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Atlanta Gay Bar May Close to Make Space for New Bus Stop

Could Bus Station Plans Mean End Of Road For The Heretic?

MARTA has plans to convert the gay club into a bus station.

The expansion of bus lines in Atlanta could mean the end of the road for one of the city's oldest gay bars.

A plan for the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority's future includes shuttering the Heretic to make room for a bus station, according to the CBS affiliate in Atlanta. But city historians are trying to cut that plan off at the pass.

"Historic preservation is one of my passions," said Chris Paine of Historic Atlanta. "The problem with putting a location here is that this is a historic LGBTQ site. It was one of the earliest lesbian clubs in the city of Atlanta's history. Now, it serves the gay community as home to the Heretic, for over two decades."

The Heretic has operated since 1991. But the location's long history serving the LGBTQ community of the region makes it more important than that date implies.

Before the site housed the Heretic, it was home to the Sports Page in the early 1970s. The disco became a key draw as Atlanta's gay and lesbian community of the era came together in the Southern metropolis, according to the Georgia Voice.

Paine, who chairs the LGBTQ historic preservation advisory for Historic Atlanta, told Atlanta's PBS station the site is one of few of its era still central to the Atlanta LGBTQ community

Paine said the building where the club is located could be eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places, which would prohibit certain renovations and demolitions.

"When a building is put on the National Register of Historic Places, which this could be in the near future, federal monies are no longer allowed to demolish it," Paine said.

The uproar has caused leaders at MARTA to respond and make clear plans are not final for the bus line expansion.

"The Clifton Corridor project is currently undergoing an exhaustive environmental review that takes into consideration all properties, landmarks and natural habitats that could be impacted," reads a statement from MARTA.

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