Gwinnett County is currently making efforts to acquire 10 acres of land in the Promised Land community near Centerville through eminent domain in order to create a historic park. The land, which is owned by the Livsey Family, the descendants of freed slaves who once worked on a plantation on the same property, includes a seven-acre lake and an apartment building.
Chad Livsey, whose great-grandfather is among the freed slaves that purchased the plantation land following the war, explained that the property holds significant historical value. During the Civil War, Sherman’s troops burned the entire town, but they did not burn down the house on this property because its owner, Thomas Maguire, was a mason. Margaret Mitchell, the author of the iconic novel “Gone with the Wind,” drew inspiration to write the book at this very location.
Livsey’s grandparents sold the historic Maguire-Livsey Big House at the Promised Land, along with the property surrounding it, to Gwinnett County in 2017. However, the county is now attempting to acquire another 10 acres of land, which includes the apartment building where Livsey’s family currently resides. Livsey and his family are not interested in selling the land, and are opposed to the county’s efforts to acquire it through eminent domain.
Gwinnett County has made a lowball offer of $250,000 for the seven-acre lake and surrounding land, which is worth several million dollars. The Livsey family believes that the county has other options to acquire land for a park, and does not need to take their property. Cheryle Renee Moses of Black Gwinnett Magazine echoed this sentiment, arguing that Gwinnett County has historically ignored African-Americans and other Black people and their history, and that their sudden interest in this property is suspect.
The Gwinnett County Commission will decide later this month whether to pursue land acquisition through eminent domain. Livsey and other supporters of the Livsey family plan to protest at the commissioner meeting. Black Gwinnett Magazine and the Gwinnett County Black Chamber of Commerce are also standing with the Livsey family in this battle to stop the eminent domain takeover of the property.
Livsey emphasized the importance of this property and his family’s commitment to keeping it in their possession. He called on others to join him in fighting to protect this land, stating, “We need everyone that can come to the courthouse to support us. We are going to fight this. We are not going to stop.”
Contact Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners to Stop the Promised Land Takeover | #TakeYourHandsOff
Join us in supporting the Livsey Family and contacting the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners and asking each of them to vote NO to using eminent domain to takeover the Promised Land property. Here is how to contact each of the commissioners –https://www.gwinnettcounty.com/web/gwinnett/Departments/BoardofCommissioners/AboutYourCommissioners.
Helpful Information to Protest the Promised Land Takeover | #TakeYourHandsOff
The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners Public Hearings are generally held the fourth Tuesday of each month at 7:00pm. The upcoming meeting dates listed on the county’s website are April 18** and
April 25*. The agendas have not been posted yet for these meetings therefore we cannot provide you with the exact date the Promised Land takeover will be addressed by the commissioners. Here is a link to the county’s agenda page – https://www.gwinnettcounty.com/web/gwinnett/departments/countyclerk/boardsandauthorities/-/bacs/meetings/52.
Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners meetings open to the public and held at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center, located at 75 Langley Drive, Lawrenceville, Georgia, unless posted otherwise. All meetings of the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners shall be held in accordance with the Georgia Open Meetings Act. The public shall be granted access to all meetings, at all times, except closed Executive Sessions.
* Public Hearings for zoning purposes
**Cancellation of the April 4 and July 4 meetings was approved by the Board of Commissioners during a commission meeting on January 17, 2023.