The last time Gordon Pirkle had stepped foot in his historic restaurant was May 10, the day after the Dawsonville Pool Room had been seized by the Georgia Department of Revenue for back taxes owed.
The state changed the locks and prohibited anyone from entering the iconic downtown establishment.
Pirkle crossed the threshold again on the afternoon of June 21 ... jingling the keys to the door in his pocket.
Its a good feeling, he said with a grin, holding up the ball of yellow tape that previously had been stretched across the windows.
A June 21 letter to Pirkle from the DOR says that the state revenue commissioner releases its levy dated May 8, 2012, returning all tangible properties to the taxpayer.
Local attorney Joey Homans explained that the issues with the state DOR appear to be resolved.
Were still waiting on everything to be signed and the final documents to be returned, he cautioned.
This is the 30-day window following the filing of what the DOR calls an Offer in Compromise.
The OIC would be filed by the taxpayer, said Jud Seymour, communications director for the DOR. They would then have 30 days to do the proper paperwork and make sure that they have submitted all documents that they may need to submit as well as a proposed payment plan that would satisfy all debt within five years.
Homans also mentioned that while the negotiations may be drawing to a close with the state, they are just beginning with the federal government.
We always knew that once we got through with the state tax issue, now we have to turn our attention to the federal tax issues, he said.
Homans confirmed that federal tax liens have been filed for some period of time against the Pool Room.
Now the attention turns to opening the doors, not just to the family, but to the public. Since the seizure, Pirkle has had plans to re-open the Pool Room to the community with a few upgrades and enhancements.
I want this place sparkling, he said, gesturing toward the floors. Were going to clean everything up and make it shine real good. Pirkle and his family plan to thoroughly clean and update the restaurant with a fresh look while still retaining, of course, the racing decor that made the Pool Room famous.
There is no set timeframe for the restaurant to be reopened to the public, but Pirkle is hopeful for the doors to be open by mid-August.
In the meantime, fundraising efforts for the Pool Room continue to churn on. A lot of people have been giving great suggestions and suggesting ways to raise money, said Robin Smith, who is helping to coordinate fundraising efforts.
The Pool Room draws visitors not just from Dawson and the surrounding counties, but from the entire country just to come and eat, Smith continued. This is not about helping Gordon or any other individual.
This is about saving an important part of Dawson County history.