Kickoff set for courthouse fundraiser

Published 10:34 am Friday, May 29, 2015

BURLINGTON — With the artistic rendering complete, the county’s bicentennial committee is now focusing on the upcoming kickoff of the campaign to build a replica of the original courthouse. The goal is to have the building complete in the fall of 2016 before the actual bicentennial date of Dec. 16.

The painting, created by Columbus-based design illustrator Rod Arter, was presented to the county commission at its Thursday meeting by commissioner Bill Pratt, who chairs the bicentennial committee.

“This is what he envisions for the courthouse-community building,” Pratt said.

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The front part that would be a 35-by-35-foot structure would replicate the design of the first courthouse that made Burlington the county seat. Already the committee, through assistance from the Lawrence Economic Development Corporation, has acquired the actual site where the building stood.

“The back part is the community building that would be usable by citizens,” Pratt said.

That section would seat 200 and have a catering kitchen.

Letters will be sent to all 329 members of the Greater Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce asking for their support.

“If every chamber member gave $500, we would have enough funds,” Pratt said.

Everyone who gives $1,000 or more will have his or her name engraved on a plaque to be placed in the building.

Cost for the project is estimated at a quarter-million dollars. That breaks down to $150,000 for the building and $100,000 for parking lot and sidewalks. Funding the concrete work will come from Community Development Block Grants available after Oct. 1

Right now the committee has a commitment of $15,000 in pledges. Pratt wants $100,000 in the bank before work on the project would start.

“It will be a long campaign to raise the money,” Pratt said.

The kickoff will be from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, June 13, at the site on County Road 1, adjacent to the first county jail. Aaron Jackson will serve barbeque ribs and Debbie Rogers will offer old-fashioned bean dinners. The event is free and open to the public.