Big Thicket Messenger - July 2007
Funding for Round V of the Texas Historical Commission’s (THC) Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program is included in the appropriations bill passed in the recent legislative session. The 80th Texas Legislature included $62 million in bond funding for the Texas Historical Commission’s nationally recognized Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program. Funding will be made available after a November bond election subject to approval by voters.
The much anticipated Round V funding will permit additional Texas counties to participate in the highly successful program that restores the grandeur and architectural integrity of these historic landmarks, while also upgrading their operational systems to meet modern requirements, making them both beautiful and functional.
Since its inception in 1999, the program has assisted in the full restoration of 46 county courthouses with an additional 29 projects under construction or having finished a phase of work toward complete restoration.
Established as a unique partnership, the state has contributed $145 million and county governments have matched more than $62 million to restore these Texas icons.
“The revitalization of these architectural treasures benefits both local and state economies,” said THC Executive Director Larry Oaks.
“The courthouse restoration activity has resulted in reinvigorated downtowns and an increase in construction and other related business. These communities become desirable destinations for heritage tourists. We are grateful to the Texas Legislature for their support of this important economic development program.”
A timeline with specific dates for submission of applications, deadlines for construction plans and specifications as well as new master plans from counties not previously participating in the program will be posted in late July on the THC website at www.thc.state.tx.us. The final timeline will be established by THC commissioners at their quarterly meeting in July. The THC expects to begin accepting applications this Fall.
Restored courthouses throughout the state will be assured of maintaining their renewed appearance through the Texas Courthouse Stewardship Program which provides training workshops, site visits and consultations with THC architects and other professionals. The program is made possible through a generous grant from the Texas Land Title Association.
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.