GDOT looks to preserve Little Richard's home
The widening of I-75 will once again impact the Pleasant Hill community as it did 50 years ago. But this time, a piece of Macon history is in its path.
It may be the only bright spot for the Pleasant Hill community as the neighborhood is set to take another blow from the Georgia Department of Transportation.
"All the positives that we can pull out of it, we really need to," said Macon City Councilwoman Elaine Lucas.
Development along I-75 will force residents to relocated. This time the childhood home of music legend Little Richard is in the path of the I-75/I-16 merger project.
The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) has plans to save it, which is music to the Lucas' ears.
"Purchase the home, relocate it, renovate it as much as was necessary and keep it around for generations to come," she said.
Once moved, the two bedroom home will be used as a museum and community resource center honoring Little Richard. Lucas said the home will also add to Macon's goal of becoming a destination city.
"If they saw a sign saying visit Little Richard Penniman's birthplace, they would detour off and possibly look for that," said Lucas. "But then also look for some of the other great things we have to offer here."
Lucas says relocating Richard's home is one small victory, but others may lose their homes.
"They need to be adequately compensated for their property and that they not suffer any undo hardship as a result of progress in our city."
WGXA also spoke to Andre Coquerel, the home's current owner who has been renting it. He said he didn't know he was buying Little Richard's childhood home until he was at the signing table and offered this statement.
"It almost felt like having a unique antique piece of property in your attic with no one knowing about it. I wish I could just keep the home and not sell, but I really don't think I have that much choice in the matter. I'm happy to see that something positive is being done to preserve its significance."