Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

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January 28, 2013

County receives project grant

Corsicana — The Navarro Community Foundation has given a grant of $137,500 to help fund the Navarro County Courthouse Restoration project.

The grant was officially accepted by commissioners at their Monday business meeting.

The grant will help establish a budget for the project for the current year, and will help fund the bid preparation project underway along with other costs leading up to the actual work.

Bruce Robinson, speaking on behalf of the foundation, said the grant was “an easy grant for us to make.”

Robinson said the courthouse restoration program is one of the kinds of projects the grant was established to help fund — the maintenance and beautification of public buildings.

“The restoration and preservation of the Navarro County Courthouse falls right in the ‘wheelhouse’ of what Mr. Drane asked us to do 75 years ago,” when the fund was established, he said.

“We want to see this happen, and we’re happy to provide this initial funding,” Robinson said.

County Judge H.M. Davenport Jr. said the grant awarded by the Navarro Community Foundation is a show of support for the plan to restore the courthouse.

“Since we had not budgeted anything for (the project) ... this gives us a little ‘shot in the arm’ to cover the initial funding for the bidding process, the architect, the civil engineering that lets us get it to bid and get our numbers.”

Davenport said the bid packet preparation is underway now. Getting bids from contractors for the work will help the county figure out how much more money it will have to come up with to go forward with the restoration on top of the state award.

The Texas Historical Commission has given Navarro County a $4.4 million grant to help fund the restoration of the 100-year-old courthouse. The county had previously received a planning grant of approximately $500,000.

The total project, not including the costs of planning, or temporary housing for courthouse operations during the 30-month project, has been estimated to cost about $9.8 million according to figures from the Texas Historic Commission and the Navarro County Auditor. Those costs are still subject to change once the bidding process begins.

Also not included in the projected costs — the establishment of a permanent courthouse annex to house some county functions that might not return to a restored courthouse. Several proposed drawings of the restored courthouse have eliminated some offices currently housed in the courthouse, and has been the subject of continued discussions with the project’s architect for revision.

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