|Second opinion to be sought on repairs|
The other project discussed was work being done to the county courthouse.
Gregory Sekula, AICP Director with Indiana Landmarks attended the meeting and urged the commissioners to seek a second opinion as far as needs and directions to go concerning, the courthouse.
“We would support an effort to reach out and have someone else look at it,” Sekula said. “I’ve given Mr. (Phillip) Marshall a few of the names of people we’ve worked with in the past, who have demonstrated interest and have a track record with us. That’s not to say there aren’t others that are out there, but we had one in Louisville and two in the Indianapolis area, who do understand historic buildings. That’s something you need with this type of structure.”
Indiana Landmarks have contributed $5,000 to the county and Sekula said that money could be used to have other firms take a look at the courthouse.
“I feel very confident in the assessment that has been done, but it never hurts to get a second opinion,” Sekula said.
The Washington County Courthouse itself is not on the national historic registry, but the Salem downtown area is.
The courthouse and surrounding buildings are part of that area, therefore linking them to the national registry.
Commissioner David Brown asked Sekula if the fact that the building is part of the national registry would allow the county to seek grant money.
“By virtue of being on the national registry and being a public building, there is funding available through the Historic Preservation Fund,” Sekula said.
The round of funding for this year has closed and Sekula said will open up for 2016 at some point next summer.
“Assuming funding continues for the Historic Preservation Fund – every year it’s a battle, there will be funds for bricks and mortar grants for fixing buildings that are on the national registry.”
Sekula said those funds are issued through the Division of Historic Preservation and Archeology, which is a division of the DNR and require a local match.
“If you ask for $50,000, you have to already have $50,000 in the bank,” he said. “That’s one fund you can look to in the future to leverage dollars that you might have to address aspects of repairs to the building.
“Having a detailed plan in place when you do that, is an important first step.”
Sekula said his organization would be willing to assist the county in applying for the Historic Preservation Fund grant.
The county will contact other firms to take a look at the courthouse.