Parke County Courthouse reno to wrap soon

The clock tower of the Parke County Courthouse used to leak pretty badly. But thankfully after a few years of renovation, those problems have been solved.

Posted: Jul 30, 2018 6:31 PM

PARKE COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - The clock tower of the Parke County Courthouse used to leak pretty badly. But thankfully after a few years of renovation, those problems have been solved.

Parke County Commissioner Jim Meece says this all started back in 2015. That's when leaks were discovered in the court house's clock tower.

Crews worked to get water to flow off the building properly and fix the leaks. But once crews were working on that, they realized the issues were much deeper. The roof and guttering were in poor shape. Meece says there were holes in the metal where you could see through to the ground below. He adds that water also leaked into rooms lower down in the courthouse.

Meece says, "It’s like any old house, this thing was built in 1870, so it's about 150 years old. And as we began to find the reasons for the leaks, it leads to more discoveries of more problems that had been going on probably for years. But, it's one of those things you don't know until you get into it."

Scaffolding that's surrounded the courthouse throughout the project is set to come down next week.

Meece says, "We are really excited about being done with the project we know that the courthouse is going to be taken care of for the next 150 years or so. The scaffolding has been a necessary evil for all these two years, it's going to be great to see it come down piece by piece."

Meece says it was more cost effective to keep the scaffolding up throughout the duration of the project, saving roughly $100 thousand dollars. That’s because workers would’ve had to go through the process of removing and containing lead paint in one section, performing steel work, then tearing down the scaffolding to move it to another section to start the process all over again.

Meece adds, "The clock tower project was right at a $2 million dollar project, but we came in about $300 thousand below budget. This project was a $1.95 million dollar project on the bid, but we're going to come in about $300 thousand below here. So actually on the project, we're better than a half a million dollars under budget.”

Meece says that after three long years this project will finally wrap up. All the little problems have been worked out, and people will be able to enjoy the courthouse in its full beauty.

News 10 spoke with Gary Nicola, who owns G&M Variety Store on the Rockville square. He’s watched the work unfold on the courthouse for the past few years.

He says, "You know, you hate to have it up there when tourists and stuff are here, but you know, really, that's part of getting things done in the community."

Nicola actually saw firsthand how badly work needed to be done to the courthouse.

Nicola shares, "I went up into it and saw it really needed the work. The little pit holes that was all through the metal and stuff that had to be taken care of or eventually we wouldn't have a courthouse. "

As you can imagine, Nicola sees a lot of business during covered bridge season. He says the courthouse is always an attraction for visitors.

He shares, "We get more compliments on the courthouse than anything. Most tourists when they get out of the car, besides taking pictures of the covered bridges, they're taking pictures of that courthouse, so it has a lot to do with the county."

So for the scaffolding to soon come down and the building to be restored to its full glory, is a good feeling.

Nicola says, "That's really going to be nice, everybody's been waiting for it to come down. I mean, it's just so much of a part of the downtown. "

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