Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Clean, fix, and restore

I hope we get the necessary funds this time.

Courthouse in need of a face-lift

-The Herald-Zeitung

Comal County Commissioners Thursday will decide whether to reorganize a committee to again ask the state for up to $9 million to restore the old courthouse to its original 1898 condition.

The county was denied the restoration funding from the Texas Historical Commission in 2008 after almost five years of planning and anticipation.

Commissioners are working to reorganize the Courthouse Preservation Committee to go out once more for those funds.

Comal was one of 47 counties in 2007 that applied to have their courthouse revamped by the Texas Courthouse Preservation Program.

The program awarded 14 counties state dollars based on a point system that evaluated aspects of the courthouses. Comal received 180 points, one shy of the 181 required to get funding.

“The point system is based on 12 or 13 categories,” Pct. 4 Commissioner Jan Kennady said. “They look at the significance of the courthouse, the historical significance, age, need and other things. We missed it by just that one point last time.”

The estimated cost to restore every aspect of the original building was about $9.6 million, she said.

“If any courthouse in the state of Texas needs to be preserved, it’s the courthouse in Comal County...” Kennady said. “It’s an 1898 courthouse. It’s one of only 12 J. Reilly Garden courthouses in the state of Texas. Really, it’s the cornerstone of downtown New Braunfels.”

County Judge Danny Scheel said the restoration is necessary.

“We have to make sure we keep the old courthouse on the front burner...” Scheel said. “Our project is in the $9 million range. I don’t think we’d get enough money from the state to complete the project, so we will start looking at other options to obtain that funding. If we don’t get those funds, we could end up mothballing the old courthouse and doing what we can to work with it.”

Commissioners have until November to complete the application process.

“It’s a long application process,” Kennady said. “By the end, it ends up being about 50 pages. It’s a huge, lengthy process. We’re going to do our very best to go out for this though.”