Tax increase could repair historic courthouse

Local News

LOGAN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — The century-old courthouse is beginning to show its age.

Recently, a piece of its dome shattered to the ground. Luckily, no one was hurt, but now the 112-year old Logan County Courthouse, in Lincoln, is due for some repairs.

“It means everything when you come to Lincoln, when you’re talking about Logan County. Everything’s around the square.”

“One of my grandchildren were married there years back. Just this past summer, the second one was married in the judge’s chambers there.”

When you talk to people who live in the small community, they cherish their main attraction. But, after an incident in which a piece of glass fell three stories from the dome, it was time to talk repairs.

“It is now leaking and it’s getting in between the copper and the sheetrock, causing freeze and thaw pieces of concrete to fall in.”

But, it’s not just a quick fix. Contractors and engineers estimate the project will cost $3.5 million to repair the dome both inside and out.

“These things are irreplaceable. The cost to replace something like this would be unbelievable. To preserve it is a fraction of the cost.”

The county board approved putting a referendum on the March ballot to ask taxpayers if they’d be willing to pay an increase in sales tax.

“An increase of half-of-a-penny to help generate the funds needed to pay back the bonds and loans we would have to take out for these repairs.”

Bateman says, if you buy a $100 item, the increase in sales tax would be about 50-cents.

“The majority of the people want to see the building survive, but nobody likes to pay for more of anything.”

Some taxpayers say it’s worth it.

“It has to be repaired and I don’t want the courthouse to get into a state of ruin.”

The courthouse was built in 1905. The dome has 137 panels with a diameter of 52′ and a height of 60′; one of the largest in the state.

The courthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. The building has 19th and 20th century architectural details of late Victorian and Italianate styles.

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