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Citizens recognized at courthouse open house

Commissioners discussed the courthouse open house at their regular monthly meeting Wednesday, June 12. Several board members and other officials noted how well attended the open house was, how many tours were taken and how moving the ceremony was that recognized the many citizens who helped with the project. County attorney Tom Morton, who has practiced law for nearly 65 years, said the building’s renovation was done well and is something for the community to be proud of and appreciate for years to come. ’As a practicing attorney and having been in courthouses all over this country, the county has done an outstanding job of bringing this old out-of-date facility up to modern times,’ he said. ‘The audio, acoustics and the lighting is excellent and I appreciate the oversight of this board and previous boards in bringing about these changes. At the open house, I noted that as several people finished their walkthrough of the courthouse there were many comments made with pride about the quality of the job done. Unlike many other communities, we’ve kept our heritage alive in this community. Pike County can be proud of the work that has been done.’ The courthouse renovation and addition project received the Pike County Historic Preservation award during the open house ceremony held Saturday, June 8. The purpose of the award is to recognize projects that contribute to historic preservations by restoring or rehabilitating historic structures and returning them to effective contemporary use. The first four awards went to private property owners including the Dunn-Beckham Farm owned by Dan Beckham in 2009, the Franklin Hardware Store in Zebulon owned by Tommy and Linda Burnsed in 2010, the Mangham Home in Zebulon owned by Dr. Donna Haney in 2011 and the Old Jordan home place in Molena owned by Ann Strahler and Robert Wommack in 2012. ’The 2013 Pike County Historic Preservation Award recognizes the renovation of the Pike County courthouse that enables its continued use as the county’s seat of government,’ said George Norris during the presentation of the award. ‘Many people must be recognized for this accomplishment: The people of Pike County. You’re the owners. You provide the funding. The officers, staff and all employees who continued work in the courthouse during construction earned our recognition and thanks with your patience and endurance. You made the financial difference by not requiring temporary space to be rented. Thank you all. The county staff represented all of us in working with the architect and contractor, ensuring adherence to the contract and the continued historic significance of the building. The county department of public works moved court offices out and back in after construction, moved furniture from room to room as construction progressed and maintained the building and grounds during a difficult time. The board of education provided facilities without charge for the Superior Court.’ Norris said a plaque will be displayed in the courthouse to recognize two groups that made all this happen, the commissioners who decided in 2010 to renovate the courthouse and authorized a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax referendum to provide the funding, including late chairman Doug Mangham, Tommy Powers and former commissioners Don Collins, Parrish Swift and Roosevelt Willis; and the SPLOST committee that organized and dedicated itself to education, information and promotion to insure passage of the SPLOST, including chair Joy Walker, Tommy Burnsed, Jeff Kenerly, Doug Rounds, Riley Shackelford and Merritt Spier. ’The commissioners made the crucial and difficult decision. You did the necessary work, organized the supporters and convinced the voters this was the right thing to do for Pike County. You faced and answered all the opposition with a positive attitude,’ Norris said. ‘You earned our gratitude and the placement of your names on the plaque.’

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