Historic Northampton courthouse to receive $1.3M from state for further repairs

  • The Hampshire County Courthouse is shown Oct. 19, 2016, at the corner of Main and King streets in Northampton.

  • State lawmakers tour the old section of the County Courthouse last October. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

@BeraDunau
Published: 10/6/2017 12:21:12 AM

NORTHAMPTON — After more than a year of lobbying, the Baker administration on Thursday awarded $1.3 million for repairs at the historic Hampshire County Courthouse.

“This could not have come at a better time,” said Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, D-Amherst.

Rosenberg said the release follows more than a yearlong push and will allow for some “really critical repairs” to be done.

The money will be released by the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance to the building’s owner, the Hampshire Council of Governments.

“So excited,” Todd Ford, the council’s executive director, said when asked about the money. “We’re very grateful for the delegation and their hard work.”

Ford said the money would be used to repair the tower on top of the historic courthouse. Previously, the state released $500,000, which was used to repair its steps.

The money was part of an earmark from Rep. Peter Kocot, D-Northampton, to a capital bond bill passed by the Legislature. Rosenberg said that the Legislature authorizes more projects than funding is available for. As such, it is up to the governor’s office to decide which projects get their money.

Rosenberg also said that such authorizations typically are good for five years.

He said the recent lobbying push arose out of concern for the condition of the building.

Further repairs will be necessary. Ford said the state has yet to release $2.2 million earmarked for those repairs. Following the work on the tower, he said, the next phase of repairs would be to the main roof and foundation. Final touches, including improvements in energy efficiency, would be done in the last phase.

“I think it’s really important for downtown Northampton,” Ford said of the courthouse.

He said the money would be jointly administered by council and the capital asset division, and that he looked forward to working with them.

Although the council has previously appealed to area communities for funds to repair the courthouse, Ford said that no such appeal is currently being planned. Northampton has donated $200,000 to the repairs, while Hatfield donated $10,000 and Goshen donated $8,000.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com




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