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Burlington Jail project needs more volunteers

BURLINGTON — Getting the historic Burlington Jail project back on track is the focus of a countywide meeting later this month.

During the state’s bicentennial in 2003, the county began organizational work to restore the jail, the only remaining structure that dates back to the founding of Burlington, the first county seat.

However, in recent years the project has languished. Now members of the Concerned Citizens of Burlington want to revitalize the project with help from the entire county. The meeting will be Monday, July 16, at 6 p.m. at the Burlington Commons Park.

“Any people interested in the restoration of the jail throughout the county are invited,” Harriette Ramsey, president of the Concerned Citizens, said. “This is not a Burlington project. This is a county project. We are trying to get a reorganization. We need a chairperson.”

A week ago the Lawrence County Commissioners presented a new sign marking the jail.

“They had a sign there but it was a little bit smaller and wood,” Commissioner Bill Pratt said. “Freddie and I donated a new metal sign that will last a long time.”

The next phase in the project is to restore the second floor of the jail, which is expected to cost approximately $10,000. Right now the committee has $4,500 toward that goal with plans for fundraisers in late summer.

“They have certified plans from the state and it would look like what the floor previously did in that building,” Pratt said. “We would like to help them raise money. Eventually we may put in some public funds.”

The long-term goal is to turn the jail into a museum housing county artifacts and documents, especially those concerning Burlington’s role in the creation of the county.

“There will be historical papers where you can read what has happened in this area when it was the first county seat,” Ramsey said. “And there will be artifacts from people in the area.”