Decatur to spend $160K to renovate century-old dairy barn at Legacy Park

The Legacy Park dairy barn, built circa 1900, was once a centerpiece for the old United Methodist Children’s Home. It’s estimated that it will cost $50,000 to $100,000 to stabilize the structure, and that’s not counting any possible renovations. Potential future uses for the historic structure include a farmers market, concession stand or special events facility. Bill Banks for the AJC

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The Legacy Park dairy barn, built circa 1900, was once a centerpiece for the old United Methodist Children’s Home. It’s estimated that it will cost $50,000 to $100,000 to stabilize the structure, and that’s not counting any possible renovations. Potential future uses for the historic structure include a farmers market, concession stand or special events facility. Bill Banks for the AJC

When the Decatur City Commission sees an 108-year-old dairy barn, they begin to hear wedding bells and the sound of children enjoying field trips.

The dilapidated barn, located in Legacy Park, is the focus of a $160,000 renovation project, which will refurbish the aging building into a classroom and event space. The commission unanimously approved the project’s budget at their Monday meeting.

“It’s got tons of potential, especially for field trips (and) for expeditions for many of our schools,” Mayor Pro Tem Tony Powers said.

Built in 1914, the stone barn is one of the oldest structures on the park, which is off South Columbia Drive. It’s the last farming-related building that remains on the 77-acre plot of land. The city-owned property is the location of several projects, including multiple affordable housing developments.

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The commission agreed to enter into a $138,500 contract with CGS Waterproofing to renovate the inside of the 5,000 square foot barn. The improvements include adding sliding barn doors, operable shutters, fans, lighting, a concrete floor and a wooden deck.

Felix Floyd, the city’s facilities superintendent, said the city already replaced the barn’s decrepit roof, and the indoor renovations are the second phase of the barn’s refurbishing.

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“The interior work is the second phase of a two-phase project intended to upgrade the barn for use as an open-air facility similar to the park pavilions located in other city-owned parks,” he wrote in a memo to city leaders.

The barn will not have indoor plumbing or an HVAC system, but Floyd said other nearby buildings have restroom facilities. In addition to weddings and field trips, Floyd said the refurbished barn could serve as storage and a concession space for athletic events.