SUMNER COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — There’s almost 100 years of history sitting across from Nashville Pike in Gallatin.
“The stalls inside of the barn are just gorgeous,” said Deanne DeWitt.
That history and charm is what DeWitt sees when she looks at the Comer Barn.
“Sumner County was the center of our nation’s thoroughbred and racing history in the 1800s and early 1900s,” she said.
The Comer Barn has been around since the late 1930s. The Rogers Group currently owns the property, but had deeded it over to the county back in 2016.
“When we started, we were looking at any option. You know, how could we do this with public, private partnerships?” said DeWitt.
It was in 2018 when DeWitt became more heavily involved, and soon, a plan was made.
The Preservation Foundation of Sumner County was eventually formed where DeWitt currently serves as president.
They partnered with the Rogers Group, and Sumner County Schools to transform the barn into an Ag & STEM learning center for students.
“We could use this for field trips, projects for FAA, 4H competitions,” said DeWitt.
But that plan never got off the ground.
“With the rising costs and inflation, we really didn’t know the exact number needed to renovate that,” said Sumner County Mayor John Isbell.
Isbell said renovation costs were estimated to be in the millions, with residents not in favor of moving things forward. So earlier on Monday, in a 20-1 vote, county commissioners decided to give the property back to the Rogers Group.
“There are groups out there that did want it to go forward and they were well intentioned, but it seemed to me that the overwhelming opinion of the groups we talked to were against the project, unfortunately,” said Isbell.
As of now, the future of the barn is left uncertain, but DeWitt still believes it can gain new life once again.
“What’s most important to me is the community will continue to benefit from not just the view of this barn, but this greenspace and have access to it,” she said.
The commission also voted to return $250,000 back to the state and another $250,000 back to the county.