Without funding, renovations at courthouse will cease

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By The Staff

Gadsden County’s Capital Improvement Plan, which is a comprehensive plan for growth, includes many things the county wishes to obtain funding for. And completion of renovations of the courthouse is on that list.

“The Capital Improvement Plan is a part of our budget that is dedicated to the renovation and construction of buildings and the purchase of equipment,” said Bud Parmer, interim county manager.

Funding would allow for space and aesthetic beauty to be restored to the main building, as well as telephone line connections in the courthouse annex.

“The request is to make the courthouse as efficient and useful as possible,” said Rep. Alan Williams, D-Tallahassee.

The Gadsden County Courthouse was built in 1912 and is a part of the Quincy Historic District, as listed on the United States National Register of Historic Places. The district was added to the registry in 1978.

“It has the original furniture from the time it was built and the same carpet from the 1960s,” said Muriel Straughn, Gadsden County deputy clerk of courts.

“You never know (about funding). You go in and hope for the best in the process. For now, it is a wait and see type of scenario,” said Williams.

Once a request is sent to the Florida Department of Community Affairs, approval is awaited.

“When it comes back we will then adopt an ordinance known as Capital Improvement Element,” said Stroughn. “It gives us legal authority to budget for the cause.”

According to James Miller, Department of Community Affairs public relations director, approval of requests do not depend on any priority lists or ranks between counties.

“This is not a competitive process,” he said. The availability of funds at the time of a request is the deciding factor.

According to Straughn, the plan must be updated yearly and it has already been updated for 2009.

“The fact that the courthouse is a historical place is a big plus,” said Parmer, adding the county can receive special grants for the renovation of the courthouse as a result of it being a historical landmark.

If Gadsden County does not get the money it needs for renovations of the courthouse and completion of the annex, “we will continue to limp along,” said Stroughn.