Lowndes Courthouse needs SPLOST money for repairs | News
VALDOSTA, GA- Lowndes County leaders are urging voters to extend the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax to save the historic courthouse.
The building has been closed for two years.
It's in need of serious repairs that would be paid for with sales tax revenue if the SPLOST referendum passes in November.
The Lowndes County Courthouse is an iconic building in the Valdosta community. Built in 1905, the courthouse has been a historic symbol for the legal system in this region.
"We have many of our citizens who have grown up around this facility and it has really is the mark of integrity and character for our downtown as well as our legal community which sends a message through our entire government," said Paige Dukes, Lowndes County Public Information Officer.
The County Judicial Complex was built across the street three years ago to serve the functions the century old courthouse could no longer provide. Now the old courthouse is only used when the county needs the occasional extra space for trials. Throughout the day multiple people walked up to the building not realizing it was closed.
"I thought well this is a beautiful building and I've known it forever and I thought it was still open, so I was kind of shocked that it wasn't open today," said resident Robert Watson.
"It should be accessible to the community and have a purpose, more than just being visually here because we don't want to tear it down, but put it to good use," said resident Vincent Brown.
The county has allocated money from previous SPLOST funds to help fix the building but officials say they need $2 million more from SPLOST VII that will be voted on in November.
$120,000 has been set aside to tear down the annex which was built in the 1960's, and right now it's just an eye soar.
Other improvements include installing central air conditioning, restoring the original ceiling tiles and marble floors, repairing electrical issues in the courtroom, and much more.
"I will definitely vote yes to keep this building open, like I said this is a Valdosta icon and it shouldn't be wasted," said Watson.
Officials say if SPLOST does not pass they will not be able to make the improvements.
The county will start the demolition on the annex in the next few months. And if SPLOST passes officials will have to decide on what they want to bring back into the building, one suggestion is a museum.
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