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Burlington jail project gets boost with state grant

BURLINGTON — The renovation of the former county jail on County Road 1 at Burlington has received a much-needed financial boost in the form of a state grant.

The Lawrence County Commissioners have received a $60,000 NatureWorks grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The money is earmarked for improvements on the grounds of the old stone jail, which is the only structure that still exists from the days when Lawrence County’s seat was Burlington.

Virginia Bryant, a member of the Old Historic Jail at Burlington Committee, said this is the first grant that the group has received to help its work.

“We hope this is the first of many,” she said.

Bryant said she and the other members met with an ODNR botanist last year to discuss ways to boost “curb appeal” at the jail.

She said the group is also hoping to make parking improvements at the site.

Last year, the jail underwent major construction with the installation of a new metal roof, windows and doors — all fashioned from historic pictures of the building in the 1800s.

Bryant said there is no timeline for the completion of the jail’s renovation. In the future, an Underground Railroad museum is planned at the site.

“We think this will make a tremendous difference in Burlington. They already have the businesses, this will just be something else that will enhance everything that is already happening around there,” Bryant said.

She said the jail project goes hand-in-hand with the 37 Cemetery and the Macedonia Church, both important pieces of Burlington’s history.

“We hope that this area will become a tourist attraction. … There really is a lot of potential,” Bryant said.

The Fayette Township Trustees also received a NatureWorks grant in the amount of $11,564. The money will be used for improvements at the Commons Playground, which is adjacent to the old jail.