|Big Thicket Messenger - Local News
Stories Added - July 2008
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company
Big Thicket Messenger - July 2008
The Texas Historical Commission (THC) announced Round V grant recipients of its nationally recognized Texas Historic Courthouse.
Preservation Program at its quarterly meeting on January 25 in Austin. Commissioners awarded matching grants totaling nearly $56 million to 17 Texas counties to help preserve their historic courthouses. Additional funding has been set aside for program contingencies, emergency and potential planning work and will be allocated to address specific projects’ needs.
The counties to receive funds in Round V of the program are: Cass, Cooke, Fannin, Hall, Hamilton, Harris, Hood, Kendall, La Salle, Lavaca, McCulloch, Mills, Potter, Randall, Roberts, San Augustine and Trinity.
The awards include 14 construction projects totaling $53,206,071 and three emergency grants totaling $2,591,374.
A total of 47 grant applications requesting an all-time high of more than $200 million were submitted in Round V. Applicant requests were larger than in previous rounds due to inflation and higher funding caps. Pending additional funding from the Texas Legislature, the THC plans to continue the program with additional rounds of grant opportunities.
“With so many qualified applicants the selection process for this round has been very challenging, but our goal is to assist as many counties as possible,” said THC Architecture Division Director Stan Graves. “Texas' historic county courthouses represent the best of our state and we remain dedicated to helping preserve these Important architectural landmarks.
Governor George W. Bush and the Texas Legislature created the Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program in 1999 with an initial appropriation of $50 million. The THC distribution $42 .4 million in matching grants to 19 counties in Round 1 of the program in May 2000; an additional $7 million to 28 counties during Round II in October 2000; $48 million to 25 counties for full restorations during Round III from April 2003 through January 2003; and $43 million for construction, planning and emergency funding to 28 counties in Round IV of the program in May 2004.
In 2005, the Legislature did not allocate state funds for courthouse restorations instead instructing the Texas Department of Transportation Enhancement Program for courthouses. Federal officials, however, have not approved the plan, leaving the program unfunded until now.
Texas courthouses have been symbols of strength, pride, progress and democracy for more than 150 years. However, many of the state’s more than 250 historic courthouses are in disrepair due to insufficient funding for building care and maintenance. Their plight gained national attention in 1998 when the National Trust for Historic Preservation named Texas courthouses to its list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.
The estimated remaining need to restore the 124 courthouses that have submitted approved master plans is approximately $217 million in state funds. Prior to this allocation of $56 million, the program has generated more than 4,692 thousand jobs and almost $130 million in local income.
For more information, contact the THC’s Architecture Division at (512) 463-6094 or visit www.thc.state.tx.us.
The Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program was established in 1999 by Governor George W. Bush and the Texas Legislature to restore Texas’ county courthouses to their original splendor and make them safe, functional and a source of pride for Texas communities. The Texas Historical Commission created and administers the $207 million program.
The Texas Historical Commission is the state agency for historic preservation. The agency administers a variety of programs to preserve the archeological, historical and cultural resources of Texas.