COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Columbus is about to acquire Historic Westville, a living history museum dating back to the 1850s. This isn't the site's first relocation. It moved from Atlanta to Stewart County in the 1960s where it's been a viable part of the Lumpkin community for decades.
A decline in tourism is prompting the move to Columbus.
"If we attempted to stay in Lumpkin, Westville will not survive," explained Mike Bunn, Chairman of the Board of Trustees.
Bunn added Lumpkin and the surrounding areas have been vital in the attraction's existence for decades and their support is most appreciated.
Columbus City Council unanimously agreed to the venture during Tuesday's regular meeting. Westville's executives and staff members were there in big numbers to witness the nod.
At its peak, Westville drew upwards of $40,000 people of year, but the numbers have dwindled over the years.
"Visitation was 13,000 last year that are just under 4 four percent. We fully expect that once we locate to Columbus, our number will double and even triple," stated Leo Goodsell, Executive Director of Westville.
After getting the go ahead to move the site to Columbus, the mayor commented about the future aspects.
"Columbus has always been very supportive of Westville and the schools, Phenix City, Fort Benning will continue with more of those field trips," explained Mayor Teresa Tomlinson.
Westville will acquire the 35 acre tract through the city at no charge. An exciting component is an RV Park and camping site. You can also expect to see authentic portrayals of the region's antebellum past and the area's Native American inhabitants, frontier settlers, slaves and freedmen will be a part of the Westville story as never before, according to a press release from Westville
City officials says it's going to take two years for Westville to move to Columbus but once it's up and running, Westville will pay $1,200 a year to the city and property taxes.
For visitors, it'll cost $10 for adults and $ for children with military, seniors and college discounts.