the evening of Sept. 15, 1897, after a boy came by his house to ask if his family had received a package. 

On Lofton’s way back home from the post office, three shots were fired at him, and his assailants thought they had killed him. 

Instead, he lived, and the shooting was covered in newspapers over the days ahead, with many referring to it as “The Hogansville Affair.” 

An investigation of the shooting was left up to local authorities, but no one was ever prosecuted.

Lynn said they plan to build picnic tables and more to the area. 

Also, during Tuesday’s meeting, the council voted to make a contribution to the Callaway High School football team’s championship ring fund. The council decided on the purchasing of the gold level sponsorship that will allow the team to purchase four rings at the cost of $900. 

Mayor Bill Stankiewicz said the school will need to purchase 130 rings at $225 each. 

“I personally have committed to buying a ring, as well as other people have,” Stankiewicz said. “As I pointed out to the mayor of LaGrange and Troup County Commissioner Patrick Crews, that the address of the high school is in Hogansville, and we wanted to be sure we step forward for them.”  

Additionally, the city identified several properties that need immediate structural abatement due to their hazardous state. 

Lynn said that for whatever reason, there has been no cooperation on these properties from the property owner and all applicable code enforcement action has been exhausted. 

He noted that there have been demolition orders signed by Judge Markette Baker for 217 Church Street, 107 Burden Street, 108 Poplar Street, 112 Poplar, and 116 Poplar Street. 

For five structures, the city was able to obtain prices from five total firms to demolish these properties. 

These prices ranged from $23,700 to $85,004 and although quoted, excludes the community center property due to both continued efforts to have the owner abate the property and the costs for demolition being higher than funds available. 

Lynn said that all expenses for properties demolished will be filed as liens by the city on the properties and due no later than the next year’s property taxes. 

The city has set aside a portion of its CARES Act allotment for this expense and will not have a general fund impact.

The city proceeded to approve the utilization of the low bidder, Platinum Demolition, in the amount of $23,700, as well as an additional maximum of $1,000 per property for asbestos testing for an amount not to exceed $28,700.