The future of Lexington's historic 116-year-old courthouse remains in limbo. The downtown landmark was shut down almost two years ago following concerns about lead, asbestos, and structural integrity.
Some wonder if repairs might be cost prohibitive, but Downtown Development Authority President Jeff Fugate says closing the doors for good and making the courthouse a large scale monument is not an option. "I don't think it's an option to do nothing. We have got a building that is only gonna get worse the longer we leave it and we have a building that is the last of the great historic civic buildings in Lexington, so we can't let it fall apart," said Fugate.
The city is looking to spend about a half million dollars this year to determine the next step in the refurbishing process. Fugate says the review will focus on determining practical steps to get the facility back open.
"This is not your typical let's go in and look at it and then we'll talk about what to do afterwards. Really, this is about going in and taking a look at what absolutely has to be done, so we can spend our money wisely and smartly," explained Fugate. "So, hopefully, we'll be able to spend what we've got in the next 12 months and then we'll be ready to come at it again, after that."
Fugate says by not taking care of the courthouse, it sends the message, "don't bother investing here because we won't invest in ourselves."