Grant money to restore historic Region 8 courthouses

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - A couple of Region 8 courthouses are getting a combined hundred thousand dollars to go toward some much needed TLC. The century-plus old buildings in Randolph and Greene counties received a portion of the grant money from the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, something that'll help keep the downtown icons around for years to come.

Pop up showers during the summer months are expected in Region 8. However, those showers are what the iconic, historic courthouses in Downtown Pocahontas and Downtown Paragould don't need.

Built in the mid and late 1800's, the buildings have been restored in the past, but as time takes it's toll on them, the need for a little TLC came up again.

"It's not something that's restored and just sits there and doesn't have use," President and CEO of the Paragould Chamber of Commerce, Sue McGowan told Region 8 News. "Our business community uses it, of course it houses the chamber of commerce."

The Pocahontas Chamber of Commerce also calls their historic courthouse home.

Both towns received a portion of a $1.4 million dollar subgrant for County Courthouse Restorations. Pocahontas will use the $23,715 dollars it receives on a roof that threatens to leak.

In Paragould, leaks are more than a threat, as strategically placed trash cans on the second floor are ready in case rain moves through the area.

The $77,784 Paragould receives will fix that leak and any shingles that may have fallen off the roof along the way. The grant money will also help restore part of what makes the building so memorable to begin with.

"Replacing the roof on the clock tower here on the property and they'll paint it while they're in that area," McGowan explained.

Though restoration efforts might take awhile, McGowan said it'll be worth it to keep the iconic building. Ann opportunity she said most communities don't have.

"To keep this building, and you know, that's not the case in a lot of communities, they lose their historic buildings due to the fact that y'know, they can't financially or from a lack of interest from citizens in their community."

McGowan expects restoration to start on the Historic Greene County Courthouse soon. Randolph and Greene are two of eighteen counties that received part of that grant money to restore their courthouses.

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