Thursday, April 2, 2009

City of Valdosta Receives Federal Historic Preservation Grant

The City of Valdosta has been awarded a Historic Preservation Fund Grant to produce a Geographic Information Systems (GIS)-enabled web site to be used by family-members, historians, genealogists, and anyone interested in learning about the generations of Valdostans laid to rest at the city-owned Sunset Hill Cemetery. Valdosta is one of the first communities in the state to offer this type of innovative resource, creatively combining technology and City history.

The City is one of ten Georgia cities selected to receive part of over $75,000 in grants from the Historic Preservation Fund, offered by the Historic Preservation Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, for historic preservation projects.

The City was awarded the $3,000 grant for the creation of the GIS-enabled interactive web site, which will eventually be linked from the City of Valdosta’s current web site and will serve the community in at least two valuable ways. First, it will be a valuable archive of historical and genealogical information, available to anyone with Internet access. Second, it will serve as a convenient source of cemetery information regarding hours of operation, cemetery etiquette, available lots, their cost, and other information useful to citizens.

The grant money will be used to design and build the site through a contract with the South Georgia Regional Development Center and will include:

An interactive map of the cemetery that users can point and click to retrieve detailed information about gravesites;
A searchable database of those buried in the cemetery, especially useful to historians, genealogists, and other heritage tourists;
The ability to locate information about available lots and the cemetery’s general rules and regulations; and
A detailed history of the cemetery, featuring historic and current photographs.
Sunset Hill Cemetery was established in 1861, a year after the town of Valdosta was chartered. The GIS-enabled interactive web site is expected to go live in summer 2010, in time for the City’s sesquicentennial celebration.

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