Commissioners opt to reject proposed grant for courthouse

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 5, 2019

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader


With a deadline quickly approaching for the Round X Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program grant, the court voted to reject the grant for marble restoration.

The Assistant County Attorney 
had asked previously for time to get answers to her questions concerning a perpetual easement in the grant.

“It was confirming the thoughts I had, “Assistant County Attorney Denise I. Gremillion said.

County Judge Dean Crooks explained his concerns.

“One concern, is if our courthouse was a museum but with it being our courthouse the easement is overreaching,” Crooks said.

With the grant, if the commissioners had approved it, would have required all future repairs to be historically accurate, even if no longer functional.

Newly sworn-in Commissioner Pct. 4 Robert Viator Jr. said they had the same issue while restoring the Beaumont Library.

“We had to go so far replace the ropes in the windows, even though they were no longer used,” Viator said.

“We would have to be historically accurate if they enforced it,” Crooks added. “We would like to keep our options open for in the future.”

Commissioner Pct. 1 Johnny Trahan added, “I don’t see a need for the easement other than control.”

A new company presented a quote significantly less than the original estimate of $350,000 for the repairs.

Weather permitting; repairs should be underway in February or March f this year.

Viator added he would like to the see what the county accomplishes with the repairs from the grant.

“With it comes historical insurance,” Viator said. “That can be extravagant and substantial.”