Editor's Note: After seeing photos of the dilapidated condition of the Hidden Hills Country Club on the civic association's Facebook page, Patch asked Pauline Dailey, of the Hidden Hills Civic Association, if she would like to write her thoughts about the once-thriving facility in unincorporated Stone Mountain.
Here's what she had to say:
The once diamond in the middle of the jeweled community of Hidden Hills has become its biggest blight. Residents recall the days when the Hidden Hills Golf and Country Club was the place to be for parties, weddings, gatherings, even the association meetings were held at the country club site. There was dining and dancing, swimming and tennis. Many of the older residents’ children competed in swim and tennis meets here.
After the last bankruptcy, about 2005, the owners closed up the clubhouse, boarded the windows and doors and blocked driveways to keep trespassers away. Today, the once elegant clubhouse is more than an eyesore, it is a hazard. Vandals have stolen air condition units, torn down window and door coverings to go inside and steal anything that was worth anything. Ceilings have been ripped out for the prize of copper pipes and conduits, stoves and refrigerators, dishes and glasses, have all been removed or destroyed. Trespassers from partying teens to transient addicts use the once elegant now darkened clubhouse as a place to do unspeakable things. The question now is what’s to be done.
Neighbors in the area call police when trespassers are apparent, but much of this destruction takes place in the dead of night. Because it is private property, the police cannot respond unless the owner complains and he lives in another state. Crimes against the property have already taken place.
With pressure from the community, the building could be condemned and destroyed, or the owner could fence the area to keep further destruction, or worse, from happening on the property; or the owner could develop the property where the clubhouse sits. Never the less, what once attracted residents to this community is disappearing into the overgrowth.
The clubhouse is no longer visible from the road and the once green and rolling fairways of the championship golf course is now a tangled mass of overgrown paths, and waterways, sand traps filled now with weeds, and a steady stream of complaints to DeKalb Code Enforcement keep it minimally mowed.
Perhaps it is time for Hidden Hills to let go and begin to look to its future. To enjoy the green space the golf course property affords the community and encourage the destruction and rebirth of the country club property through sale and development.
Hidden Hills, seen as a community on the brink with high foreclosures and falling home values was just last year awarded a Neighborhood Stabilization Grant, NSP3, to purchase, rehab and resell foreclosed homes in the community.
Investors began seeing Hidden Hills in a new light as well and now most of the foreclosed homes have been purchased and being sold every day. New owners are taking advantage of the lower priced, large homes close to mass transit and freeways as an escape from the city and young families are finding the large homes on big lots a fine place to raise their children.
Renters are just waiting for the opportunity to purchase their own home in the community. As the clubhouse disappears into the overgrowth new homeowners don’t ask about the Hidden Hills Golf and Country Club; they don’t mourn for the halcyon days of the past, like longing for the Old South. They just look out and see fields of wildflowers where deer graze and dogs run, where once championship golf was played.
Pauline Dailey is the treasurer of the Hidden Hills Civic Association. She has also served as president and secretary of the association.