Porterdale workshop to focus on Yellow River Park project

Porterdale's shared history with another mill village in Georgia will be highlighted at a visioning workshop Saturday, followed by a discussion of how that history and the town's assets can be used to enhance Porterdale's future.

The public is invited to attend the workshop, which will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the Porterdale Mill Lofts with a presentation on the history of Bibb City in Columbus and the history of Porterdale. Two Columbus State University professors, Dr. Amanda Rees, associate professor in the Department of History and Geography, and Dr. Becky Becker, associate professor of theater, will present a project that they co-produced for their history and theater students on Bibb City.

Porterdale City Manager Bob Thomson said when he saw the website depicting the project (http://archives.columbusstate.edu/digital_collections/bibb_city.php) he was "taken with how remarkably similar the two towns were, which is not surprising since the Bibb Company owned and ran both company towns.

"The history of Bibb City and Porterdale involves a shared heritage of sophisticated town planning, landscaping by noted landscape architects, and a particular way of creating a company town different from the hundreds of other Southern mill towns," Thomson said.

Following the presentation on the two mill villages, Charlotte Gillis from the National Park Service will facilitate a visioning workshop for stakeholders of the Yellow River Park project in Porterdale.

Thomson said the visioning process will focus on the park, but it will also address the effect of the park on the town's economy, what services should be provided, problem areas that need to be addressed (security, parking, ongoing maintenance, etc.) and any topics brought up by the participants.

Thomson said representatives from UGA's College of Environmental Design, The Fanning Institute, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, Newton County, the city of Covington, the National Park Service, the Georgia River Network, Friends of Porterdale, the Yellow River Preservation Group, Northeast Georgia Regional Commission, Columbus State University, Porterdale City Council and staff, Porterdale Historic Committee and the Porterdale Downtown Development Committee will take part in the workshop.

For more information on the workshop, contact Thomson at 770-786-2217.