Bethel A.M.E., at the corner of Bell and School Streets, was built in 1882, and in 2002 it was included on the National Register of Historic Places. But the church is in disrepair due to lack of funds, and is among the preservation priorities of the Cobb Landmarks and Historical Society.
Acworth Mayor Tommy Allegood said Turner Chapel sees an opportunity to invest in Bethel’s new mission under the leadership of the Rev. Leela Waller and help “expand Bethel’s reach into the community and meet spiritual and growth needs.”
Waller previously served at Turner Chapel, which serves a large congregation on Fairground Street in Marietta.
“Turner Chapel will offer help and encouragement through a physical transformation of the church and helping the little congregation that probably has 30 active members,” Allegood said.
Abbie Parks, who chairs the tourism authority, said heritage tourism is a focal point for the group.
“Acworth has a unique series of African-American resources that are significant to our cultural and historic character, and Bethel is one of them,” Parks said.
Amanda Sutter, Acworth’s Downtown Development director, said the city tourism authority hopes to host a Black History Month celebration featuring the church.
During a meeting last week, the seven-member tourism authority reviewed five submissions for a potential market study and hotel feasibility study, Sutter said.
Five firms submitted proposals, and a decision could be made in January, she said.
Parks said the authority is developing a budget for the study.
“A range of costs came in, and now we’re evaluating those and setting a firm budget,” she said.
Besides Parks, tourism authority members are Phillip Robuck, Malinda Howe, Trevor Beemon, Brad Klaus, Paige Williams and Keith McPherson. All are volunteers appointed by the mayor and city Aldermen for two-year terms.
The authority meets monthly.
— News Editor Kim Isaza contributed to this report.