Georgia Land Trust Buying 1,200 Acres At Johnson's Crook In Dade County From The Preserve Bankruptcy

Thursday, August 8, 2013

A deal has been reached for the Georgia Land Trust to buy 1,200 acres of scenic, historic property at Johnson's Crook in Dade County, Ga., officials said Thursday.

The large tract is part of the TAS bankruptcy at a failed development known as The Preserve on the side and foot of Lookout Mountain near Rising Fawn, Ga.

Trust officials said the purchase amount is $1.2 million.

He said that will pay off $600,000 owed Dade County in back taxes as well as provide some funds to several banks that lost money in the venture.

Attorney Jahn said, "This is a very beautiful, historic piece of property."

Bobby Davenport of the Georgia Land Trust said the site is important because it includes a road that was used by soldiers to cross before the Civil War Battle of Chickamauga and because it contains numerous caves and is important for the purity of the Dade County drinking water.

He also said, "Johnson's Crook is one of those special places on Lookout Mountain like Lula Lake, Sitton's Gulch and Point Park."

Mr. Davenport said several options are being studied for the land, including it being held by the land trust or transferring it to the nearby Cloudland Canyon State Park.

He said it is part of the 2,150 acres that Dr. Joe Johnson owned at the crook. After the death of Dr. Johnson, the property was auctioned and a development started.

The land trust earlier acquired other tracts from banks and now will hold over 1,700 acres. He said the trust had already assembled 440 acres at the site, including some donations from banks. 

Mr. Davenport said he wanted to thank the local philanthropic community for making the deal possible.

Attorney Jahn said the sale does not include an office and some fishing cabins.

He said Cornerstone Community Bank is owed $900,000, Community Trust $600,000 and Farm Credit $300,000. 

The property has 5-6 lakes.

Criminal charges were brought against The Preserve officials Paul Gott and Josh Dobson. They are awaiting sentencing in Federal Court.  

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