The View From The Loft

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Everybody knows Newnan as the “City of Homes,” which for most of us conjures up images of the mansions and craftsman style cottages of Greenville and LaGrange streets.  Hidden behind all the grandeur and discreetly tucked away is another of Newnan’s treasures, the warehouses and mills of the bygone textile empire. In some cities these types of buildings will never have another life, but in Newnan that is not the case.

The movie industry and the demand for loft living has breathed new life into these turn-of-the- twentieth-century jewels. Built of local brick, stone and heart pine, these structures offer soaring ceilings and casual undefined spaces that cater to younger crowds, as well as to the cosmopolitan movie business, those seeking an urban experience away from the hassles of traffic and the older “downsizing crowd.”  Lofts like this one, located in the old cotton mill in Cole Town, are the perfect setting for the possessions of budget minded young people as well as those more settled collectors of antiques, mid-century modern items and contemporary furniture and art.

The bigger story here is that any viable community makes a quality of life statement based on its commitment to its history, its attention to its built environment and its willingness to welcome creative people.  Preservationists will also point out that adaptive reuse of historic buildings is an efficient way to use bricks that are already made and trees that are already cut down, lessening the impact of new construction on the community. As the nation’s ninth largest metropolitan area continues to creep our way, it is critical to resolve to be open and receptive to expansion and new ideas but steadfast in our commitment to protect those things which will prevent us from becoming just another nameless suburb.  The arts, museums, sports and recreation, places of worship and friendly people who possess “pride of place” will ensure that we remain the 21st century’s “City of Homes.”

(Jim Coleman is twice retired as a financial advisor and flight attendant. A theatre geek, musician, arts administrator and preservationist, he lived a relatively obscure life until he crossed paths with Corby Winters. Jim chose Newnan as his new forever home five years ago and is dedicated to making our community the best it can be.)

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