Restoration grant to spruce up courthouse

— Hot Spring County recently received a $200,000 grant from the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program to make improvements to the county’s courthouse.

“I am tickled to get it,” County Judge Dennis Thornton said. “This is the first of many grants that I hope we receive for the betterment of Hot Spring County.

“I’ve framed a copy of that check and displayed it here on the wall,” he said, pointing to a wall near his office in the courthouse. “I hope to fill this wall with checks.”

Thornton said he applied for the AHPP County Restoration Grant shortly after he took office in January. The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program is an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage. Funding for the courthouse restoration grants come from money collected statewide from real estate transfer taxes, and there is no requirement for matching funds from the county.

“This was the first item of business I conducted,” Thornton said. “There was a Feb. 1 deadline. It was a very difficult process, but I had the help of several volunteers, including Danna Carver, who did most of the legwork for this grant.”

Thornton said he has assembled a group of dedicated volunteers who are helping him seek grants for the county.

“I have been blessed to have these volunteers,” he said. “They come from different backgrounds and were involved in grant-writing in their fields. They are like me, … concerned about their community and see the possibilities we have here.”

Thornton said the AHPP grant is for Phase 1 of the courthouse-restoration project — a new roof.

“An assessment for the proposed restoration was developed in January by Wittenberg, Delony & Davidson Architects of Little Rock,” Thornton said. “The restoration will consist of six phases, with Phase 1 being the installation of a new roof.

“A new roof is the biggest need,” Thornton said. “At this point, we are not sure…

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