DALLAS (CN) – The Texas Historical Commission could afford to fund only 13 of 40 counties’ requests to restore and preserve historic courthouses this year.
The commission awarded $21 million in grants on Jan. 27; the counties had sought a combined $158 million for the courthouse projects.
“Many of the state’s more than 230 historic courthouses are in disrepair due to insufficient funding for building care and maintenance,” the Historical Commission said in a statement announcing its awards. “The estimated remaining need to restore the 64 courthouses that have submitted approved master plans is approximately $202 million in state funds.”
The commission said its goal is “to assist as many counties as possible” to preserve their courthouses as architectural landmarks.
Texas’ state courthouses appeared on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s list of America’s Most Endangered Historic Places in 1998.
The Legislature then established the Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program and appropriated funding for it. In the previous six rounds the state spent $227 million, and counties provided local matches of $150 million. Nearly 50 of the state’s historic county courthouses have been restored so far.
The state said the program has provided more than 8,579 jobs and generated more than $19 million in local taxes.
The counties awarded money this year are Bexar, Cameron, Colorado, Edwards, Franklin, Hardeman, Marion, Mason, Navarro, Polk, San Saba, Upshur, and Throckmorton.