A Lost Treasure On Fifth Avenue
GAINESVILLE - On northwest Fifth avenue sits not only a historic building but your tax paying dollars.
But family and neighbors still have hope to see something succeed in the place where Mom's Kitchen once flourished.
"I see a building that is actually going to waste right now," said George Young, the son of Mom's Kitchen's owner.
For decades inside Mom's Kitchen, you would find a community coming together, eating homemade fried chicken and corn bread.
"Real down-to-earth Southern soul cooking," said Young.
The city of Gainesville currently owns the property.
Young still remembers the smell of mom's fried food and the feeling of walking through the front door.
"In the house, that's what Liz would say," he said.
Liz was his older sister, known for her delicious soul food. She became ill and sold the restaurant.
In 2006 the main door to Mom's Kitchen was closed for the very last time.
In 2009 the City of Gainesville bought the property, but three years later this door is still closed.
The City of Gainesville bought it for $165,000.
The value now is at $87,000-- and is off the city's tax rolls.
"It makes me very sad because it was an institution," said Isaac Jones, who remembers Mom's Kitchen. "An institution, an eating place for minorities in Gainesville…one of the places and it's gone now."
The windows are boarded up and the walls are broken. The sign hasn't been turned on for years.
The Gainesville Police Department reported an AC compressor stolen in 2009.
"It was really a good place to come to…read the newspaper, talk with people you haven't seen in a long time," said Jones. "Just a really good place in the community."
To Young, it was home.
"This was where we came up, Fifth Avenue, Mom's Kitchen," said Young. "I remember cooking, I remember cleaning the floors."
Young told me that he hopes the city of Gainesville may turn the building into a museum or anything that will preserve the history.
City Spokesperson Bob Woods told me the city is exploring state and federal grants to develop a longterm plan for Mom's Kitchen.
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