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Nearly a quarter million taxpayer dollars used to move old barn | News

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Nearly a quarter million taxpayer dollars used to move old barn

BUFORD, Ga - Nearly a quarter of a million dollars was used to give an old barn a new home, and at least one Gwinnett County taxpayer believes it wasn't the wisest use of money.

"I'm all for preserving history," said Gwinnett County taxpayer Steve Ramey. "There comes a time when you draw a line between what's worthy and what's not worthy."

Ramey lives just a short distance from the old Lee Farm on Five Forks Trickum Road in Lilburn. Ramey contacted 11Alive when he saw crews dismantling the 19th Century barn on the property and moving it piece by piece.

Gwinnett County is using $210,000 collected from a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax to take the barn apart, move it 30 miles to the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center, then reassemble it. Some of the money is being used for cleanup at the old sight.

The county purchased the property in 2007.

"Moving it to this campus not only gives the opportunity to preserve it, it also gave an opportunity for future and current generations to enjoy it," said Steve Cannon, Executive Director of the Heritage Center.

Cannon says the barn will be part of a larger heritage display that students and others can tour and learn about life in Gwinnett County in the 1800's. He points out that the sales tax was reviewed and approved by voters.

"The barn probably could have been used in multiple sites throughout Gwinnett County," said Cannon. "It was more efficient to move it here to create a one stop shop for our programming. We save money not sending employees 30 and 40 miles away."

The barn move was part of a bigger project that calls for $2.2 million worth of improvements at the Heritage Center.