Proceeding with Phase 1, removal of the 1924 addition and rebuilding of the West wall, in no way commits us to additional grants or funding from the Texas Historical Commission, (THC) nor does it saddle the tax payer with financial commitments that they can’t meet. Completion of Phase 1 will reduce the cost of all future plans for the courthouse, whatever they may be. Our original courthouse with the rebuilt West wall will be ready to face a bright future, if Commissioners Court chooses to make that decision.
In November it will be possible for the voters to decide to move forward with the restoration or to repair the Courthouse. The voters will have their say. The THC Round 7 grant application will not be due until December 2011. By then we will know what the voters have decided. The THC staff survived the Texas budget cuts receiving $20M for courthouse restorations because they have state wide support from counties who have benefited from their program in the past and counties who hope to utilize their support and grants in the future.
Specific questions and issues surrounding a restoration can be addressed when the Round 7 grant application is submitted in December. On Thursday, the decision to approve the M. J. Boyle contract extension will leave the county and the courthouse with many favorable options to vote on in November. If the extension is not approved and the 1924 addition is not removed our choices will be very limited . Future help and support from THC which has successfully restored 43 courthouses, will not be available and will not be an option the voters can choose.
Phase 1 is not a gamble. A “dream team” of architects, contractors and brick masons have been assembled and are ready to begin saving our Courthouse. On Thursday , our Commissioners Court will have the opportunity to let that dream begin.
Sue Butler Carter