How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
That’s the approach my grandfather took when tackling a big problem. And that’s the approach that Lexington will need to take in order to save the historic 1898 courthouse in the heart of Lexington.
It is time to take a bite and a step toward preservation of this important structure which served as the center of Fayette County’s governance for over a century.
The Lexington-Fayette UCG is requesting a $200,000 grant from the EPA’s Brownfields Program.
Brownfields are “real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant” according to the EPA’s website.
The old courthouse, as has been well-documented and reported since the building’s public closure in 2012, contains a significant amount of lead-based paint, mold, asbestos, and guano (bird poop).
The city’s Division of Historic Preservation describes the old courthouse as a “property of extreme importance architecturally and/or historically.” There can be no doubt: the 1898 courthouse is significant and worthy of being preserved and restored. I don’t know what the ultimate use for this important structure will be, but nothing can be done unless and until the property is cleaned up and stabilized. Obtaining funds from the EPA Brownfields Program is a crucial step toward accomplishing the goal.
I was quite honored to read that much of the building’s history that was contained in the Brownfield Application references The Kaintuckeean‘s March 1, 2012 post. If you are unfamiliar with the courthouse’s links to Tibetan palaces and the Canterbury Tales, then you should click through and read the history.
But here’s what you can do to help the grand old courthouse: Show your support for the Grant Application. In person, come tonight at 5:30 p.m. (December 1) to the public meeting (they are accepting public comment) to the third floor Phoenix Building conference room, 101 East Vine Street. Online, you can make your public comments (or statement of support) by sending an email to [email protected].
And for more details about Brownfields Application, visit www.LexingtonKY.gov/brownfields.