Special study required for courthouse project

Published 12:27 pm Wednesday, January 27, 2016

BURLINGTON — An archaeological study will have to come before the first phase of recreating the county’s original courthouse can begin.

“There has to be an archaeological dig because people who administer the grant must know if it is undisturbed property,” Lawrence County Commissioner Bill Pratt said. “It is kind of like an environmental study. They will have to dig a hole and research what is there.”

Pratt has spearheaded the project to build a replica of the original structure as part of the commemoration of the county’s bicentennial in December 2016 in Burlington, Lawrence’s first county seat.

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His goal is to have the building used as a community center and possibly a repository for genealogical materials in the eastern end of the county.

The first phase will be funded by Community Development Block Grants to pay for site development including parking lots, sidewalk and drainage. The grant is expected to total $108,000.

The study is expected to cost between $3,500 and $4,000 and could come either from CDBG money not used for the site development or from the 501c3 fund set up for the courthouse project.

Right now there is $16,000 in it with another $6,000 pledged.

“It will only take a couple of weeks to do the study and the firm should be there in the next couple of weeks,” Pratt said. “We won’t have the project completed this year. It will have to be done in phases.”