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Thomasville residents upset with new rezoning for Douglass High School

Thomasville's first black public school approved for rezoning
Posted at 5:44 PM, May 10, 2023

THOMASVILLE, Ga. (WTXL) — Shelton Davis, like many people in Thomasville, have strong ties to Douglass High School, Thomasville's first black public school.

"My initial thoughts was that— obviously disappointment…because this is going to change the neighborhood," said Davis.

Davis said his parents, aunts, and uncles all attended the school growing up.

Davis also having strong connections having lived directly across from the school for over 10 years.

"I feel that the people who voted for the rezoning have no ties to the community and have no ties to the school so they could care less," said Davis.

Davis said he would rather see the school turned into an addition to the Jack Hadley Black History Museum. The historical building is already located in the same Dewey City Neighborhood, a national registered historic district.

Board member of the Douglass High School Alumni Association, Tyrone White, said that their options were slim due to the building not being in compliance.

"The building is deteriorating. The funds— we don't have to develop the complex. This is 8.1 acres, and it would take a lot of money to repair," said White.

On May 1, the Thomasville Planning and Zoning Committee voted to change Douglass High School from zone R1 to C1A. This means the property will now be rezoned for uses like retail, office space or even affordable housing for senior citizens.

Thomasville's city planner Kenny Thompson said this decision was not made lightly. The committee put certain conditions into place to protect the building's legacy.

Things such as neighborhood compatibility standards, the building must be preserved, and architecture standards.

"It really was just looking at, is this zone—is this rezoning appropriate for this school and that was the ultimate decision the planning and zoning commission made," said Thompson.

White said there's one thing he wishes the community knew.

"We need them and hope they're with us, let's move into the future," said White.