Meridian Star

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August 9, 2013

Amite County seeks grant to spruce up courthouse


LIBERTY, Miss. (AP) — The oldest functioning courthouse in the state is looking for a face-lift.

The Amite County Board of Supervisors has voted to apply to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History for one of its highly competitive Community Heritage Preservation Grants.

The program has about $5 million to spread around the state for the preservation and restoration of historic courthouses and school buildings.

The Enterprise-Journal ( reports the grant proposal — presented Monday by Mary Helen Ferguson of The Ferguson Group — covers five renovation sections totaling $2.7 million.

The board committed a cash match of $51,280 or 20 percent of the totals from the top two priorities: restoring the courtroom and the courthouse exterior.

"It would be so good here. It's a beautiful courthouse, it's just concealed," Ferguson said of the building, which opened in 1840.

The plan for the courtroom includes repairing the original wood floor and ceiling, adding lights and repainting the walls for an estimated $196,000.

The exterior would be repainted, and the gutters, handrails and ceilings would be repaired for $60,400.

"This courthouse isn't like your house or my house," board attorney Reggie Jones said. "This courthouse will be here for hundreds of years. It's where people will come for generations."

The deadline for applications is Sept. 27, and the winners will be announced in December.

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