ATLANTA -- Some historic places in former President Jimmy Carter’s hometown may get more federal protection under a bill introduced by Georgia’s congressional delegation to give them a new designation.
The legislation would reclassify the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site located in rural Plains, Georgia, as the Jimmy Carter National Historical Park.
Both national historic sites and national historical parks are protected parts of the U.S. National Park System, but “National historical parks are commonly areas of greater physical extent and complexity than national historic sites,” according to the National Park Service.
The new designation would apply to the farm where Carter grew up, the high school that he and former first lady Rosalynn Carter attended and the Plains train depot, which served as his presidential campaign headquarters, according to a news release from Republican Sen. David Perdue’s office. The park would also eventually include the Carters' current residence and gravesites.
“No matter where life has taken me, from the Governor’s mansion to the White House, Plains has always been my home,” the 95-year-old Democrat and former president in a statement. “Rosalynn joins me in thanking Senators Perdue and Isakson, Congressman Bishop, and the Georgia delegation for helping preserve my family’s legacy.”
The goal of the change is to help protect the sites and to draw more visitors to Plains to learn about Carter and his legacy, officials said.
A policy advisor for Perdue said that designating the area as a national historical park would make it clearer to the public that the park incorporates multiple sites, and officials hope that it could ultimately lead to an increase in visitors. The change would not affect the park’s management structure or boundaries.
“Today, Plains, Georgia is a living monument to the Carters and their lifetime of service. I’m proud to stand with the entire Georgia delegation to ensure President Carter’s legacy is preserved for generations to come,” Perdue said.